Four of Spades: U.S. Rep. Scott Perry (PA), Former Freedom Caucus Chair, Sought Trump Pardon for His Efforts to Overturn 2020 Election

 

“Democracy dies in darkness.”
– Bob Woodward

 

Court filing reveals Rep. Scott Perry’s vast web of contacts in bid to reverse 2020 election

A federal appeals court on Wednesday released previously secret text messages from Perry — only to remove them from the public docket later in the day.

At 11:08 p.m. on Dec. 30, 2020, days before Donald Trump prepared to install Jeff Clark atop the Justice Department amid his frenzied push to remain in power, Clark got a text from one key ally, Rep. Scott Perry.

“POTUS seems very happy with your response. I read it just as you dictated,” Perry (R-Pa.) texted the senior Justice Department official.

“I’m praying. This makes me quite nervous. And wonder if I’m worthy or ready,” Clark replied.

“You are the man. I have confirmed it. God does what he does for a reason,” Perry continued.

At the time, Clark was supporting Trump’s false claims of voter fraud — and Trump, hoping to harness the Justice Department in his bid to overturn the 2020 election, was nearing a decision to appoint Clark as acting attorney general. He ultimately backed off amid a high-level rebellion at DOJ and in the White House. But the newly disclosed text messages — contained in a court filing that appears to have been erroneously made public on Wednesday — show that Clark was girding for the appointment, bolstered by support from Perry, a conservative leader in Congress.

The intimate exchange, along with a batch of other communications, was released by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which previously heard litigation over special counsel Jack Smith’s effort to access the communications stored on Perry’s cell phone. The court partially blocked Smith’s effort in a ruling that relied on the Constitution’s “speech or debate” clause, which allows members of Congress to prevent certain communications from being probed by prosecutors.

Many of the documents connected to the case had been kept under seal. But on Wednesday, the D.C. Circuit unsealed them — including a lower court’s opinion that described and quoted from a large volume of the very text messages that Smith has been seeking. By Wednesday evening, the unsealed opinion appeared to have been removed from the court’s public docket, suggesting it may have been posted inadvertently.

 

Trump attorneys guided false electors in Georgia, GOP chair says

In Tuesday’s filing, Shafer underscored that the strategy was driven almost entirely by lawyers acting on Trump’s behalf.  The false electors were later used by Trump allies to attempt to foment a conflict on Jan. 6, 2021 and derail the transfer of power to President Joe Biden.

Shafer is among the 18 defendants indicted in Fulton County, Georgia, alongside Trump as part of a conspiracy to subvert the 2020 election.

 

 

Trump indictment sidesteps key details unearthed by Jan. 6 panel

BY REBECCA BEITSCH 

 08/09/23

https://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/4146334-trump-indictment-sidesteps-details-unearthed-jan-6-panel/

[Excerpts:]

The sweeping indictment brought against Donald Trump in the Jan. 6 case touches on nearly every aspect of the former president’s plot to stay in power.

But a few eye-catching omissions in the high-profile case point to the complexities facing the Justice Department (DOJ), while raising questions about prosecutors’ future plans to hold to account those involved with Trump’s plans. 

“The main thing that sticks out isn’t so much missing facts or missing charges, so much as the lack of co-defendants,” said Josh Stanton, an attorney with Perry Law who helped write a model prosecution memo analyzing the case.

“That is the most notable missing piece of this indictment.”

The indictment aligned closely with the report prepared by the House panel investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, a high-level review of evidence laid out over the course of months of hearings, a format that allowed the public to hear directly from some witnesses.  

However some conduct and testimony exposed by the congressional panel doesn’t feature prominently in the indictment.

“It’s only a 45-page summary, and obviously, the committee report was over 800 pages,” said Tom Joscelyn, a principal author of the panel’s report, who noted the indictment captures the Trump campaign effort to overturn the election “at every point they could.”

“They don’t have to put everything in the indictment. That’s just the summary of the case.” 

When it comes to whom to hold responsible for the attack, the indictment likewise hews closely to the panel’s recommendations. 

Trump’s indictment lists six co-conspirators in the effort to block the transition of power after the 2020 election, whose roles were largely highlighted by the committee, such as then-Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman, who drafted the memo laying out a plan for then-Vice President Mike Pence to buck his ceremonial duty to certify the election results.

But none of them have been charged yet, and while the list was expected to include just a fraction of those involved, there are notable exclusions.

The indictment makes few references to Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows, who was involved in numerous aspects of Trump’s plan, or nods to the lawmakers who routinely coordinated with the White House on various methods for fighting President Biden’s victory.

Meadows was a central figure in coordinating with lawmakers, as well as a participant in the campaign to pressure Justice Department officials to open investigations into baseless claims of election fraud.

Also given little thought in the indictment are the lawmakers with whom Meadows coordinated, with the chief at one point writing after a meeting with Trump and GOP members of Congress that they were “preparing to fight back,” citing false claims of voter fraud.

Joscelyn, now a fellow at the Reiss Center on Law and Security at the NYU School of Law, said its possible lawmakers’ activity could feature more heavily in any other indictments the special counsel might bring.

He pointed to the search warrant executed on Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), who introduced Trump to former DOJ attorney Jeffrey Clark, one of the co-conspirators listed in the indictment and whom Trump mulled installing as attorney general.

“We know that [Smith] was investigating Congressman Scott Perry’s role with trying to install Jeffrey Clark as the acting Attorney General, and we don’t know where that came out. It may be that that is something that if there’s a subsequent indictment of Jeffrey Clark, maybe Perry played a role in that — who knows,” Joscelyn said.

 

House GOP flirts with Jan. 6 extremism

By JORDAIN CARNEY and KYLE CHENEY

Updated: 06/18/2023 

https://www.politico.com/news/2023/06/18/house-gop-jan-6-extremism-00101259

Far-right conservatives have entertained false conspiracy theories about the Capitol attack — but so have some House GOP leaders and key committee chiefs, without outright embracing them.

House Republicans don’t want to talk about Jan. 6. They also can’t stop talking about it.

At times, GOP lawmakers insist they’re uninterested in relitigating an attack that is political poison for the party outside of deep-red areas. But at other times, some Republicans have stoked narratives that falsely pin blame for the attack on police, Democrats or far-left agitators — or downplay the violence at the Capitol. The latter approach has seen a noticeable uptick of late.

And it’s not just far-right conservatives who fall in that group — some House GOP leaders and key committee chiefs have shown they’re willing to flirt with the fringe without an outright embrace. Speaker Kevin McCarthy has shared security video of that day with far-right media figures who have minimized or fed inaccurate portrayals of the attack.

Yet they’re also batting down some of those same false conspiracy theories and preparing to focus on at least one area of bipartisan concern: Capitol security vulnerabilities, many of which remain unresolved since the attack. Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), who faced scrutiny from the Jan. 6 select committee for a Capitol complex tour he gave on Jan. 5, 2021, is warning allies against automatically accepting certain claims.

“You wouldn’t believe how many experts there are out there on Jan. 6, who know exactly what happened because they read it on the internet,” said Loudermilk, who is leading the GOP’s look back at the attack and at the Democratic-led Jan. 6 panel.

Loudermilk’s comments underscore House Republicans’ reality. While most admit privately, if not publicly, that Jan. 6 was the work of a violent mob, they have a political calculus to consider: A not-insignificant faction of their party is hellbent on rewriting the history of the day.

Hanging over it all is former President Donald Trump’s vociferous defense of the rioters and continued false claims that he won the 2020 election. Federal and Georgia prosecutors are investigating his efforts to subvert the election and could bring charges later this year.

Trump is uninterested in making the balance any easier on Republicans: His pledge to pardon a large number of Jan. 6 defendants is a feature of his commentary on the campaign trail, where he remains the frontrunner for the party’s 2024 nomination.

Still, House Republicans aren’t fully playing to Trump. For now, they’re giving Jan. 6 a side hug more than a bear hug.

