GOP Rep. Scott Perry Won't Work With Jan. 6 Panel, Prompts Possible Conflict Within House

Pennsylvania Representative Scott Perry has announced that he will not talk with the House panel investigating the January 6 Capitol insurrection.

Perry was the first House lawmaker that the panel has reached out to in regards to their investigation. According to chairman Representative Bennie Thompson, the panel received evidence from a variety of close sources that the Republican lawmaker had "an important role" in installing Jeffrey Clark as the nation's attorney general.

However, Perry went to Twitter to reveal that he is refusing, citing other national crises in the process, according to CNN.

"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," said Perry in his statement. "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."

The refusal of Perry's cooperation could now present a difficult problem within the House committee. The representative serves on the House of Representatives along with the other lawmakers on the panel. Although they could subpoena Perry, such a move could escalate tensions dramatically between the panel and Republicans in the House.

"Members of Congress who may have been involved are not entitled to any special treatment," government ethics analyst Norman Eisen told Newsweek. "Accordingly, the committee is doing the right thing to pursue Congressman Perry's evidence."

Eisen doesn't think it's surprising that Perry does not want to cooperate, as he was allegedly cited in the House report over 20 times. However, he thinks that a subpoena would ultimately be useful, despite the potential controversy.

"While these decisions are for the committee to make," he explained, "if they do decide to subpoena him, they would be well within their rights."

Scott Perry
The committee investigating the January 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection has requested an interview with Representative Scott Perry, who is refusing. Above, Perry takes a question from a reporter at a news conference held by the House Freedom Caucus on Capitol Hill in Washington on August 23, 2021. AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades, File

Also in the letter, Thompson added that while the panel "has tremendous respect for the prerogatives of Congress and the privacy of its Members," it also has "a solemn responsibility to investigate fully all of these facts and circumstances."

The committee has also asked for any documents and correspondence between Perry and Trump, his legal team or anyone involved in the planning of January 6 events.

The lawmaker, representing Pennsylvania's 10th District, was cited more than 50 times in a Senate Judiciary report released in October outlining how Trump's effort to overturn his election defeat to Joe Biden brought the Justice Department to the brink of chaos and prompted top officials there and at the White House to threaten to resign.

Perry, who has continuously disputed the validity of Biden's victory in Pennsylvania, has said he obliged Trump's request for an introduction to Clark, then an assistant attorney general whom Perry knew from unrelated legislative matters. The three men went on to discuss their shared concerns about the election, Perry has said.

The Justice Department found no evidence of widespread fraud in Pennsylvania or any other state, and senior Justice officials dismissed Perry's claims.

The recent Senate report outlined a call Perry made to Donoghue last December to say the department wasn't doing its job with respect to the elections. Perry encouraged Donoghue to elicit Clark's help because he's "the kind of guy who could really get in there and do something about this," the report said.

Perry has said his "official communications" with Justice Department officials were consistent with the law.

The panel voted in November to hold Clark in contempt after he showed up for a deposition yet declined to answer questions. But Thompson has said he will hold off pursuing the charges and allow Clark to attend another deposition and try again. Clark's lawyer has said Clark intends to assert his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself, but the deposition has been repeatedly postponed as Clark has dealt with an unidentified medical condition.

The panel has already interviewed around 300 people as it seeks to create a comprehensive record of the January 6 attack and the events leading up to it.

Trump at the time was pushing false claims of widespread voter fraud and lobbying Vice President Mike Pence and Republican members of Congress to try to overturn the count at the January 6 congressional certification. Election officials across the country, along with the courts, had repeatedly dismissed Trump's claims.

An angry mob of Trump supporters was echoing his false claims as it brutally beat Capitol police and broke into the building that day, interrupting the certification of Biden's victory.

Thompson, in his request for a meeting with Perry, wrote: "We would like to meet with you soon to discuss these topics, but we also want to accommodate your schedule."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Jan 6
The committee formed to investigate the January 6 riot has requested to interview Representative Scott Perry, but he has declined. Above, Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they storm the US Capitol in Washington, D.C., on January 6, 2021. Olivier DOULIERY/Getty Images

Editor's Picks

Newsweek cover
  • Newsweek magazine delivered to your door
  • Unlimited access to
  • Ad free experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts
Newsweek cover
  • Unlimited access to
  • Ad free experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts