Republican House member refuses to meet January 6 committee

WASHINGTON – Representative Scott Perry, a Pennsylvania Republican closely involved in former President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, said on Tuesday he was declining to meet with the House committee investigating the Jan.6 attack on Capitol Hill, joining a small group of Mr. Trump’s allies who blocked the panel.

Mr. Perry, the new chairman of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus, called the committee “illegitimate.”

“I decline the request of this entity and will continue to fight against the failures of the radical left which desperately seeks to distract itself from its abject failures of crushing inflation, a humiliating surrender in Afghanistan and the horrific crisis it created at our border, ”said Mr. Perry. wrote on Twitter.

The committee sent a letter Monday requesting testimony and documents from Mr. Perry, the first public step the panel took in an attempt to elicit information from one of the Republican members of Congress deeply involved in Mr. Perry’s efforts. Trump to stay in power.

The committee asked Mr. Perry to meet with his investigators and voluntarily hand over all “electronic or other relevant communications” related to the build-up until January 6, including his communications with Mr. Trump and his legal team as well as ‘with others involved in the planning. the January 6 rallies and congressional objections to the victory of Joseph R. Biden Jr.

To date, the panel has been reluctant to issue subpoenas for information from sitting members of Congress, citing the deference and respect that House lawmakers are supposed to show. But Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and chairman of the panel, pledged to take such action if necessary.

“Representative Perry has information directly related to our investigation,” said Tim Mulvey, spokesperson for the committee. “The select committee prefers to collect relevant evidence from members in a cooperative manner, but if members with directly relevant information refuse to cooperate and instead try to conceal, the select committee will consider seeking this information using ‘other tools. “

By refusing to meet with the committee, Mr. Perry joins a small number of witnesses who did not cooperate with the panel. More than 300 witnesses met with investigators, most of them voluntarily without having received a summons.

There have been consequences for those who refuse.

The House has twice voted to detain Mr. Trump’s allies for criminal contempt of Congress, referring those cases to federal prosecutors. A grand jury has indicted former Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon – facing charges of up to two years in prison and thousands in fines – while Mark Meadows, the House’s former chief of staff Blanche, awaiting a decision from federal prosecutors.

Mr Meadows and Mr Trump have filed a lawsuit to block the release of thousands of documents, after the former president asserted executive privilege over a wide range of documents.

Some key witnesses have opted for the tactic of invoking their self-incrimination rights to avoid answering questions. Jeffrey Clark, a Justice Department attorney who was involved in Mr. Trump’s plans to call off the election, said he would invoke the Fifth Amendment in response to questions.

John Eastman, a lawyer who wrote a memo on how to annul the election, also cited the Fifth Amendment, and a potential third witness, political agent Roger J. Stone Jr., invoked his right against the self-incrimination last week on every question asked by the committee.

Other people the committee interviewed have turned to the courts to block its subpoenas over data on their phone calls and text messages. Four witnesses involved in organizing the rally that preceded the violence – Justin Caporale, Maggie Mulvaney, Megan Powers and Tim Unes – have filed a lawsuit against Verizon, trying to prevent the company from passing cellphone data to the committee. Mr. Eastman also sued, claiming it was a “highly partisan” invasion of his privacy.

Ali Alexander, a conservative activist and rally organizer for the “Stop the Steal” movement who handed over thousands of pages of documents to the committee, accused the panel in a lawsuit of issuing “an illegal and overbroad subpoena” which violated his rights to liberty. speech and privacy.

In his lawsuit, Mr Alexander said he was in contact with Republican Republican Republican Rep. Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs of Arizona and Mo Brooks of Alabama prior to Jan.6.

“In January, Mr. Alexander organized a conference call to which members of Congress could have been present, and some were invited,” says the trial of Mr. Alexander. “He doesn’t remember who was there because there was no roll call of participants because the call was so important.”

Mr. Perry joined Mr. Gosar, Mr. Biggs and Mr. Brooks in a campaign to fight the election results.

In the weeks following the election, Mr Perry compiled a dossier of allegations of electoral fraud and coordinated a plan to attempt to replace the acting attorney general with Mr Clark. Mr. Perry also introduced Mr. Trump to Mr. Clark and communicated with Mr. Meadows through an encrypted application, Signal, the committee said.

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