McCarthy encapsulates the half-hearted embrace. He angered some allies on the right this year by defending a Capitol Police officer’s decision to shoot a Jan. 6 rioter who was attempting to breach a room adjacent to the House chamber. But he’s also provided exclusive access to thousands of hours of security footage to former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who’s used the film to demean and distort police officers’ actions.

“Speaker McCarthy promised that House Republicans would investigate the security failures of that day and provide transparency to the American people. Former Speaker Pelosi and her Select Committee set one bad precedent after another — including releasing select clips for partisan purposes,” a McCarthy spokesperson said in a statement that did not address conference dynamics around Jan. 6.

“For two years, we heard no concerns when footage was used by Democrats, the media, and Pelosi’s daughter for her HBO documentary,” the McCarthy spokesperson added, declining to be identified by name and referring to Nancy Pelosi’s daughter filming her mother and other party leaders on Jan. 6.

Some of McCarthy’s most trusted committee chairs have taken a similar approach to the California Republican, eschewing the most extreme efforts demanded by the far-right flank but still winking at some of their concerns.

For example, no committees have pursued baseless claims that Ray Epps, who rioted on Jan. 6, was acting as an undercover government agent. And GOP leaders have sidestepped a far-right fervor to subpoena and probe Jan. 6 select panel members, to scrutinize distorted allegations about Pelosi’s handling of Capitol security or to dig into judges’ treatment of the 1,000-plus criminal cases stemming from the attack.

Notably, no committee chairs or party leaders participated in the biggest platform House Republicans have given Jan. 6 defendants so far: Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), joined by a handful of others from the conference’s right flank, hosted an event last week with former Trump acting assistant attorney general Jeffrey Clark, people charged in relation to Jan. 6, defendants’ family members and allies.

The event featured a veritable kitchen sink of conspiracy theories as well as rehashed false claims, including that the 2020 election was “stolen” and that the Jan. 6 committee “doctored” video.

But Jan. 6 defendants, their advocates and some GOP lawmakers have called for Republicans to push further.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) said that probing the Justice Department’s handling of Jan. 6 prosecutions should be one of the “top priorities” for a Judiciary sub-panel tasked with investigating GOP claims of bias against conservatives within the federal government.

She introduced impeachment articles against the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia who has taken the lead on prosecuting members of the mob. Meanwhile, Gaetz introduced a resolution to censure Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), who led the now-closed riot select committee. Both efforts have a single-digit number of cosponsors at the moment.

Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) did recently release a wider report that accused the FBI of artificially conflating the number of Jan. 6-related investigations. The report and a subsequent hearing also included testimony from whistleblowers who lost their security clearances due to improper actions related to Jan. 6.

One of the whistleblowers, Steve Friend, and several Freedom Caucus members were invited to speak at a retreat hosted by the conservative Center for Renewing America, where Friend is a senior fellow, shortly before the hearing, according to research by the progressive group Accountable.US that was provided exclusively to POLITICO and confirmed via House disclosure forms.

Jordan also fired off new Jan. 6-related letters, one asking for more information on the FBI’s investigation into pipe bombs found near the Capitol the day of the attack and another expanding a probe into record-sharing with federal investigators.

But those efforts make up a small slice of his collective, sweeping investigations.

The Oversight Committee organized a tour of the D.C. jail to investigate two-year-old claims of “disparate treatment” of the approximately two dozen Jan. 6-related detainees — nearly all of whom were incarcerated or detained for violence against police. But Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) didn’t attend the tour, which was led by panel member Greene.

Democrats who attended said that GOP lawmakers and the detained rioters treated each other as allies and friends.

Some members of the Oversight panel recently raised Jan. 6 during a hearing with testimony from Graves and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser — but the session was billed as about broader crime and governance issues.

There’s a reason behind the conference’s actions to sidestep those issues: A broad swath of House Republicans see spotlighting Jan. 6-related investigations as a terrible political strategy.

Loudermilk has largely conducted the GOP’s most focused dive into Jan. 6 so far. He received a copy of the Capitol Police’s radio transmissions from the day and met privately with former law enforcement officials to discuss security failures. Loudermilk’s sub-panel, according to the McCarthy spokesperson, will also soon be rolling out “additional access” to view Capitol security footage.

Still, Loudermilk set off alarm bells among Democrats when he pushed the D.C. police to disclose how many undercover officers were in the crowd during the attack. The letter dovetails with, but did not specifically mention, claims by some Jan. 6 defendants that plainclothes agents or the government itself might have fomented the riot.

But Loudermilk says he won’t lend his subcommittee’s imprimatur to some of the most egregious false claims.

“We want to just follow the facts, not hyperbole or some kind of conspiracy theory, so our interest is just: What is the truth?” he said.

[Boldface added]

 

 

What’s On Scott Perry’s Phone???

https://morningmemo.talkingpointsmemo.com/p/fox-news-holds-its-own-media-reporter

We finally got to see the judge’s order allowing the Justice Department to access most of the records on the phone of Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA). Unsealed late Friday, but still partially redacted, the Dec. 28 order by the chief district judge in DC gave DOJ the go-ahead to review more than 2,000 records.

But, as you’ll recall, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals put that order on hold while it considered Perry’s appeal. Perry argues that the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause bars the executive branch from accessing his phone as part of its criminal investigation. Oral arguments were held on the appeal Thursday. The case is being closely watched in part because former Vice President Mike Pence is also expected to use the Speech or Debate Clause to avoid complying with a grand jury subpoena in the Jan. 6 investigation.

Howell ordered Perry to turn over 2,055 text messages, emails and attachments. She sided with him on some 161 other records on the phone, which DOJ was denied access to.

“What is plain is that the Clause does not shield Rep. Perry’s random musings with private individuals touting an expertise in cybersecurity or political discussions with attorneys from a presidential campaign, or with state legislators concerning hearings before them about possible local election fraud or actions they could take to challenge election results in Pennsylvania,” Howell wrote in her order.

The extent of the public reveals during Perry’s appeal seems to have prompted Chief Judge Beryl Howell to release the previously secret order. Howell last week had turned away media requests to make public some of the still-secret grand jury proceedings around claims of executive privilege raised by former President Trump.

Perry’s phone was seized by the FBI back in August. So we’re now six months into the legal battle over accessing its contents, just one of many threads of the investigation into the 2020 election subversion effort.

Fight over Rep. Perry’s phone has prevented review of 2,200 documents in Jan. 6 probe

Six months after the FBI seized Perry’s phone, a U.S. appeals court is reviewing a judge’s order that 90 percent of Perry’s messages fall outside the congressman’s immunity from criminal investigation

https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2023/02/25/perry-phone-records-judge-jan6/

[Excerpts:]

“What is plain is that the Clause does not shield Rep. Perry’s random musings with private individuals touting an expertise in cybersecurity or political discussions with attorneys from a presidential campaign, or with state legislators concerning hearings before them about possible local election fraud or actions they could take to challenge election results in Pennsylvania,” Howell wrote.

Perry is a key figure who sought to help Trump replace the attorney general after the 2020 election with former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark and get the Justice Department to reverse its finding that Joe Biden had been elected fairly, according to the House committee that investigated the Jan. 6, 2021, attack by Trump supporters on the U.S. Capitol.

The Justice Department has separately prioritized and obtained access to 37 emails between Perry and Trump-connected lawyers John Eastman, who pushed false claims of mass electoral fraud in 2020, Clark and aide Ken Klukowski, as well as 331 documents from Clark about his Jan. 6 role, according to the filings.

In Thursday’s oral arguments, two members of a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit challenged the line drawn by the Justice Department and Howell distinguishing between a lawmaker’s work in formally sanctioned congressional investigations and Perry’s “informal legislative fact-finding.”

Howell warned that accepting Perry’s “astonishing view” that the lawmakers are protected not only from questioning but also from even disclosing records in the first place would turn members of Congress into “supercitizens” — immune from investigative scrutiny, criminal or civil liability and political accountability.

