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File photo by Susan Walsh, Pool, The Associated Press / In this Sept. 14, 2020, file photo, Jeff Clark, then-Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division, speaks during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington. The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol has subpoenaed the former Justice Department lawyer.

Friday is the day all the fiddling stops, by this estimation, the day the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 Attack finally takes its first poke at a weight-bearing log in a seemingly interminable game of Jenga, Ultimate Politics edition.

Friday is when Jeffrey Clark plans to actually show up and testify to Congress about the elaborate if politically preposterous process that nearly overturned an American election. Clark, a Philadelphia legal scholar, is part of Donald Trump's Pennsylvania connection, the other being U.S. Rep. Scott Perry of Harrisburg.

It was Perry, the noted Trump sycophant, who by most accounts connected Trump to Clark, whom the former president hoped to install as attorney general and a kind of end-of-plot closer who could leverage the Justice Department to halt the final certification of ballots.

Clark will be the first Trump official to comply with a subpoena, and unless he tirelessly invokes his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, plenty of Jenga logs might soon fall in the wake of his testimony.

On Sunday night, Rolling Stone published an investigative piece detailing how two of the former president's flunkies helped Congressional Republicans organize and plan the events of Jan. 6, two operatives who made it plain they felt abused by Trump (really!) and eager to testify publicly as well, even as they've already been in communication with members of the House committee.

Both of these auxiliary operatives told Rolling Stone they had multiple Jan. 6 planning conversations with Republicans Marjorie Taylor Greene, Paul Gosar, Lauren Boebert, Mo Brooks, Madison Cawthorn, Andy Biggs, Louie Gohmert and/or their top staffers.

Worse for the seditionists, Clark and the Rolling Stone informants aren't the only people ready to play ball with the House committee. Alyssa Farah, the longtime Trump loyalist and at one time his Director of Reflexive Insults (oh sorry, "strategic communications"), has spoken with the committee's Republican members, Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger.

Then there's John Eastman, the Trump lawyer who stood next to Rudy Giuliani on the stage in Washington that day in January as a favor to those still deciding who was crazier, the felt fedora-wearing author of the memo, essentially the equivalent of Ikea-assembly instructions for scuttling an election, or Rudy.

Hint: It's Rudy, but Eastman wasn't done.

He soon went to the respected conservative magazine The National Review and walked back every salient point of the Eastman memo, his own memo.

Still, my money's on Clark as the potentially biggest brick in the wall, as his machinations in and around the Justice Department in the weeks after the 2020 election seem the most transparent and the most damaging.

Clark's superiors at DOJ, Jeffrey Rosen and Richard Donoghue, both told Trump that if he attempted to install Clark as attorney general to help him overturn the election, then there would be a mass resignation in the department. Both Rosen and Donoghue have reportedly already spoken to the House committee and confirmed Clark's effort to help Trump spread election disinformation.

What Clark gets for being first in the store Friday is pole position for any potential feelings of prosecutorial leniency, I suppose, but his testimony could make it terribly uncomfortable for a lot of people who, so far, haven't been slapped with anything tangible.

In a call to the Justice Department, according to notes taken on that communication by Donoghue, Trump said, "Just say the election was corrupt," and, "leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen."

Trump still believes that you can make things true just by saying them. That's a whole other level of crazy.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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