Jan 6 committee seeks testimony and docs from GOP lawmaker accused of plotting election takeover with Trump

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  • Donald Trump
    Donald Trump
    45th President of the United States
  • Scott Perry
    American politician
 (Independent)
(Independent)

The House select committee investigating the 6 January insurrection has asked Pennsylvania Representative Scott Perry to provide documents and testimony regarding his push to have former president Donald Trump install a new acting attorney general who wanted to help overturn the 2020 election.

Mr Perry, who has served in the House since 2013 and is the incoming chairman of the ultra right-wing House Freedom Caucus, was reportedly a key figure in Mr Trump’s push to enlist the Department of Justice in a scheme to install himself in the White House for a second term, against the wishes of American voters.

In a letter to Mr Perry, select committee chairman Bennie Thompson said that the committee was not seeking his cooperation through a subpoena because the committee “has tremendous respect for the prerogatives of Congress and the privacy of its Members,” but added that he and his colleagues “have a solemn responsibility to investigate fully all of these facts and circumstances”.

“We have received evidence from multiple witnesses that you had an important role in the efforts to install Mr. Clark as acting Attorney General. Acting Attorney General Rosen and acting Deputy Attorney General Donoghue have provided evidence regarding these issues, and we have received evidence that others who worked with Mr. Clark were aware of these plans. We are also aware that you had multiple text and other communications with President Trump’s former Chiefof Staff regarding Mr. Clark—and we also have evidence indicating that in that time frame you sent communications to the former Chief of Staff using the encrypted Signal app,” Mr Thompson said.

“At this time, the Select Committee seeks your voluntary cooperation in addressing each of these issues. We also ask that you provide us with all relevant electronic or other communications on these and other topics related to January 6th, including your communications with the Trump legal team, the former President himself, and others who were involved in planning the events of January 6th”.

Mr Perry is the first lawmaker to be asked to provide documents or testimony as part of the select committee’s investigation into the worst attack on the Capitol since the 1814 Burning of Washington, but committee members have said that a number of their colleagues exchanged messages with former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in the days leading up to the insurrection.

One of those members, Ohio Representative Jim Jordan, has outed himself as the sender of a text to Mr Meadows which suggested that then-vice president Mike Pence “should call out all electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all” when presiding over the quadrennial joint session of Congress at which President Joe Biden’s electoral college victory was to be certified.

Mr Jordan said last week that he merely forwarded a message from ex-Pentagon inspector general Joseph Schmitz, and accused committee members of doctoring his message for presentation on the House floor.

Democratic lawmakers have called for the investigation to consider whether some of their GOP colleagues gave tours to riot participants in the days leading up to 6 January.

In a 13 January letter to the then-acting House and Senate sergeants-at-arms and the chief of the Capitol Police, Representative Mickie Sherill and 30 other Democratic members asked for an “immediate investigation into the suspicious behavior and access given to visitors to the Capitol Complex on Tuesday, January 5, 2021 - the day before the attacks on the Capitol”.

The members wrote that many of the visitors who were given tours that day “appeared to be associated with the rally at the White House the following day,” and noted that many of those who attacked their workplace “seemed to have an unusually detailed knowledge of the layout of the Capitol Complex”.

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