U.S. Rep. Scott Perry speaks at the rally. A rally to “Stop the Steal” and to count every legal vote of the election is held at the Pennsylvania state Capitol in Harrisburg, November 5, 2020. Dan Gleiter | [email protected]
Midstate Congressman Scott Perry took to conservative talk radio Friday to blast the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attacks on the U.S. Capitol and, in particular, its scrutiny if his personal involvement in former President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to stay in power after his 2020 election loss to Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Perry, as has been extensively reported in the last 48 hours, was named by Rep. Liz Cheney, one of two Republicans on the mostly Democratic panel, as one of several GOP Congressmen who – Cheney said the evidence will show – made inquiries about seeking a presidential pardon for their post-election activities.
A presidential pardon is intended to wipe out a federal indictment or conviction in a case where the president feels it is warranted. Winning a preemptive pardon, as Perry would have been doing, is rare but it has been done, most famously in the case of President Gerald Ford’s 1974 pardon of his predecessor, Richard Nixon,after Nixon resigned in the midst of the Watergate scandal.
Perry denied the allegation – which Cheney suggested will be detailed at a future public hearing – by Tweet and through a spokesman as a “soulless lie” Thursday night.
But in his first extended interview since the committee’s opening public hearing the 5th-term Congressman from northern York County called the pardon story just “the latest fabrication from a sham committee… They’re abusing power to conjure up political theater to destroy their political opponents, including me, and to distract the American people from the economic and security nightmare that’s been created” since Biden took office.
Other investigations have shown Perry was heavily involved in Trump’s efforts to cling to power, and in particular with one scheme to have a Trump supporter, Jeffrey Clark, installed as acting Attorney General, where Clark would then use the authority of the U.S. Department of Justice to lobby legislatures in several key swing states to decertify their 2020 presidential election results.
The proposed letters would have been sent in contradiction to other Justice findings that there had been no widespread fraud in the national election. Trump backed out of the plan, according to the reports, when he was confronted with threats of mass resignations at DOJ if Clark was installed.
A U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Democratic staff report has also outlined a Dec. 21, 2020 meeting between Perry, other members of the House’s arch-conservative Freedom Caucus and Trump at the White House to strategize about what Congress could do to block final certification of Biden’s election.
Earlier Friday, Perry ‘s Democrat opponent Shamaine Daniels said a federal criminal investigation should be opened against Perry. In a news release from Daniels on Friday said “it’s time to start asking some hard questions about Perry, his fitness for office, and whether or not he committed a crime with his role in the insurrection, and the only way to get answers is with an investigation.”
Instead, he took the opportunity to blast the Select Committee’s work, noting that in Thursday night’s nationally-televised presentation the committee’s leaders said nothing about what he termed the failures of the Democratic Congressional leaders or Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser to take adequate steps to prepare for potential security threats as the Jan. 6 rally of Trump supporters approached.
“We’d like to know if the police were prepared. We’d like to know why they rejected the other forces, (an apparent reference to pre-rally discussions about deploying National Guard troops around the Capitol). We’d like to know what Speaker Pelosi knew and when she knew it.”
But Perry said those questions seem to be off-limits for the Select Committee, and that’s one reason why he believes it’s a show trial that he’s thus far refused to participate in.
“We’re either going to have an investigation and find the facts and find accountability, or we’re not. And apparently we’re not, at least at this time,” Perry said. “You’re not going to hear any of that because this is meant to prevail against their political opponents.”
“I’m in the fight to serve our Republic, and if it means stepping out and having the light shown on me, I’m going to do it,” he said. “This is the price to be paid for service, and if you’re not willing to pay the price, quite honestly, you shouldn’t serve.”
Perry is in his 5th term in the U.S. House. The 10th Congressional District that he represents covers all of Dauphin County, most of Cumberland County, and roughly the northern half of York County.