Howell similarly rejected Perry’s bid to shield 930 messages involving executive branch officials, finding it “ironic” that Perry would turn the Constitution’s intended protection of lawmakers from executive branch interference in legislative matters “on its head.”

By contrast, the judge wrote, Perry’s “multipronged” and “proactive, persistent and protracted” efforts to push executive branch officials to take more aggressive action over the 2020 election “demonstrated that he welcomed, rather than resisted, and indeed often initiated these communications.”

In a Jan. 4 decision, Howell refused to stay her order pending appeal. “None of Rep. Perry’s alternative considerations outweigh the government and the public’s interest in an expedi[tious] investigation,” the judge wrote, after she earlier warned Perry against continuing to “slow-walk” litigation.

Perry, who has not been charged, has said through a spokesperson that he is considered a witness, not a subject, in the investigation.

Rep. Scott Perry played key role in promoting false claims of fraud

 

Final Report of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol

Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union and ordered to be printed.

December 22, 2022.

https://www.govinfo.gov/collection/january-6th-committee-final-report?path=/gpo/January%206th%20Committee%20Final%20Report%20and%20Supporting%20Materials%20Collection/Final%20Report/GPO-J6-REPORT

[Excerpt:]

The Select Committee has implicated Perry, an election denier, as a participant in President Trump’s multi-part plan (1) to corruptly pressure Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to count electoral votes during Congress’s joint session on January 6th; (2) to corrupt the U.S. Department of Justice by attempting to enlist Department officials to make purposely false statements and thereby aid his effort his effort to overturn the Presidential election;  (3) to offer the position of Acting Attorney General to Jeff Clark knowing that Clark intended to disseminate false information aimed at overturning the election; (4) to unlawfully pressure State and legislators to change the results of the election in their States; (5) to obtain and transmit false electoral certificates to Congress and the National Archives; and (6) to pressure Members of Congress to object to valid slates of electors from several states.

The Select Committee has also referred Leader McCarthy and Representatives Jordan, Perry and Biggs for sanction by the House Ethics Committee for failure to comply with subpoenas.  The Committee also believes that each of these individuals, along with other Members who attended the December 21 planning meeting with President Trump at the White House, should be questioned in a public forum about their advance knowledge of and role in President Trump’s plan to prevent the peaceful transition of power. [Boldface added]

 

“Seizure of Congressman’s Phone Is Latest Sign of Escalating Election Inquiry”

NYT:

The F.B.I.’s seizure of Representative Scott Perry’s phone this week was at least the third major action in recent months taken in connection with an escalating federal investigation into efforts by several close allies of former President Donald J. Trump to overturn the 2020 election, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The inquiry, which was begun last year by the Justice Department’s inspector general’s office, has already ensnared Jeffrey Clark, a former department official whom Mr. Trump wanted to install atop the agency to help him press his baseless claims of election fraud, and John Eastman, an outside lawyer who advised Mr. Trump on brazen proposals to overturn the vote result.

In June, federal agents acting on search warrants from the inspector general’s office seized phones and other electronic devices from Mr. Clark and Mr. Eastman. That same tactic was used on Tuesday to seize the phone of Mr. Perry, a Republican of Pennsylvania.

While the inspector general’s office had initial jurisdiction in the probe because Mr. Clark was an employee of the department, there have been signs in recent days that the investigation is increasingly being run by prosecutors from the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington.

One of those prosecutors, Thomas P. Windom, is in charge of a broad investigation of a plan by Mr. Trump and his allies to create fake slates of electors to the Electoral College in states that were actually won by Joseph R. Biden Jr.

It remains unclear exactly how — or even if — the inquiry into Mr. Perry, Mr. Clark and Mr. Eastman is entwined with the broader investigation. In that inquiry, prosecutors are seeking to determine whether a group of Mr. Trump’s lawyers and several of his allies in state legislatures and state Republican parties broke the law by creating pro-Trump slates of electors in states he did not win and later by using them to disrupt a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, 2021, where the final results of the election were certified.

Mr. Clark, Mr. Eastman and Mr. Perry all played roles in the effort to keep Mr. Trump in office, according to extensive evidence gathered by the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House select committee that is looking into the events of Jan. 6. The men also each had direct dealings with Mr. Trump, meaning the inquiry could ultimately lead to the former president.

At a series of public hearings, the House committee showed, for instance, how Mr. Eastman, a constitutional scholar, was one of the chief architects of the fake elector plan, advising Mr. Trump on its viability and encouraging lawmakers in some key swing states to go along with it….

Mr. Perry was instrumental in pushing Mr. Trump to appoint Mr. Clark as his acting attorney general over the objections of several other top officials at the Justice Department. At one of its presentations, the House committee released text messages in which Mr. Perry repeatedly pressured Mark Meadows, then Mr. Trump’s chief of staff, to reach out to Mr. Clark.

The House committee issued a subpoena to Mr. Perry in May, but he declined to comply with it. Mr. Clark and Mr. Eastman were also subpoenaed by the committee and repeatedly invoked their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.

On Wednesday, after Mr. Perry received his phone back from investigators, prosecutors told him that he was a witness in, not a subject of, their inquiry, according to one of his lawyers, John Irving.

 

Who is Scott Perry, Trump ally and lawmaker whose phone was seized by FBI?

Updated August 10, 2022; Published August 10, 2022 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/08/10/scott-perry-trump-fbi-phone-explainer/

After the FBI seized the cellphone of Rep. Scott Perry, a Republican congressman from Pennsylvania who boosted former president Donald Trump’s baseless election fraud claims, all eyes are on the latest Trump ally to face scrutiny by federal law enforcement.

Perry’s cellphone was seized Tuesday as part of the Justice Department’s criminal investigation into the use of fake electors to try to overturn President Biden’s victory, according to a person familiar with the probe, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the phone seizure.

Perry is the first member of Congress known to have his phone seized as part of the Justice Department’s investigation into last year’s attempt at the U.S. Capitol to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Perry did not say why investigators confiscated his phone and wrote in a statement Monday that the contents of his phone are not the “government’s business.”

While Perry called his phone’s seizure and the FBI’s Monday search of Trump’s personal safe at his Mar-a-Lago home “banana republic tactics” and the work of an overaggressive Justice Department, Republican members of Congress were also subject to FBI search and seizures in the Trump era. Federal investigators seized the cellphone of Sen. Richard Burr (N.C.) in 2020 as they investigated stock trades he made before the coronavirus pandemic briefly sent the market crashing.

Rep. Scott Perry says the FBI seized his phone while he was traveling

Perry, a five-term congressman who last fall became chair of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, is known both for his vigorous support of Trump and for his history of promoting baseless conspiracies on issues that range from terrorism to the coronavirus to the murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich.

Long before embracing Trump’s false election claims, Rep. Scott Perry promoted groundless theories

For months, Perry has been on the radar of the House select committee investigating the Capitol riot. Last December, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), the chairman of the committee, sent Perry a letter requesting information on his effort to help install a little-known Justice Department official named Jeffrey Clark in the role of acting attorney general. The committee in July detailed the plan that involved Trump ousting then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and replacing him with Clark, who would then use his power to encourage key states won by Joe Biden to send in alternate slates of pro-Trump electors.

A report by the select committee determined Perry introduced Clark to Trump; it also cited evidence that Perry repeatedly communicated with Mark Meadows, Trump’s former chief of staff, about Clark.

Perry quickly rejected the committee’s request to provide communications and voluntary testimony.

This exhibit from video released by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, shows texts between former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows and Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) displayed at a hearing on June 23. Perry says his cellphone was seized on Aug. 9 by FBI agents carrying a search warrant. The circumstances surrounding the seizure were not immediately known. (AP)

The 60-year-old congressman, who now represents Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District, resisted calls for his resignation after reports of his involvement in efforts to overturn the election results — including his public objection to Congress counting Pennsylvania’s electoral votes for Biden.

