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U.S. House panel probing Capitol riot moves toward contempt charge against Clark

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Acting Assistant U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Clark speaks next to Deputy U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen at a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington, U.S., October 21, 2020. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/Pool

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WASHINGTON, Nov 29 (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol in Washington said on Monday it was moving toward holding Jeffrey Clark, a senior Justice Department official under ex-President Donald Trump, in contempt of Congress.

Clark, the former acting head of the Justice Department's civil division, was a proponent of Trump's false claims that his defeat by Democrat Joe Biden in the November 2020 election was the result of fraud.

The Select Committee said it would meet on Wednesday evening to vote on a report recommending that the full House cite Clark for contempt of Congress.

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A House vote to do so would refer the matter to federal prosecutors, who would decide whether to bring a misdemeanor charge punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $100,000.

On Oct. 13, the House Select Committee investigating the assault on the Capitol said it had issued a subpoena to Clark asking him to produce records and testify at a deposition by Oct. 29. The panel has issued at least three dozen subpoenas and received testimony from more than 200 witnesses.

Clark's testimony was later delayed because he had changed attorneys.

Trump has urged his former aides to disregard the select committee's subpoenas.

Trump's longtime adviser Steve Bannon pleaded not guilty this month to criminal charges that he defied a subpoena from the Select Committee after he was indicted by a federal grand jury on two counts of contempt of Congress.

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Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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