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.
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