Rep. Scott Perry, a Pennsylvania Republican, touted former President Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 election and may have been privy to a scheme to oust the former attorney general so Trump could subvert the election. Now the Jan. 6 committee wants Perry to talk to investigators.
Perry, however, has said that he will not cooperate meaning that he could soon be slapped with an official subpoena.
Despite Perry’s contention, federal courts in Washington have already ruled that the committee is a legitimate entity with proper authority to conduct oversight.
The committee did not formally subpoena Perry, instead they sent him a letter Monday requesting his “voluntary cooperation” with the probe in the next few weeks. He is the first congressman to be targeted by the panel.
Once Perry made it clear that he would not cooperate Tuesday, in a few short hours the Jan. 6 Committee responded in kind:
According to evidence provided to the committee by multiple witnesses, Perry engaged in efforts to install former Justice Department lawyer Jeffrey Clark as attorney general. At the time, Clark was serving as the head of the department’s civil division.
According to a Senate Judiciary Committee report analyzing Trump’s scheme to overturn the election, Perry has previously acknowledged that it was he who first introduced Clark to Trump. Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, said on Monday that over a series of texts and other correspondence—including over the encrypted app Signal—Perry communicated with Mark Meadows, Trump’s chief of staff.
One alleged text message from Perry to Meadows read “Please check your signal,” indicating the men may have routinely chatted in the alternate channel. That text was first made public last week when committee Vice Chair Rep. Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican, divulged it during a contempt hearing for Meadows.
Perry has denied sending that text message. When pressed by reporters, according to The Washington Post, the Pennsylvania congressman retorted: “Are you kidding me?”
The evidence indicating Perry’s involvement in the plot to overturn the 2020 election results has mostly stemmed from materials provided to the committee by former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and Rosen’s deputy at the time, Richard Donoghue. That evidence has confirmed to the committee the timeframe in which Perry communicated with Meadows over Signal.
Investigators say Clark met with Trump just after Christmas Eve last year and began promoting a plan to inform key swing state legislatures that they could appoint an alternate slate of electors after the popular vote. Clark reportedly drafted a letter littered with false claims of election fraud for officials in Georgia and then shared it with Rosen and Donoghue. Neither man wanted anything to do with the plot, but that didn’t deter Clark. He eventually told Rosen that Trump wanted to replace him, but that Clark might be able to call the dogs off if Rosen agreed to send out the letters to state officials. Rosen ultimately refused and Clark balked, threatening to replace him then and there. Clark’s scheme fell apart, though, when other White House and Department of Justice officials said they would step down if the appointment were approved.
Clark has said he will invoke his Fifth Amendment right and in the letter to Perry, the select committee highlighted this point to the Pennsylvania Republican.
“When Mr. Clark decided to invoke his Fifth Amendment rights, he understood that we planned to pose questions addressing his interactions with you, among a host of other topics,” the letter stated.
Last December, Perry was the recipient of a report authored by 15 members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, known as the “Ryan Report,” which falsely stated the 2020 election was “fraught with inconsistencies, documented irregularities, and improprieties associated with mail-in balloting, pre-canvassing, and canvassing.”
Perry frequently shilled Trump’s lies about the election—he also claimed there were problems with Dominion voting machines—and aligned himself with legislators and Trump stalwarts like Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio. Perry and Jordan met in Virginia shortly after the election on Nov. 9 and strategized a plan to keep Trump in office. Part of that plan reportedly involved the installation of Clark.
During those meetings in Virginia, it is alleged that Perry worked not only with Meadows but with Trump adviser Steve Miller, Trump Campaign Manager William Stepien, and White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany.
According to The New York Times, Jordan has denied the meeting in Virginia was anything more than a meeting to discuss “media strategy.”
Perry appeared with Jordan on Fox on Nov. 6, 2020 and promoted claims of election fraud. He even went on Twitter and asked people who had seen or heard anything “that can help with the fraud investigation” to visit a Stop the Steal website and report it. His propaganda campaign continued on Facebook and Twitter in the days that followed. On Nov. 9 he signed on to a letter issued to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf sharing his “deep concerns” over how Pennsylvania handled the election.
That letter no longer appears to be listed on Perry’s Facebook page:
Perry has served in Congress since 2013. Though the committee has so far been slow to press fellow members for information about the attack on the Capitol, in a statement accompanying the letter, Thompson explained the panel’s position succinctly:
“The select committee has tremendous respect for the prerogatives of Congress and the privacy of its members,” he wrote. “At the same time, we have a solemn responsibility to investigate fully all of these facts and circumstances.”
Perry did not return requests for comment Tuesday.