Jeffrey Clark has to decide if he's 'more afraid of Trump or going to jail': legal expert

It's still unclear why Jeffrey Clark, a top DOJ attorney from the Trump administration, split with his attorney just days before he was scheduled to testify Friday before the House Select Committee investigating the Capitol insurrection.

On Thursday, the committee agreed to postpone Clark's testimony, after learning that he had parted ways with attorney Robert Driscoll.

"It was not clear why Driscoll and Clark split, but people familiar with the matter suggested that it had to do with whether Clark would cooperate with the committee's requests," the Washington Post reported.

On Thursday night, MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell said he was "fascinated" by the postponement of Clark's testimony, given that the separation reportedly had to do with the question of whether he'll cooperate.

"It's really interesting," MSNBC legal analyst Paul Butler responded. "When a lawyer leaves a case, he is required by attorney-client privilege to continue to respect confidential information, so we don't know if Jeffrey Clark fired his lawyer, or the lawyer quit on his own. It's been reported as you said that there was a dispute between Clark and the lawyer about whether Clark would cooperate with the House committee. If Clark refuses to cooperate with the committee, he risks being held in criminal contempt, so at some point, Clark has to make a decision that's quite common for people in Donald Trump's orbit: Is he more afraid of Donald Trump? Or is he more afraid of going to jail?"

Butler went on to say that the committee "understands that Trump's claims about executive privilege are weak."

"No court has ever said that that applies to a former president," Butler said. "And the privilege only applies to official presidential duties, which do not include trying to subvert an election. So eventually, everybody who is trying to fight having to testify or turn over documents is going to lose. But it may take a long time for Trump to lose, depending on the speed or lack thereof at which courts resolve these issues."

Watch below.

Why did Jeffrey Clark split with his attorney?