The Lead

U.S. House committee outlines how U.S. Rep. Scott Perry pushed to restructure Justice Department

By: - June 23, 2022 4:48 pm

House Homeland Security Oversight and Management Efficiency Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Scott Perry makes opening remarks during a hearing on “critical canine contributions to the DHS mission’” in Washington, D.C., May 18, 2017. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Photo by Glenn Fawcett

In the days leading up to the Jan. 6, 2020, attack on the U.S. Capitol, U.S. Rep. Scott Perry pushed to restructure the Department of Justice as former President Donald Trump and his allies led efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

The U.S. House committee investigating the Capitol riot subpoenaed Perry, R-10th District, last year, citing his involvement in attempts to appoint Jeffrey Clark as acting attorney general. 

Clark, a former Justice Department official, played a role in Trump’s false claims that voter fraud in swing states, specifically Georgia, contributed to his loss against now-President Joe Biden.

Though Perry has refused to testify before the panel, he was a core focus at Thursday’s hearing, which centered on efforts to pressure the Justice Department into supporting unsubstantiated claims of election fraud.

“Mark, just checking in as time continues to count down. 11 days to [Jan. 6] and 25 days to inauguration. We gotta get going,” Perry wrote to the former president’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Dec. 26, 2020. 

He added: “Mark, you should call Jeff. I just got off the phone with him, and he explained to me why the principal deputy won’t work, especially with the FBI. They will view it as not having the authority to enforce what needs to be done.”

In a January 2021 statement to WGAL-TV in Lancaster, Perry’s office said: “Throughout the past four years, I worked with Assistant Attorney General Clark on various legislative matters. When President Trump asked if I would make an introduction, I obliged.”

The committee — citing a White House visitor log — said Perry also brought Clark to meet with Trump on Dec. 22, one day after Republicans, including Perry, met with Trump to discuss how to overturn the election.

Earlier this month, the committee said Perry later sought a presidential pardon in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 attack, a claim Perry has repeatedly denied.

“I stand by my statement that I never sought a presidential pardon for myself or other members of Congress,” he said in a statement released Thursday night. “At no time did I speak with Ms. Hutchinson, a White House scheduler, nor any White House staff about a pardon for myself or any other member of Congress. This never happened.”

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