“When votes are accepted under unconstitutional means, without fair and equal protection for all, the only result can only be an illegitimate outcome,” Perry said on the House floor after the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Perry not only embraced Trump’s false claim that the 2020 election was fraudulent but promoted some of the more outlandish claims — including one that a former Justice Department official called “pure insanity.”

The Washington Post previously reported that Perry “was at the heart” of bringing to Trump’s attention the so-called “Italygate” conspiracy, which claimed an Italian defense contractor conspired with the CIA to use military satellites to change votes for Trump to ones for Biden.

“Why can’t we just work with the Italian government?” Perry asked in a Dec. 21, 2020, text message to Meadows, according to the Jan. 6 committee.

Richard Donoghue, the former deputy to Rosen when he was acting attorney general, called the theory “pure insanity” and “patently absurd.”

Perry’s diligent efforts on Trump’s behalf also include allegedly seeking a preemptive pardon in case of any criminal liability stemming from his efforts to overturn the election. During testimony before the House select committee in June, Cassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to Meadows, testified that Perry was among five Republican lawmakers who advanced Trump’s stolen election claim and also sought pardons.

Perry has denied he sought a pardon, issuing a statement after Hutchinson’s testimony saying, “I never sought a Presidential pardon for myself or other Members of Congress.”

Hutchinson testified that Perry spoke to her directly about a pardon, which Perry also denied.

“At no time did I speak with Miss Hutchinson, a White House scheduler, nor any White House staff about a pardon for myself or any other Member of Congress — this never happened,” Perry said in June.

Perry has spent 15 years representing Pennsylvania, first as a state legislator and then as a congressman in a career that for several years overlapped with his service with the state’s Army National Guard. He also serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and Foreign Affairs Committee, according to his official House biography.

Perry has consistently voted with some of Congress’s most far-right members, opposing Trump’s impeachment, the Violence Against Women Act and the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act aimed at protecting Asian Americans who faced a surge in attacks during the coronavirus pandemic. But the congressman has on occasion broken with those conventions, including his recent vote in favor of the Respect for Marriage Act, which would federally protect same-sex and interracial marriage.

Perry faces reelection in November, two years after he was redistricted into Pennsylvania’s more competitive 10th Congressional District, which includes Hershey, Pa.

If Republicans are successful in taking control of the House after the midterm elections, the Freedom Caucus, which Perry now leads, is expected to have a significant role in selecting the next House speaker.

Devlin Barrett and Perry Stein contributed to this report.

 

Letters from an American

[Excerpt:]

This afternoon, Representative Scott Perry (R-PA) said the FBI has confiscated his phone after presenting him with a search warrant.

Perry was deeply involved in the attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election. He connected former president Trump with Jeffrey Clark, the environmental lawyer for the Department of Justice (DOJ) who supported Trump’s claims and who would have become acting attorney general if the leadership of the DOJ hadn’t threatened to resign as a group if Trump appointed him.

Cassidy Hutchinson, former top aide to Trump’s White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, told the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol that Meadows burned papers after a meeting with Perry.

The DOJ searched Clark’s home in June. On the same day, it seized the phone of John Eastman, the author of the memo laying out a plan for then–vice president Mike Pence to refuse to count presidential electors for Democratic candidate Joe Biden and thus throw the election to Trump.

Eastman sued to get his phone back and to force the government to destroy any information agents had taken from it; the Department of Justice says the phone was obtained legally and that purging it would be “unprecedented” and “would cause substantial detriment to the investigation, as well as seriously impede any grand jury’s use of the seized material in a future charging decision.” A court hearing on the matter is scheduled for early September.

 

The insurrectionists’ clubhouse: Former Trump aides find a home at a little-known MAGA hub

Nearly two dozen alleged members of the Jan. 6 plot are connected to a single Capitol Hill address.

https://www.grid.news/story/politics/2022/07/05/the-insurrectionists-clubhouse-former-trump-aides-find-a-home-at-a-little-known-maga-hub/

[Excerpts:]

The network has broad reach and keeps an eye on future elections: CPI helped found and support the election monitoring nonprofit run by ex-Trump lawyer Cleta Mitchell, along with roughly a dozen other dark money and advocacy groups, virtually all of which share the address of the CPI town house on official reporting. Mitchell did not respond to inquiries from Grid for this story.

Several of the figures of greatest interest to the Jan. 6 committee are now employed by CPI or its subsidiary groups, including:

  • Mark Meadows: Meadows, Trump’s fourth chief of staff, was allegedly a key enabler of Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. He promoted false fraud claims and was a point of contact for election-denying members of Congress, Giuliani and other key operatives. Meadows participated in pivotal meetings and conversations with state and federal officials, according to reports and the Jan. 6 committee. Meadows joined CPI as senior partner just three weeks after Jan. 6.
  • Freedom Caucus

    CPI has forged close ties to the Freedom Caucus, the far-right group of Republican House lawmakers co-founded by Meadows that was deeply involved in the events leading up to Jan. 6, according to reports and sworn testimony.

    In addition to holding meetings and recording podcasts at CPI, the group runs its PAC from its offices, documents show, and some members pay dues to the organization. CPI has spent tens of thousands of dollars taking Freedom Caucus lawmakers and their aides on trips. In February 2021, just weeks after the failed insurrection, CPI flew three dozen Freedom Caucus members to Florida for an unpublicized retreat at Miami’s Biltmore Hotel, according to congressional disclosures.

    According to testimony from Hutchinson, Meadows’ former aide, Freedom Caucus members met with Trump prior to Jan. 6 to press their belief that Vice President Mike Pence could delay the vote certification or send the matter back to individual states.

    “We have to get organized for the 6th. I would like to meet with Rudy Giuliani again. We didn’t get to speak with him long,” Freedom Caucus member Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia texted Meadows on Dec. 31, 2020. “We are getting a lot of members on board. And we need to lay out the best case for each state. I’ll be over at CPI this afternoon.”

    “On January 6, 2021, Vice President Mike Pence, as President of the Senate, should call out all electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all,” Jordan texted Meadows late on Jan. 5, messages Meadows later handed over to the committee showed.

    Four out of five Freedom Caucus members voted against certifying the 2020 election results. Several Freedom Caucus members sought pardons for their involvement in the election subversion effort, the committee has alleged. Some have denied doing so. At least four Freedom Caucus members have been subpoenaed by the committee.

    • Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania allegedly connected Trump with little-known DOJ lawyer Clark and participated in planning meetings with Trump prior to Jan. 6;  [Boldface added}
    • Founding Freedom Caucus member and former chair Rep. Jim Jordan was being contacted by Meadows from the White House on Jan. 6, according to testimony;
    • Former caucus chair Rep. Andy Biggs allegedly helped organize the rally that segued into the storming of the Capitol, and pressured Rusty Bowers, the Arizona House speaker, to decertify electors;
    • Rep. Matt Gaetz, a close associate of the Freedom Caucus, but not an official member, has been one of the former president’s most vocal supporters and has spread conspiracy theories about the “feds” being behind the Capitol riot. According to testimony, Gaetz was one of several members of Congress who requested broad pardons from Trump. Gaetz was a speaker at CPI’s 2022 leadership conference and records his podcast at CPI’s studios;
    • Jan. 6 committee testimony revealed that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene asked Trump for a pardon, but she denies this. She faced a lawsuit in her home state of Georgia where she was forced to testify on her involvement in the effort to overturn the election. She often said she couldn’t recall key moments and meetings. In its 2021 annual report, CPI listed Greene as a “Hero of 2021,” and she spoke at the organization’s 2022 leadership conference.

    Neither Perry, Jordan, Biggs, Gaetz nor Greene responded to requests for comment for this story.

These organizations employ or assist at least 20 key operatives, reportedly involved in Trump’s failed effort to subvert the 2020 election, including Mitchell, ex-Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, and former Justice Department lawyer Jeffrey Clark, who was the subject of both a recent Jan. 6 hearing and an FBI raid. And they help raise millions for Trump-aligned members of Congress — more than $38 million over the 2020 and 2022 election cycles, according to the nonprofit OpenSecrets.

