The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol has asked Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) to meet with the panel and turn over information, a remarkable request that stops short of subpoenaing a sitting lawmaker.
The move follows prior reports that found Perry, the incoming chairman of the far-right Freedom Caucus, to be a central figure in former President Trump’s efforts to pressure the Department of Justice to act on his baseless claims of election fraud. That includes introducing the president to Jeffrey Clark, a midlevel Justice Department employee that Trump once weighed installing as attorney general.
Perry’s role in Trump’s pressure campaign at the Justice Department came to light following a Senate Judiciary Committee investigation into Trump’s plans to boot acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, putting Clark in a better position to forward voting investigations in states where Trump lost. But the upheaval was stalled when several high-level Justice Department figures threatened to resign at a Jan. 3 White House meeting.
Perry also contacted top DOJ officials, including sending “a series of documents summarizing numerous Pennsylvania election fraud claims” on Dec. 27.
The lawmaker also led efforts to contest certification of Pennsylvania’s election results shortly after midnight once the Capitol was reopened following the attack.
The letter asks for Perry’s “voluntary cooperation” and that he turn over all his communications with Trump, the Trump legal team, and anything related to Jan. 6 or its planning.
“We have received evidence from multiple witnesses that you had an important role in the efforts to install Mr. Clark as acting Attorney General. Acting Attorney General Rosen and acting Deputy Attorney General Donoghue have provided evidence regarding these issues, and we have received evidence that others who worked with Mr. Clark were aware of these plans,” Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the chairman of the panel, wrote in a letter to Perry.
“We are also aware that you had multiple text and other communications with President Trump’s former Chief of Staff regarding Mr. Clark — and we also have evidence indicating that in that time frame you sent communications to the former Chief of Staff using the encrypted Signal app,” Thompson wrote.
“Mr. Clark has informed us that he plans to invoke his 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination in anticipation of a deposition to be conducted by the Committee,” Thompson added. “When Mr. Clark decided to invoke his 5th Amendment rights, he understood that we planned to pose questions addressing his interactions with you, among a host of other topics.”
But Monday’s letter to Perry marked the first time the committee directly engaged with a sitting U.S. lawmaker. Last month, Perry was elected to be the next chairman of the Freedom Caucus, a band of conservative rabble rousers previously led by both Jordan and Meadows that became closely aligned with Trump during his presidency. Perry, a retired brigadier general in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, is a veteran of the Iraq war.
“The Select Committee has tremendous respect for the prerogatives of Congress and the privacy of its Members. At the same time, we have a solemn responsibility to investigate fully all of these facts and circumstances,” Thompson wrote.
Trump repeatedly met resistance in his efforts to get the Justice Department to investigate his unproven allegations of voter fraud, with officials repeatedly failing to act on claims and conspiracies forwarded by Meadows.
The request to Perry shows the extent the committee has zeroed in on Trump’s actions at DOJ, which culminated with a Jan. 3 White House meeting in which the president was faced with resignations from DOJ officials and censure from his own staff. Then-White House Attorney Pat Cipollone called Clark’s plan to send letters to Georgia and other states suggesting a delay in their certification of votes a “murder-suicide pact.”
The committee has already sat with Rosen and Donoghue, who gave voluntary interviews. Clark, meanwhile, after a threat of contempt of Congress, is set to meet with the committee in order to plead the Fifth, a nod to the potential for criminal activity in the Justice Department efforts.
Perry reached out to Donoghue at Trump’s request, just hours after the former president asked for Donoghue’s number so that he might share it with lawmakers.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.