What does it mean to plead the Fifth?
But what exactly is the Fifth Amendment, and how will it affect the January 6 House select committee investigation? Here’s what you need to know:
Invoking the Fifth Amendment is usually done to avoid answering specific questions. Ratified in 1791, the Fifth Amendment protects a person from being “compelled in any criminal matter to testify against himself”.
The amendment reflected an effort to protect witnesses from a sort of inquisitorial star chamber of 15th-century England.
The “self-incrimination clause” generally means that a witness cannot be compelled to make statements which he considers likely to be negative or used against him. The right must be affirmatively waived.
Does Advocating the Fifth have a negative connotation?
What does this mean for the January 6 committee?
Clark helped then-President Donald Trump craft a plan to oust the then Acting Attorney General, rise to the top of the department, and bring in the Georgia Department of Justice to put aside the results of his vote to influence the state towards Trump. Eastman, meanwhile, helped develop a questionable legal theory that then Vice President Mike Pence had constitutional authority to halt the certification of the 2020 presidential election results. .
Committee chairman Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi, previously told CNN the scheduled deposition: “I can’t anticipate what he will say.”
âI just know his lawyer represented the fact that his client is considering makingâ the Fifth Amendment, Thompson said. “If he’s considering taking it, he’ll have to take it every time we ask him a question.”
When asked if there was still a very good chance they would go into criminal contempt after the postponed deposition, Thompson replied, “Uh, yeah, absolutely.”
While there was no motion for criminal contempt against Eastman, the Special House Committee showed that it was prepared to follow such a route with uncooperative witnesses.
Eastman is scheduled to appear before the committee on Wednesday.
What about requests for documents?
The Fifth Amendment will not protect Clark, Eastman or any other witness from the House Select Committee’s request for certain documents.
What did Trump say about pleading for the Fifth?
Ironically, the former president has made fun of the Fifth Amendment as a haven for the Mafiosi.
“If you are innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment,” Trump said as a candidate in 2016, complaining about assists from his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, who was asked about using a private messaging when she was secretary. of state.
CNN’s Joan Biskupic, Katelyn Polantz, Ryan Nobles and Gregory Kreig contributed to this report.