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January 6 committee sends letter to GOP lawmaker Scott Perry asking to interview him

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The commission has not yet issued a subpoena for Berry’s testimony. Instead, the commission sends a letter formally requesting Berry’s cooperation. Perry, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, is the first lawmaker to receive such a letter from the committee.

The letter, released Monday, represents an important step in the investigation and underscores how the commission is focusing on Trump’s closest allies on Capitol Hill.

“At this time, the select committee is seeking your voluntary cooperation,” wrote Representative Benny Thompson of Mississippi, who chairs the committee.

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In the letter, the panel said it wanted to discuss Perry’s bid to appoint former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark as acting attorney general.

“We have received evidence from several witnesses that you have a significant role in the efforts to install Mr. Clark as acting attorney general,” Thompson said in the letter.

Thompson adds that then-Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and then-Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue, who were interviewed by the commission, “provided evidence in these cases, and we have received evidence that others who worked with Mr. Clark were aware of these plans.”

CNN has reached out to Perry’s office for comment.

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In its letter, the commission told Berry that Clark, against whom the commission had initiated criminal contempt proceedings but had a second chance to attend and plead the Fifth Amendment, was aware that the commission planned to ask him about his interactions with Berry. .

The letter to Perry also states that the commission is aware of “multiple texts and other communications” with former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, including evidence of the pair communicating via the encrypted app called Signal.

Addressing Perry’s role in spreading disinformation about the 2020 presidential election first hand, the committee wrote in its letter that it is aware that the Pennsylvania lawmaker has contacted the White House on a variety of topics including “allegations that voting machines in Dominion have been damaged.”

The committee proposes scheduling a meeting with Perry either on December 28, December 29, January 3, January 4, or in the week beginning January 10, when the House of Representatives returns to session. The committee also suggests that this meeting could take place in the area of ​​Berry’s house if that accommodation works best. In addition to conducting an interview, the panel is also requesting that Berry turn in all relevant documents and communications on January 6.

Prior to the letter, a Senate report from Democrats on the Judiciary Committee described Perry as a key player in Trump’s attempts to pressure the Department of Justice to support false voter fraud conspiracy theories, which Trump had hoped would lead Congress to reverse his 2020 loss to Joe Biden. .
Perry has linked Trump to Clark, who has been open about his allegations of voter fraud, while Trump sent Perry to try to convince senior Justice Department officers that the election had been stolen, according to the Senate committee.

The Pennsylvania Republican nominee is one of three Democratic senators who have been identified for January 6th and have been “particularly notable” and warrant further investigation outside the scope of their investigation.

The letter to Perry comes as the House Select Committee has made it clear that it will not deter Republican lawmakers from scrutiny as part of its overall investigation, an unusual dynamic that could involve some House members in a conspiracy to nullify the election and that it will almost certainly increase. Ignition of partisan divisions.

The House Select Committee, in its report to prosecute Meadows in criminal contempt, revealed a text from an unknown lawmaker who praised the then White House chief of staff for his inauguration of Clark in the Department of Justice. During the working meeting on the Meadows report, the committee’s vice chair, Republican Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, made a specific note of the interaction between Meadows and a member of Congress regarding Clark.
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“As Mr. Meadows’ undistinguished transcripts reveal, he was in contact several times with a member of Congress – our current colleague – who was working with Mr. Clark,” Cheney said at the time. “Mr. Meadows has no basis for refusing to testify regarding those communications.”

Perry’s office did not respond to multiple requests from CNN to confirm or deny that he had been in contact with Meadows about Clark’s appointment.

Earlier this month, Thompson indicated that the recall of lawmakers’ records is still on the table.

“Sure,” Thompson said when asked about the possibility of calling up records for his teammates. “I mean, this is, you know, it’s an investigation. And we’ve done it methodically throughout the investigation. At this point, we’re going to make the final decision, whether that’s the direction we want to go in.”

Taking the step of dragging their fellow House of Representatives into their investigation carries risks and the potential for drawn-out legal battles. If they regain a majority next fall, Republicans have already threatened to use congressional powers to launch politically motivated investigations the same way Democrats used the Jan. 6 select committee.

But it seems that the commission is ready to go in this direction.

Representative Scott Perry is seen at the Capitol Visitor Center in May.

Just last week, committee members released text messages from anonymous MPs to Meadows and read them out loud on the floor of the House. The commission obtained the letters from 6,000 documents Meadows delivered before ceasing to cooperate and used them as evidence to keep Meadows in criminal contempt for Congress, now in the hands of the Justice Department.

While the committee has yet to name the lawmaker whose texts it has received so far, Thompson told CNN, “There won’t be any surprises about their identity.”

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Although committee members did not name lawmakers who might be of interest in their investigation, the intentional release of text messages last week was a strong signal. Besides examining the role Trump played in the lead-up to January 6, the investigation also looks in depth at how certain members of Congress helped pave the way for the riots — not only by helping to spread false allegations of voter fraud, but also by helping to disseminate false allegations of voter fraud. Drafting a plan to cancel the January 6 elections.

Among the latest batch of text messages it received from Meadows, the committee highlighted a handful that showed some lawmakers encouraging him to continue efforts to undermine the election results.

On January 5, for example, an “unnamed lawmaker” that CNN confirmed to be Representative Jim Jordan, sent a text message to Meadows outlining a legal theory that then-Vice President Mike Pence had the authority to stand in the way of certifying the 2020 election.

Other texts from the committee show that GOP lawmakers have been imploring Meadows to encourage Trump to tell his supporters to leave the Capitol on January 6.

Alex Jones sues House committee on January 6

According to Cheney, a message from a Republican senator read: “The President should stop this matter ASAP.”

“Fix this now,” Cheney said, another GOP lawmaker texted Meadows on Jan. 6.

It is not difficult to identify the group of House Republicans who continue to peddle lies about the results of the 2020 election or have taken an active role in strategizing ways to challenge the certification of electoral votes.

Perry is not the only Republican member of the House of Representatives who has actively worked to undermine election results. Nor is he the only member who has refused to accept the accuracy of the 2020 results.

During a recent House Rules Committee meeting, where the committee considered criminal contempt for Trump ally Steve Bannon, Jordan and Representative Matt Gates of Florida were asked several times if they thought Biden won the election. Both said they recognized Biden as president, but declined to say he won.

Perry, Jordan and Gates are part of a list of Republican members that the committee has asked carriers to keep records of communications for CNN reported exclusively in August.

The committee hasn’t released those names publicly, but the list includes Representatives Lauren Poubert of Colorado, Marjorie Taylor Green of Georgia, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Paul Gossar of Arizona, Moe Brooks of Alabama and Madison Cawthorne of the North. Carolina, Louie Johart of Texas and Judy Hayes of Georgia.

Also among that list is current House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who has threatened telecom companies with retaliation if they comply with the committee’s request.

It is not clear whether the list reflects those the commission requested interviews with on Monday and separately, what means the commission will use to compel telcos to cooperate with their requests.

This story was updated with additional developments on Monday.

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