Jan. 6 panel requests records and interview from Rep. Scott Perry

WASHINGTON (AP), -- Monday's House panel inquiry into the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol Insurrection demanded documents and an interview from Republican Rep. Scott Perry, Pennsylvania. This was the first time that the committee has publicly requested to meet with a sitting member.

Jan. 6 panel requests records and interview from Rep. Scott Perry

This latest request marks a new stage for the lawmakers on this committee. They have so far been hesitant to reach out to one another as they investigate the insurrection led by Donald Trump's supporters, and his attempts to overturn the election. Perry and other Republican congressmen met with Trump before the attack began and discussed ways they could stop the Jan. 6 electoral vote.

Bennie Thompson, a Democratic chairman of the panel, wrote to Perry stating that the panel had received evidence form multiple witnesses, including Jeffrey Rosen, then-acting Attorney general, and Richard Donoghue at the time, that Perry played "an important part" in the efforts to have Jeffrey Clark appointed acting attorney general.

According to investigators, the letter asks for an interview with Perry. Perry was a key figure in pushing the Justice Department to reverse the election and met with Trump before the attack. The panel requested any correspondence and documents between Perry and Trump or his legal team, as well as anyone else involved in planning the Jan. 6 events.

Perry's office did not respond to a request for comment.

In a Senate Judiciary Report released in October, the lawmaker from Pennsylvania's 10th District was mentioned more than 50 times. It explained how Trump's attempt to reverse his 2020 election loss brought down the Justice Department and led to top White House officials threatening to resign.

Perry has repeatedly questioned the legitimacy of President Joe Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania. He has stated that he accepted Trump's request to introduce Clark, an assistant attorney general who Perry had known from other legislative matters. Perry claims that the three men discussed their concerns about the election.

Perry's claims were dismissed by senior Justice officials after the Justice Department failed to find any evidence of widespread fraud in Pennsylvania and other states.

Recent Senate reports describe a December call Perry made to Donoghue to complain that the department was not doing its job in respect to elections. According to the report, Perry encouraged Donoghue's assistance to Clark because he "is the kind of guy who could really get into there and do something about it."

Perry previously stated that his "official communications" to Justice Department officials were in compliance with the law.

Monday's letter was the first time that the panel has made public a request for information to another member of Congress in its investigation into Trump's communications with Republican allies. The panel did not subpoena Perry because it had other witnesses who are close to Trump and believed they could have the relevant information.

Thompson wrote to Perry stating that the panel had "great respect" for the prerogatives and privacy of Congress Members. We have an obligation to fully investigate all these facts and situations.

After Clark refused to answer questions and showed up to a deposition, the panel voted to hold Clark in contempt. Thompson said that he would not pursue the charges against Clark and instead allow Clark to take another deposition. Clark's lawyer stated that Clark intended to invoke his Fifth Amendment right to not incriminate himself. However, the deposition was repeatedly delayed because Clark had to deal with an unidentified medical condition.

As it attempts to compile a complete record of the attack as well as the events that preceded it, the panel has already interviewed approximately 300 people.

Trump was promoting false claims of voter fraud at the time and lobbying Vice President Mike Pence, Republican members of Congress to attempt to reverse the Jan. 6 congressional certificate. Trump's claims were repeatedly rejected by election officials and courts across the country.

A mob of Trump supporters reacted to his false claims and beat Capitol police. They broke into the building that same day, disrupting Biden's victory certification.

Thompson requested a meeting with Perry and wrote: "We would love to meet with you soon in order to discuss these subjects, but we also want your schedule to work with ours."

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