“They’re frauds,” said one longtime Republican strategist who has worked for major campaigns and spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person’s job could be at risk for speaking negatively. “They claim to be fiscal conservatives, but they’ve made a living off of generating conservative outrage in order to raise money for themselves.”

CPI and its affiliates are more than just a safe harbor: The network and its employees are a continued source of false vote fraud allegations, and produce and amplify defensive messaging in conservative circles responding to the major revelations of the Jan. 6 hearings.

Cheney: Scott Perry sought pardon for role in trying to overturn 2020 election results

The new details surfaced during the Jan. 6 select committee’s first public hearing, as it launched the unveiling of its findings of a yearlong investigation into the insurrection.

Cheney says Scott Perry and other Republicans sought pardons after Jan. 6

Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, as well as multiple other Republican lawmakers, contacted the White House in the weeks after Jan. 6, 2021, to seek presidential pardons for their roles in attempting to overturn the presidential election results, the Jan. 6 select committee revealed Thursday in its prime-time hearing on the Capitol attack.

“Rep. Scott Perry … has refused to testify here,” Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), vice chair of the select committee, said as she opened its case to the American public. “As you will see, Representative Perry contacted the White House in the weeks after Jan. 6 to seek a presidential pardon. Multiple other Republican congressmen also sought presidential pardons for their roles in attempting to overturn the 2020 election”

The new details surfaced during the panel’s first public hearing, as the bipartisan committee launched the unveiling of its findings of a yearlong investigation into the insurrection. It’s the first of a string of hearings scheduled in the coming weeks that are set to paint a picture of a carefully planned and orchestrated attack on American democracy.

Perry was a major actor in then-President Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the election, connecting Trump with Jeffrey Clark, an official in the Department of Justice who supported Trump’s efforts, according to testimony and documents obtained by the committee.

Cheney on Thursday talked about how close the former president came to appointing Clark as acting attorney general, and that the former president wanted Clark to send a letter to Georgia and five other states saying that “the U.S. Department of Justice had ‘identified significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election.’”

“This letter is a lie,” Cheney said.

Perry, who is now chair of the pro-Trump House Freedom Caucus, repeatedly pushed Trump’s chief of staff at the time, Mark Meadows, to implement the plan to sow doubt in the election results.

“Mark, just checking in as time continues to count down,” Perry texted Meadows on Dec. 26, 2020, according to messages released by the select panel. “11 days to 1/6 and 25 days to inauguration. We gotta get going!”

These efforts were halted after other Justice Department leaders threatened to resign if Trump moved forward with selecting Clark as attorney general.

Perry has not complied with a subpoena for his testimony, and as POLITICO reported last week, the select committee was told that Meadows burned papers after meeting with the Republican in his office at the White House. The meeting took place in the weeks after Election Day in 2020, as Trump and his allies began seeking ways to overturn the loss against Joe Biden.

Cheney says Scott Perry and other G.O.P. House members sought pardons.

The House committee suggested it had evidence that multiple House Republicans, including Representative Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, had sought presidential pardons after the Jan. 6 riot for their efforts to challenge and overturn the 2020 election.

“Representative Perry contacted the White House in the weeks after Jan. 6 to seek a presidential pardon,” Representative Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming and the vice chairwoman of the committee, said. “Multiple other Republican congressmen also sought presidential pardons for their roles in attempting to overturn the 2020 election.”

She did not provide details regarding the basis for the assertion. In an email, Jay Ostrich, a spokesman for Mr. Perry, who has declined to testify before the committee, called the assertion “a ludicrous and soulless lie.”

While Mr. Perry is known to have played a key role in undermining the 2020 election and in Mr. Trump’s efforts to resist a peaceful transfer of power, Ms. Cheney’s comments appeared to be the first time the committee had publicly confirmed Mr. Perry’s efforts to seek a pardon.

The committee had previously said it was aware of an effort to secure a pardon, including in a letter to Representative Andy Biggs, Republican of Arizona, who they said had been identified as a “potential participant.”

Former White House staff members, the committee wrote in the letter, had “identified an effort by certain House Republicans after Jan. 6 to seek a presidential pardon for activities taken in connection with President Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.”

Committee members had said they wanted more information about the request, why it was made and what the scope of the potential pardon was. It was also unclear whether Mr. Biggs or other Republicans had directly approached Mr. Trump with the request.

Mr. Biggs, at the time the letter was sent, declined to answer questions about the potential pardons.

U.S. Rep. Perry, along with more than half of the Republicans in Pennsylvania’s Legislature and seven other Republican members of Congress from Pennsylvania, has tried in court and in Congress to block the state’s electoral votes from going to Biden.​

They have amplified unfounded tales of election fraud and irregularities. They described ballots cast by legal, eligible voters as “illegal ballots,” and distorted the actions of state election officials and judges as illegal or unconstitutional.​

Even after the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Perry and the seven other Republican congressmen from Pennsylvania not only voted against accepting state’s electoral votes for Biden, but also against Trump’s second impeachment.​

After Congress voted to accept Pennsylvania’s electoral votes for Biden, Perry issued a statement saying that he accepted the results, but still maintained that the election was tainted by “constitutional abuses.”​

Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, said Perry’s “attempt to compromise our justice system is a disgrace.”​

For months, he’s spread lies and placed his political ambitions above the will of voters and the democracy he swore to protect,” Wolf said.​

 

Scott Perry votes against awarding medal to police who defended Capitol on Jan. 6

LOGAN HULLINGER   | York Dispatch June 16, 2021

https://eu.yorkdispatch.com/story/news/local/2021/06/16/scott-perry-votes-against-awarding-medal-police-who-defended-capitol-jan-6/

U.S. Rep. Scott Perry on Tuesday joined 20 GOP colleagues to oppose awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to all police officers who defended the Capitol during the violent Jan. 6 riots.

The Carroll Township Republican’s vote, which immediately sparked backlash from political opponents and constituents alike on social media, broke with the vast majority of his party. That includes U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker, R-Lancaster, who also represents part of York County.

The final vote to award Congress’ highest civilian medal was 406-21.

Perry did not respond to requests for comment. But he told Politico reporter Melanie Zanona that the vote was “all politics, it’s all garbage.”

 

GOP Rep. Scott Perry declines January 6 committee’s request to speak with him

https://www.cnn.com/2021/12/21/politics/scott-perry-january-6-committee/index.html

(CNN) Republican Rep. Scott Perry on Tuesday declined the House January 6 committee’s request to speak with him, a move that could set up a showdown between a staunch Trump supporter and the committee.

