Jeffrey Clark, an attorney and a member of the conservative Federalist Society, worked as an assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) before being appointed acting chief of its Civil Division in September 2020. In that role, he was deeply involved in Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the presidential election.
In December 2020, once Attorney General Bill Barr resigned over his disagreements with Trump about the legitimacy of the election, Clark pushed the then-president to appoint him as acting attorney general. He believed conspiracy theories about the election and wanted the Justice Department to announce that it had found evidence of widespread voter fraud. However, at an Oval Office meeting just days before the Jan. 6 insurrection, senior DOJ officials threatened to resign en masse if Trump appointed Clark as acting attorney general, which he ultimately didn’t do.
Since resigning from the DOJ in January 2021, Clark has continued to show his loyalty to Trump, in part through his current role at the Center for Renewing America, where he’s working to erode the independence of the judicial system and the traditional separation of powers between the Justice Department and the executive branch. In the wake of the DOJ’s indictment of the ex-president for his mishandling of government documents, Clark told The New York Times: “Biden and DOJ are baying for Trump’s blood so they can put fear into America.”
The former DOJ staffer remains a favorite of Trump’s and “is likely to be in contention for a senior Justice Department position if [the former president] wins reelection in 2024,” the June 2023 Times piece points out. In fact, Clark’s constitutional analysis titled The U.S. Justice Department is not independent is expected to serve as “a blueprint for a second Trump administration.”
Before working at the DOJ, Clark—who describes himself as a longtime “climate hysteria lawyer”—defended BP after its 2010 environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. In representing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, he challenged the science behind national environmental regulations. In speaking at the Heartland Institute’s annual climate denial conference in 2023, he said that when he was Trump’s top environmental lawyer, he had worked with others in the administration to erode environmental protections. Among their plans was to create a “climate court” that would allow states to convene a “jury of sympathetic researchers” to challenge the science behind environmental protections.
Immediately after leaving the DOJ, Clark worked for a short period of time at the New Civil Liberties Alliance, a conservative-libertarian law firm dedicated to fighting “the administrative state.” In October 2021, a bipartisan group of lawyers filed an ethics complaint against him with the D.C. Court of Appeals for his role in attempting to nullify the results of the 2020 presidential election. In June 2023, a federal judge cleared the way for the D.C. Bar to resume its disciplinary proceedings against him.
January 6, 2021
- The House Select Committee investigating the attack on the Capitol recommended contempt of Congress charges against Clark when he refused to answer their questions or deliver documents. “It’s astounding that someone who so recently held a position of public trust to uphold the Constitution would now hide behind vague claims of privilege by a former President, refuse to answer questions about an attack on our democracy, and continue an assault on the rule of law,” noted Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.).
- In its final report, the House Select Committee noted that Clark “stands out as a participant” in the alleged conspiracy to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
- Clark is under investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington in conjunction with his role in the insurrection. In June 2022, law enforcement officers seized his electronic devices during a pre-dawn raid on his home.
- In September 2022, reports suggested that Clark might be charged with a crime for his role in the fake electors scheme given former DOJ lawyer Ken Klukowski’s cooperation with federal investigators.
The Big Lie
- Emails reveal that Clark drafted a letter with DOJ lawyer Ken Klukowski and circulated it to his colleagues at the DOJ calling on Georgia’s state legislature to overturn the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.
- Clark attempted to convince higher-ups in the DOJ to pressure certain local legislatures to falsify their Electoral College electors in order to overturn the outcome of the presidential election in their states.
- Clark coordinated with Rep. Scott Perry (R-Penn.) to try to convince Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to help in the effort to use fake electors to overturn the election results.
- Clark reportedly coordinated with Trump to remove then-acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen from office when he refused to pressure officials in Georgia to alter the results of the presidential election.