Capitol riot investigators have found evidence possibly linking the Trump White House to the Justice Department in efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

A draft letter to Georgia officials urging them to consider an alternate slate of electors contained metadata, or data with information about a file, that suggests involvement by the White House, the chief counsel of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot revealed last month. This pronouncement was made during a Nov. 5 deposition after former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark walked out and the chief counsel went on to list the matters that the panel wanted to broach, according to the transcript.

"I also wanted to ask him about metadata in that draft letter that indicates some involvement with the White House Communications Agency and the drafting or preparation of that letter," the chief counsel said.

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, who on Friday reported there being White House metadata in that draft document, said she heard from a source "close to the committee that indeed metadata from that letter suggests that the letter was authored by the White House Communications Agency."


John Dean, a former White House counsel who testified against President Richard Nixon in 1973 during the Watergate scandal, said the email likely did not originate from the White House Communications Agency, but the evidence suggests Trump was aware of it.

"The White House Communication Agency (WHCA) is a military operation at the White House staffed and run by the Defense Department to keep the Commander-In-Chief always plugged in and informed. They would not originate this letter rather communicate it per instructions of WH staff!" Dean said in a tweet thread.

"This information tells me Clark’s letter was known and circulated within the White House, on WHAC’s secure system, and likely sent to others outside the White House who logged on to the secure system," he added. "This makes it more likely Trump was aware of it. Clearly it got out of DOJ!"

Clark, one of the former Trump administration officials subpoenaed by the committee, was found to have drawn up a proposal to intervene in the Georgia certification process, including emailing top Justice Department brass a draft letter, and raised doubts about the election results in other states. Former President Donald Trump is said to have favored replacing Jeffrey Rosen, his acting attorney general, with Clark in order to carry out a more aggressive strategy to challenge President Joe Biden's victory in November.

However, the former president opted not to dismiss Rosen after he was told during an early January meeting in the Oval Office that top Justice Department officials and White House counsel Pat Cipollone would resign if he went through with the plan, according to a 394-page report released in October by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which was based on the testimony of former officials and documents.

The House Jan. 6 committee moved Wednesday to recommend that Congress hold Clark in contempt for defying the subpoena by refusing to answer questions during a deposition. The panel said it was going to give Clark another opportunity to appear over the weekend after he sent a letter suggesting he intended to invoke the Fifth Amendment, but a spokesman for the committee said Friday that Clark informed it of a "medical condition that [precluded] his participation" in the meeting and that he had "provided ample evidence of his claim." The committee set a new date of Dec. 16 for the deposition.

John Eastman, a conservative lawyer who wrote legal memos outlining ways then-Vice President Mike Pence could try to overturn the 2020 election, also asserted his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, according to a Dec. 1 letter from his lawyer to the Jan. 6 committee.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger revealed last week that he is one of the state officials who have spoken to the House committee about a Jan. 2 call between himself and Trump in which the former president encouraged him to "find" votes sufficient to sway the Georgia election in his favor.

The phone call, which was recorded and leaked to the media, is under review by a Fulton County grand jury to determine if the state should bring criminal charges against Trump.


Daniel Goldman, the former lead counsel for House Democrats in the first Trump impeachment trial who is now running for New York attorney general, commended the Jan. 6 committee staff for uncovering the metadata "connecting Clark’s efforts to overturn the GA results with [the White House], which was trying to do the same through Raffensperger."

He added in a tweet, "All part of Fulton Cty DA [investigation]. If DOJ won’t do it, then we have to rely on state and local prosecutors."