Perry, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, was the first known lawmaker to whom the panel had reached out to talk for its investigation. His response raises the question of whether the committee will now move to subpoena a fellow House member, a step that would dramatically escalate political tensions between the panel and Republicans who have warned that targeting GOP lawmakers is a bridge too far.
“I stand with immense respect for our Constitution, the Rule of Law, and the Americans I represent who know that this entity is illegitimate, and not duly constituted under the rules of the US House of Representatives,” Perry wrote in a statement posted to Twitter. “I decline this entity’s request and will continue to fight the failures of the radical Left who desperately seek distraction from their abject failures of crushing inflation, a humiliating surrender in Afghanistan, and the horrendous crisis they created at our border.” In response, the committee condemned Perry but stopped short of saying if it would issue a subpoena to the Republican lawmaker.
“Representative Perry has information directly relevant to our investigation. While he says that he respects the Constitution and Rule of Law, he fails to note that multiple federal courts, acting pursuant to Article 3 of our Constitution, have already rejected the former President’s claims that the committee lacks an appropriate legislative purpose,” a Select Committee spokesperson said in a statement Tuesday, responding to Perry saying he would not agree to a meeting.
“The Select Committee prefers to gather relevant evidence from members cooperatively, but if members with directly relevant information decline to cooperate and instead endeavor to cover up, the Select Committee will consider seeking such information using other tools,” the spokesperson added.
The statement does not explicitly mention whether a subpoena could be coming for Perry but also does not rule out that possibility. The committee asked the congressman to speak with them voluntarily on Monday.
“At this time, the Select Committee seeks your voluntary cooperation,” wrote Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, who chairs the committee. The letter, released Monday, marks a significant step in the investigation and underscores how the panel is zeroing in on Trump’s closest allies on Capitol Hill. In the letter, the committee said it wants to discuss Perry’s attempted effort to install former Department of Justice official Jeffrey Clark as acting attorney general. “We have received evidence from multiple witnesses that you had an important role in the efforts to install Mr. Clark as acting Attorney General,” Thompson said in the letter.
Thompson added that then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and then-acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue, who have both been interviewed by the committee, “have provided evidence regarding these issues, and we have received evidence that others who worked with Mr. Clark were aware of these plans.” The committee in its letter tells Perry that Clark, whom the panel has begun criminal contempt proceedings against but has been given a second chance to come in and plead the Fifth Amendment, is aware that the committee is planning to ask him about his interactions with Perry.
The letter to Perry also states that the committee is aware of “multiple text and other communications” with Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows, including evidence that the pair communicated over the encrypted app called Signal.
Addressing Perry’s role in spreading misinformation about the 2020 presidential election directly, the committee writes in its letter that it is aware that the Pennsylvania lawmaker communicated with the White House about a variety of topics including “allegations that the Dominion voting machines had been corrupted.”
The committee proposed scheduling a meeting with Perry on either December 28, December 29, January 3, January 4 or the week of January 10, when the House returns to session. The committee also suggested this meeting could be held in Perry’s home district if that accommodation works better. In addition to an interview, the committee had also requested that Perry turn over all relevant documents and communication related to January 6.
This story has been updated with additional information.
[Boldface added]

 

Long before embracing Trump’s false election claims, Rep. Scott Perry promoted groundless theories

[Excerpts:]

Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) has been fanning false claims for years, long before his efforts to overturn the 2020 election based on former president Donald Trump’s baseless allegations drew the attention of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

In the fall of 2017, Perry claimed a former House aide to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) orchestrated “massive” data transfers that amounted to a “substantial security threat,” according to Fox News. The Pakistani American staffer, Imran Awan, was later cleared of stealing government secrets by federal prosecutors.

Around the same time, Perry suggested then-CNN host Chris Cuomo was exaggerating the lack of water and electricity in hurricane-devastated Puerto Rico. “You’re simply just making this stuff up,” Perry said. Hurricane Maria was later tied to nearly 3,000 deaths.

In January 2018, Perry speculated about an Islamic State connection to the mass shooting in Las Vegas the previous year, contradicting law enforcement’s assertion that the accused gunman was working alone. “I smell a rat like a lot of Americans,” he said.

Perry’s incendiary remarks in recent years made bold headlines that quickly faded. Now, the five-term congressman and incoming chairman of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus has drawn the scrutiny of the bipartisan House panel probing the deadly insurrection by a pro-Trump mob.

On Tuesday, Perry rebuffed the committee’s request for communications and voluntary testimony, the first significant action the panel has taken to obtain information from a sitting member of Congress.

“I stand with immense respect for our Constitution, the Rule of Law, and the Americans I represent who know that this entity is illegitimate, and not duly constituted under the rules of the U.S. House of Representatives,” Perry said in a statement. “I decline this entity’s request and will continue to fight the failures of the radical Left.”

The committee, which was established by a vote of the full House, is interested in Perry’s efforts to help install Jeffrey Clark, a Justice Department official sympathetic to Trump’s stolen-election claims, as acting attorney general. Perry introduced Clark to Trump, according to a Senate Judiciary Committee report released in October that named Clark as a key figure in the attempt to overturn the election.

The Senate report found that Perry, along with Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R), pressured top law enforcement officials to investigate the state’s 2020 election results. According to the report, Perry and Mastriano contacted Richard Donoghue, who was the Justice Department’s second-ranking official, to urge him to investigate Trump’s spurious claims of widespread voter fraud.

Donoghue told Senate investigators that during one conversation with Perry, the congressman complained “generally about the FBI” and the Awan investigation.

Perry and his office declined repeated requests Tuesday for comment from The Washington Post about that probe, as well as his record in Congress, public policy views and past public statements.

In 2017, during the investigation into Awan, Perry reached out to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, whose office was handling the probe as well as a separate investigation into the murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich. Perry raised concerns in an Aug. 11 letter to Channing D. Phillips that a federal prosecutor in his office, the brother of former DNC chairwoman Wasserman Schultz, faced potential conflicts of interest regarding the two investigations.

At the time, right-wing conspiracy theorists were casting Awan as a Pakistani government agent and Rich as the leaker of DNC documents during the 2016 campaign. Those allegations were debunked. The congresswoman’s brother had nothing to do with either investigation, which were handled by separate sections of the U.S. attorney’ office, according to a Dec. 18 response from the Justice Department’s legislative affairs office. Perry’s letter and the response became available through public records requests.

“It was kind of ludicrous. All these conspiracy theories were running around, and there was no merit to any of them,” Phillips, a Democrat and former career prosecutor who is now retired, said in an interview with The Post on Tuesday. “He had his facts wrong, that’s all I can say.”

Trump endorsed Perry in his 2018 and 2020 reelection bids, tweeting in May 2020 that Perry is “an incredible fighter for Pennsylvania.” Perry has long relied on his working-class background to rally support among his rural Pennsylvania base.

“He’s overcome a lot in life to get to Congress, and he’s not giving up, though all he does is push this extreme rhetoric,” said Democrat Eugene DePasquale, the former Pennsylvania auditor general who unsuccessfully challenged Perry in 2020 and is considering a rematch.

Perry’s record reflects his allegiance to the far right. Last year, he was among 18 House Republicans to vote against a resolution condemning QAnon, a conspiracy theory that Trump is fighting a war against a satanic, child sex trafficking ring run by the “deep state.” The FBI has labeled the online movement a potential domestic terrorist threat.

In March, Perry voted in opposition to the Violence Against Women Act, despite fellow Pennsylvania Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick being the bill’s chief Republican sponsor. Two months later, he opposed the Covid-19 Hate Crimes act, which called for protecting Asian Americans amid a rise in hate crimes during the pandemic.

Perry criticized the Biden administration’s decision to pull troops out of Afghanistan and voted against a bipartisan bill to expedite visas for Afghan refugees. He later told journalist Greta Van Susteren that allowing more Afghan refugees into the country would lead to “little girls raped and killed in the streets.”

Earlier this month, Perry baselessly accused Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), one of three Muslim members of Congress and the co-sponsor of a bill to combat Islamophobia abroad, of sympathizing with terrorists.

Throughout the pandemic, Perry has questioned the efficacy of masks and vaccines. He has declined to respond to questions about whether he has been vaccinated against the coronavirus. He tested positive for it last month and said his symptoms were “quite mild.”

“This government is saying you’ll inject something into your body whether you want to or not,” Perry said at a news conference at the Capitol in July. “That’s the definition of tyranny.”

During the Jan. 6 attack, as lawmakers hunkered down in a room keeping them safe from the rioters descending on the Capitol, Perry was among a group of Republicans who refused to wear masks, according to video posted by Punchbowl News.

In January, Perry’s profile will rise even higher when he becomes the leader of the House Freedom Caucus, a group formed in 2015 by conservative Republicans frustrated with GOP leaders for compromising with Democrats. Members of the caucus include Reps. Paul A. Gosar (Ariz.) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) — both of whom have endorsed Trump’s groundless theories of election fraud.

If Republicans take control of the House in next year’s midterm elections, the Freedom Caucus could have a key role in picking the next House speaker.

Perry currently serves on the House Foreign Affairs and Transportation and Infrastructure committees.

