“Defendant’s timing suggests that the only thing that has really changed since he refused to comply with the subpoena in October 2021 is that he is finally about to face the consequences of his decision to default,” Vaughn wrote.
“All of the circumstances described above suggest that the defendant’s sudden desire to testify is not a genuine effort to fulfill his obligations, but rather a last-ditch attempt to avoid responsibility.”
According to Vaughn, Clark contradicted multiple claims by Bannon and his defense team, which had long cited correspondence with Clark as a basis for Bannon’s claim that Trump had claimed executive privilege over Bannon’s testimony and records.
Instead, Vaughn said, Clark told the DOJ “that the former president never invoked executive privilege on any particular information or material; that the attorney for the former president never asked or was ever asked to attend the defendant’s testimony before the Select Committee; that the Defendant’s attorney misrepresented to the Committee what the former President’s attorney had told the Defendant’s attorney; and that the attorney for the former president made it clear to the defendant’s attorney that the letter provided no basis for total noncompliance.”
Vaughn noted that the DOJ provided Bannon’s team with an FBI report on Clark’s interview on June 30, the day after it took place.
It’s unclear if Clark was interviewed specifically about the Bannon case or if he was brought in to discuss other matters the Justice Department is investigating in connection with Trump’s effort to nullify the election. Clark and Bannon’s attorney, Robert Costello, could not be immediately reached for comment.
The January 6 select committee recently revealed that Clark also met with them, raising questions about the Trump team’s effort to send fake voters lists to Congress in December 2020, as part of a multifaceted plan to pressure the then Vice President Mike Pence to reverse the election.
Bannon’s attorneys said they were aware of Clark’s interview last week and cited it, without identifying Clark, as a reason to delay Bannon’s trial until October.
In a separate filing, the Justice Department also rejected additional arguments by Bannon to delay his trial, including a recently made argument that one of the prosecutors in the case, Molly Gaston, once worked with select committee staffer Kristin Amerling. , on Capitol Hill and were in a book club together.
“In his effort to create panic, the defendant also misrepresents information provided by the government regarding Kristin Amerling,” Vaughn wrote. “As the Government informed the Respondent on July 8, she and Ms. Gaston worked together over a decade ago and were in a book club that Ms. Gaston had not attended in almost two years. At no time did the Government suggest that Mrs. Amerling and Mrs. Gaston have a close personal relationship, because they do not.”