Then-acting Assistant US Attorney General Jeffrey Clark speaks at a news conference in October 2020. | Yuri Gripas/Getty Images

Jeffrey Clark gets his moment in the spotlight Thursday in front of the January 6 committee.

For a brief moment in early January 2021, it looked like Jeffrey Clark’s moment in the sun had arrived. He was poised to become a major player in Washington.

All he needed to do was successfully convince then-President Donald Trump to install him as acting attorney general, then demand that key swing states won by Joe Biden send a separate slate of pro-Trump electors to Congress, thus overturning Biden’s Electoral College win.

Up to that point, Clark was, in the eyes of true Washington insiders, a schnook, a comparative nobody.

It wasn’t that he was unaccomplished. Clark had a solid resume as a graduate of Harvard and Georgetown Law, and spent over a decade as a partner at the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis. He had even been Senate-confirmed. In 2018, Trump nominated Clark to be assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division at the Department of Justice. He was confirmed on a near party-line vote, with opposition due to the fact that Clark, who represented BP in his private practice, was a climate science skeptic. Clark was exactly the type of smart guy with a ceiling that makes up the upper-middle class of Washington policymakers.

But Washington law firms and Nationals Park box seats are jam-packed with unobtrusive Republicans who represent the fossil fuel industry. There are fewer who sought to actively overturn a democratic election and vied to be the hatchet man for an outgoing president determined to stay in power.

The latter part of Clark’s resume is why this particular former bureaucrat will get a different sort of moment in the glaring spotlight on Thursday, when those activities will be a focus of the select committee investigating the January 6,...

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