During his first three campaigns for Congress, Perry handily won his solidly Republican district in central Pennsylvania. In 2018, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court reconfigured the state’s congressional districts, setting new boundaries for Perry’s seat with more Democratic areas. Perry defeated DePasquale by just 6.6 percentage points in 2020.

Perry also faces a potential reelection challenge from Brian Allen, a former Republican who said he left the party because it embraced Trump’s baseless accusations of a rigged election.

“There’s been a drip, drip, drip of information on Perry and how intimately he was involved in trying to overthrow the election,” DePasquale said in an interview Tuesday. “For the Jan. 6 committee to take this step and seek an interview with a sitting member of Congress means they feel it is serious.”

According to the Senate Judiciary report authored by the Democratic majority, Perry was one of the first Republicans to cast doubt on the 2020 election, saying four days after the vote that “legal votes will determine who is POTUS, not the news media.” Perry led the objection to counting Pennsylvania’s electoral votes on the House floor in the hours immediately following the Jan. 6 insurrection. Republicans on Senate panel offered counterfindings, arguing that Trump did not subvert the justice system to remain in power.

“The review of what happened in 2020 is legitimate, and Scott Perry is obviously a leader,” said former Pennsylvania Republican Party chairman Rob Gleason. “I stand by the fact that there are still a lot of concerns about the election.”

According to a Monday letter by Jan. 6 committee chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), Perry communicated with Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows about Clark, the official who sought to use Justice Department resources to support Trump’s false claims of massive voting fraud. People familiar with documents Meadows turned in to the committee say it was Perry who flagged the chief of staff about his encrypted messages. Perry has denied sending the “Please check your Signal” text to Meadows.

“Representative Perry has information directly relevant to our investigation,” a committee spokesman said Tuesday, adding that the committee would consider “other tools” to get evidence from members who decline to cooperate voluntarily. One week ago, the committee voted to hold Meadows in contempt for defying a subpoena.

Perry acknowledged that he had introduced Trump to Clark in a January statement in which he said he had worked with the Justice Department official in the Civil Division on “various legislative matters.” Perry also said: “When President Trump asked if I would make an introduction to Clark, I obliged.”

 

Letters from an American, Heather Scott Richardson

January 11, 2022

The United States came perilously close to losing its democracy in 2020, when an incumbent president refused to accept the results of an election he lost and worked with supporters to declare himself the winner and remain in power.

We are learning more about how that process happened.

Yesterday, the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol revealed that it has been looking at attempts to overturn the election not just at the national level but also at the state level. It has gathered thousands of records and interviewed a number of witnesses to see what Trump and his loyalists did to overturn the 2020 election in the four crucial states of Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

In those states, officials generally tried to ignore the pressure from Trump and his loyalists to overturn the election. In Georgia, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, was uncomfortable enough with a call from South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham on the subject that he recorded a call in which Trump urged him to “find” the votes Trump needed to win the state.

In Pennsylvania, right-wing Republican Representative Scott Perry tried to throw out Pennsylvania’s votes for Biden and to replace Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen (who took over when Attorney General William Barr resigned on December 23) with Jeffrey Clark, a Justice Department lawyer who promised to challenge the election results. [Boldface added].

But it turns out there was more. We knew that Trump supporters in Wisconsin had submitted fake election certificates to the National Archivist, but yesterday, public records requests by Politico revealed that Trump loyalists in Michigan and Arizona also submitted false certificates to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) declaring Trump the winner of Michigan’s and Arizona’s electoral votes. In Arizona, they actually affixed the state seal to their papers. NARA rejected the false certificates and alerted the secretaries of state. (Shout-out here to the NARA archivists and librarians, who are scrupulous in their roles as the keepers of our national history.)

 

With more nays, Scott Perry fails his district again

York Dispatch editorial board

Even though he represents half of York County, we don’t think his far-right views accurately reflect the opinions of the people he is supposed to represent.

In fact, we have called for his resignation at least three times since Jan. 6, 2021, when he made a motion to disenfranchise all Pennsylvania voters in the 2020 presidential election over the former president’s baseless claims of election fraud.

But just when we think he can’t lower the bar any further, he digs a deeper hole.

On Wednesday, Perry, R-Carroll Township, was one of seven House Republicans to vote against a bill to collect and preserve evidence of war crimes committed by Russian troops in Ukraine. He was joined by such luminaries as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, of Georgia, and Rep. Paul Gosar, of Arizona, both of whom have recently been linked to events organized by white nationalists. 

Rep. Liz Cheney, of Wyoming, is also listed as a nay vote, but she has said that was a mistake and is filing a statement with the Clerk of the House to say she intended to vote yea.

Perry’s vote on Wednesday followed his vote on Tuesday against a resolution “to uphold the founding democratic principles of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.”

Perry was one of 63 Republicans to oppose that symbolic gesture of support for NATO, not surprising considering that in 2019 he was one of 22 House Republicans to vote nay on a bill to prohibit the use of funds to withdraw the United States from NATO, a group the Washington Post refers to as “a who’s who of the most extreme members of the party.”

These votes are taking place as more and more evidence comes from Ukraine that Russian troops targeted civilians for torture and death, as photographs of lifeless bodies with their hands bound and images of half-buried corpses and piles of body bags flow through all forms of media.

Ukraine and NATO both need the support of the United States right now as they face down Russian President Vladimir Putin and his thugs. Also, just a reminder, the only time NATO’s Article 5, offering collective defense when any member is attacked, has been invoked was after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. We should not turn our back on allies who have stood up for us.

Scott Perry talks a good game on his Twitter feed, calling for prayers for the people of Ukraine and praising a speech to Congress from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. But when it comes to a vote, it’s a nay, without an explanation. 

We believe that the majority of Perry’s constituents want to see evidence of war crimes by Russian troops preserved and want the U.S. to continue to support NATO. We believe that the people of the 10th District are horrified by the Russian aggression into the sovereign, democratic nation of Ukraine and by the death and devastation left behind as Russia retreats after encountering far more resistance than it expected from the Ukrainian military.

We also believe that a representative in Congress should represent the views of the people in his district. Scott Perry, in appealing to the farthest fringes of his party on every front, fails to do this.

 

New details show extent of GOP effort to unwind Trump’s loss

Documents and texts stemming from the House investigation into Jan. 6, 2021, offer new details about the extent House Republicans, particularly members of the Freedom Caucus, were involved in plans to unwind the 2020 election — even as lawyers at the White House warned them their proposals could be illegal.

The content — released in the committee’s court battle against Mark Meadows and in a trove of texts to the former chief of staff obtained by CNN — outlines a lengthy list of Republicans involved in conversations with the White House about planning for the rallies on Jan. 6 and efforts to oppose the certification of votes that day.

Taken together, the messages show how early the White House reached out to lawmakers in its effort to keep former President Trump in office.

They also show a consistent effort by various members to strategize over how to keep Trump in office after his election loss.

That effort ranged from selecting alternate slates of electors from swing states ahead of the Electoral College vote to directing the crowd to the Capitol after the Jan. 6 rallies to discussing the possibility that Trump declare martial law days before he was set to leave office. 

Testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, a former special assistant to the president and Meadows, relays that Meadows, a former Freedom Caucus chairman, was the one to make “outreach” to members of the conservative caucus, including then-Rep-elects. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) and Reps. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).

Hutchinson identified those four as being involved in the earliest stages of efforts to unwind the election.

Texts to Meadows as early as three days after Election Day 2020 show lawmakers rallying around the idea of alternate electors.

“I’m sure you have heard of this proposal,” Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) texted to Meadows on Nov. 6. “Is anybody on the team researching and considering lobbying for that?”

As early as the first or second week of December, the White House’s own counsel was pushing back against the idea.

“Hey, this isn’t legally sound, we have fleshed this out internally, it’s fine that you think this but we’re not going to entertain this in an official White House capacity on behalf of the President, we’re putting a stop to this,” Hutchinson characterized the White House Counsel’s Office as saying.

