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Jeffrey Clark fighting to keep his license as bar investigates him for trying to overthrow 2020 election
On Thursday, POLITICO reported that former Trump Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark is struggling to fend off disciplinary actions, and potentially the loss of his law license, as the Washington, D.C. bar investigates his role in the efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
"Jeffrey Clark appeared for a lengthy proceeding Thursday that is a prelude to a disciplinary hearing on claims he violated legal ethics in his persistent efforts to undercut the legitimacy of the 2020 election," reported Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein. "The heart of the issue: Did Clark merely offer up unwise suggestions to his superiors — hardly the basis for disciplinary action — or did his persistence in the face of a lack of evidence of fraud render his conduct so inappropriate that he should be punished?"
Clark allegedly gave the White House advice on how to fight the election results, in violation of DOJ communication policies, and in particular wanted to send a letter to officials in Georgia advising them on nonexistent "irregularities" in their vote count. Trump had wanted to appoint him as Attorney General in the final days of his presidency, but officials warned the former president there would be mass resignations if that appointment was made.
"Phil Fox, chief of the D.C. Bar Office of Disciplinary Counsel, which brought the complaint against Clark earlier this year, agreed that 'It is generally not a disciplinary violation to make a stupid suggestion,'" said the report. "But Fox said Clark went further by repeatedly seeking to get the Justice Department to send a letter warning of significant signs of fraud and urging state legislatures to reconvene and consider appointing new presidential electors. 'He came back and used coercive methods or means to attempt to get the letter sent even though he had no additional information' about fraud, Fox said during the videoconference session."
According to the report, Clark's attorney resisted this logic, saying, “They’re saying it’s OK to make a suggestion, but it’s not OK to persist in a suggestion.”
In addition to professional sanctions, Clark is facing a criminal investigation as part of the broader probe into Trump allies' plots around the election. In June, federal law enforcement officials came to his home and executed a search.
President Joe Biden in a major action on Thursday announced he is pardoning thousands of Americans convicted of simple possession of marijuana, which is being seen as a major move toward federal decriminalization. Fox News is calling it a “blunt move” and “REEFER MADNESS,” and it is currently the right wing website‘s top story:
“As I’ve said before, no one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana,” President Biden announced, as Axios reported. “Today, I’m taking steps to end our failed approach.”
“I’m pardoning all prior federal offenses of simple marijuana possession. There are thousands of people who were previously convicted of simple possession who may be denied employment, housing, or educational opportunities as a result. My pardon will remove this burden,” the President declared in an unexpected move.
He added he is also “calling on governors to pardon simple state marijuana possession offenses. Just as no one should be in a federal prison solely for possessing marijuana, no one should be in a local jail or state prison for that reason, either.”
That move is expected to receive pushback from many GOP governors and lawmakers, despite support by a majority of Republican voters for cannabis legalization. In April the House of Representatives passed legislation to decriminalize marijuana. It passed 220-204, with just three Republicans voting for it and two Democrats voting against.
“We classify marijuana at the same level as heroin – and more serious than fentanyl,” Biden continued. “It makes no sense. I’m asking @SecBecerra and the Attorney General to initiate the process of reviewing how marijuana is scheduled under federal law.”
“Sending people to jail for possessing marijuana has upended too many lives – for conduct that is legal in many states. That’s before you address the clear racial disparities around prosecution and conviction. Today, we begin to right these wrongs,” Biden said.
Democratic nominee for governor of Texas, Beto O’Rourke, since at least 2019 has supported marijuana legalization. He has repeatedly stated this position as he did here in February.
Immediately after Biden’s announcement O’Rourke once again reiterated his support for legalization..
“When I’m governor, we will finally legalize marijuana in Texas and expunge the records of those arrested for marijuana possession,” said the Democrat running against Republican Greg Abbott.
A Justice Department spokesperson said the DOJ “will expeditiously administer the President’s proclamation, which pardons individuals who engaged in simple possession of marijuana, restoring political, civil, and other rights to those convicted of that offense.”
Unlike his predecessor’s pardons, President Biden will arrange the pardons through the Office of the Pardon Attorney.
Slate senior writer Mark Joseph Stern called the President’s announcement “the first step to rescheduling or descheduling marijuana on the federal level. HUGE deal. It’s a tectonic shift in federal drug policy.”
On Thursday, The Daily Beast reported that Mark Rissi of Hiawatha, Iowa has been arrested after calling in a death threat to the Maricopa County, Arizona Board of Supervisors over conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election being stolen.
"In the messages, he allegedly threatened to hang officials for the 'theft of the 2020 election,'" reported Ellie Quinlan Houghtaling. "The 64-year-old Iowa man could face up to ten years for threatening officials over state lines, and faces an additional count for making a threatening call, which could carry with it another two years behind bars."
“Hello ... I am glad that you are standing up for democracy and want to place your hand on the Bible and say that the election was honest and fair,” said Rissi in the call, which he placed on September 27. “I really appreciate that. When we come to lynch your stupid lying Commie [expletive], you’ll remember that you lied on the [expletive] Bible, you piece of [expletive]. You’re gonna die, you piece of [expletive]. We’re going to hang you. We’re going to hang you.”
There is no evidence of any sort that the 2020 election was stolen, and arguments that the result was illegitimate have been rejected in dozens of courts.
Arizona is a key focus of far-right conspiracy theorists, as Biden only carried the state by fewer than 11,000 votes. Republicans in the state Senate commissioned a controversial private "audit" of the results that found no misconduct and led to a flurry of litigation over the auditors' transparency. Republicans have nominated a slate of election deniers for key races, including former news anchor Kari Lake for governor and state Sen. Mark Finchem for secretary of state.
Threats and harassment against election officials have grown common since the 2020 election; in Gillespie County, Texas, the entire election staff of the county ended up resigning over the abuse.