That message was relayed to at least Perry, Jordan, and Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), according to Hutchinson.

By Dec. 21, a larger group was meeting at the White House with Trump campaign attorney Rudy Giuliani, where the focus had shifted to the ways former Vice President Mike Pence could buck his ceremonial duty to certify the election results.

That group attending that meeting included Jordan, Brooks, Biggs, Gaetz, Greene, Gohmert, Perry, and Reps. Jody Hice (R-Ga.), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.), Hutchinson said.

“They felt that he had the authority to — pardon me if my phrasing isn’t correct on this, but — send votes back to the States or the electors back to the States, more along the lines of the Eastman theory,” Hutchinson said, referring to John Eastman, who crafted two memos for the Trump campaign outlining how to challenge the election.

“I don’t recall anybody speaking out and definitively expressing disagreement with that theory,” she said of the lawmakers, adding that “the vice president’s team appeared slightly skeptical.” 

Later that day, Brooks suggested to Meadows they try to frame the meeting as being both positive and productive after being contacted by reporters.

“Media is contacting my office about this afternoon’s White House meeting regarding formulation of our January 6 strategies,” Brooks wrote to Meadows. “Does the White House want me to reply or be mum? Also, it is one thing to discuss (in general terms) our meeting beforehand. It is another to discuss afterwards.

“If you believe discussion is a positive, I suggest message should be: 1. Progress is being made. 2. More are joining our fight. 3. We can’t allow voter fraud & election theft occur if we are going to be a republic. Your choice. Let me know,” he concluded.

About a week after the meeting, Greene complained to Meadows they didn’t get enough time to chat with Giuliani about the strategy.

“We have to get organized for the 6th. I would like to meet with Rudy Giuliani again. We didn’t get to speak with him long. Also anyone who can help. We are getting a lot of members on board. And we need to lay out the best case for each state,” she texted Meadows on New Year’s Eve.

While lawmakers were coordinating with the legal team through the White House, Perry was involved with Trump’s pressure campaign at the Department of Justice (DOJ), texting Meadows on both Dec. 26 and Dec. 28 to encourage him to make contact with Jeffrey Clark. Trump would later weigh installing Clark, a mid-level DOJ official who primarily worked on environmental issues, as acting attorney general in order to forward investigations into his baseless election fraud claims.

But new testimony released by the committee shows DOJ staff pushed back as Clark tried to get a memo directly to Pence to encourage him to not certify the election results on Jan. 6.

“Mr. Clark suggested that OLC provide a legal opinion to the Vice President with respect to his authority when it comes to opening the votes as the President of the Senate on Jan. 6,” Steven Engel, who served as assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel at DOJ under Trump, told the committee.

“And I shot down that idea, but I said — I said: That’s an absurd idea. The — you know, the Vice President is acting as the President of the Senate. It is not the role of the Department of Justice to provide legislative officials with legal advice on the scope of their duties. And — you know, and — not to mention it was 3 days from the date. OLC doesn’t tend to provide the legal opinions, you know, in those cases, you know, in that short timeframe,” he added.

As Jan. 6 neared, lawmakers were once again coordinating with the White House about preparations for the day, including a discussion over whether to actively encourage rallygoers to march to the Capitol.

“I remember Mr. Perry had said that he had been starting to put tweets that night, Congressman Perry, that he was going to start putting out tweets that night, and he was a primary participant in the call,” Hutchinson said.

“I don’t think there’s a participant on the call that had necessarily discouraged the idea,” she added. “I don’t recall every single participant on the call that night, but I do recall it was a Freedom Caucus call.”

Gaetz would also go on to advertise on Jan. 5 during an appearance on Fox News that there could be “tens of thousands of people potentially marching in the streets in Washington, D.C., tomorrow.”

The same two troves show many GOP lawmakers would text Meadows as the chaos was unfolding at the Capitol, with some pleading for the chief of staff to get Trump to take action.

And other prior reporting shows that some Republicans who were initially involved eventually backed away from White House efforts amid their own doubts.

Still, another text from Greene just days before President Biden’s inauguration shows Greene — and evidently other members — were hopeful Trump might still try to resist any effort to swear in a new president and provide lawmakers tools to go after the new president.

 “In our private chat with only Members, several are saying the only way to save our Republic is for Trump to call for Marshall law. I don’t know on those things. I just wanted you to tell him,” she texted Meadows on Jan. 17.

“They stole this election. We all know. They will destroy our country next. Please tell him to declassify as much as possible so we can go after Biden and anyone else!” she added.

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Jan. 6 committee subpoenas five House Republicans, including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy

The committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob has subpoenaed five Republican members of Congress, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), after they refused to cooperate with the panel’s inquiry.

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), who chairs the select committee, said Thursday that the panel has subpoenaed McCarthy and Reps. Mo Brooks (Ala.), Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Scott Perry (Pa.) and Jim Jordan (Ohio).

The move marks a significant escalation in the committee’s efforts to obtain information related to lawmakers’ communications with then-President Donald Trump and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows before, during and after the attack.

They Insisted the 2020 Election Was Tainted. Their 2022 Primary Wins? Not So Much.

Republicans are accepting their primary victories with little concern about the voter fraud they once falsely claimed caused Donald J. Trump’s loss.

[Excerpts:]
Now, many of those Republicans are accepting the results of their primaries without complaint. Already this year, 55 of the lawmakers who objected in 2020 have run in competitive primaries, contests conducted largely under the same rules and regulations as those in 2020. None have raised doubts about vote counts, even as Mr. Trump has begun to spread unfounded claims. No conspiracy theories about mail ballots have surfaced. And no one has called for a “forensic audit” or further investigations of the 2022 primary results.

Most Republicans’ easy acceptance of a voting system they once slammed as broken exposes a fundamental contradiction in their complaints about the 2020 election. Claims about fraud and stolen elections are often situational — used in some races (against Democrats) but not others (against other Republicans), and to challenge some outcomes (losing) but not others (winning).

This phenomenon was on clear display in 2020, when scores of Republicans who repeated allegations about a “rigged” presidential race accepted their own victories based on the same ballots.

But the lack of discussion about fraud in this year’s primaries highlights a particular strain of partisanship driving many of the myths about stolen elections.

Noncitizens do not vote in federal elections in significant numbers, in Alabama or elsewhere, according to a 2020 report from the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank. Investigators from both parties have unearthed only minuscule numbers of any type of voter fraud. In recent years, the rare instances of broad fraud schemes that have become public have been engineered by Republicans, including an absentee ballot scheme in North Carolina that led the state’s Board of Elections to order a redo of a House race in 2018.

Not all Republicans who spread false claims about the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election considered their own races to be exempt. Some said that “fraud existed” in their own elections and that investigations were needed. Still, they accepted their victories.

We don’t know how much fraud exists or existed because we weren’t able to see,” Representative Scott Perry of Pennsylvania told a local CBS affiliate a week after the 2020 election. Mr. Perry focused on Philadelphia as a source for fraud in the presidential race and called for additional review. He also said he was “humbled” to take his seat in the House.

In the Pennsylvania primaries last week, Mr. Perry ran for re-election unopposed. He did not respond to messages left on his cellphone, and his campaign did not return requests for comment.

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Part of the reason Republican candidates are accepting primary results without talking about fraud is they don’t have Democrats to blame, said Trey Grayson, the former Republican secretary of state in Kentucky.

“They’re thinking it’s a primary, it’s our side. We didn’t lose to somebody on the other side who is evil, who’s going to change policy more dramatically,” Mr. Grayson said in an interview. “There’s a tribal, ‘my side’s always right, your side is always wrong. We’re not stealing elections, your side is stealing elections.’”

” . . . power does make a man master of himself if he is imprisoned by the indissoluble chains of wicked lusts; and when high office is bestowed on unworthy men, so far from making them worthy, it only betrays them and reveals their unworthiness.”

— Anticus Boethius, Roman philosopher