Scott Perry, others react to subpoenas from Jan. 6 committee

Matt Enright
York Dispatch

U.S. Rep. Scott Perry now faces a subpoena from the Congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol.

The House select committee previously asked Perry, a Republican who represents York County, to testify — a request he refused. Reports have indicated that he was a key figure in former President Donald Trump's attempts to undermine President Joe Biden's 2020 election victory.

FILE - Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., takes a question from a reporter at a news conference held by the House Freedom Caucus on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Aug. 23, 2021. The committee investigating the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection has requested an interview with Perry. The Republican lawmaker is the first sitting member of Congress the panel has requested to speak with.  (AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades, File)

In a statement Thursday, Perry alleged the Select Committee had leaked the subpoena before contacting GOP members. 

"That this illegitimate body leaked their latest charade to the media ahead of contacting targeted members is proof once again that this political witch hunt is about fabricating headlines and distracting Americans from their abysmal record of running America into the ground," Perry said. 

Perry's office did not respond to a request for further comment, nor did they address the larger question of Perry's involvement in the events of Jan. 6.

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House investigators also issued subpoenas to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, of Californi, and Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona; Mo Brooks of Alabama and Jim Jordan of Ohio.

"We urge our colleagues to comply with the law, do their patriotic duty and cooperate with our investigation as hundreds of other witnesses have done," said House Select Committee Chair Bennie Thompson, D-Miss.

In a statement, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman James Singer called Perry an embarrassment to his district and to Pennsylvania.

"If Perry had any courage or shred of decency," Singer said, "he would end his resistance to cooperate with the committee and share the truth around his role in the attempt to throw out millions of Pennsylvanians’ votes and the deadly storming of the United States Capitol."

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Primary candidate Shamaine Daniels, running to oppose Perry in the general election as a Democrat, said Thursday the subpoena is critical to learning the truth about Perry's involvement.

"Scott Perry was at the center of the conspiracy to steal the election from Joe Biden and the American people," Daniels said.

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Perry's other would-be Democratic challenger, Rick Coplen, called the subpoena another moment of truth for Perry.

"Hopefully, he is up to doing his duty to tell the truth," he said.

Neither the York County GOP nor the Democratic Party of York County responded to requests for comment.

Perry was one of the first GOP officials to publicly claim that President Joe Biden had not won the election. He also signed on to an amicus brief to have the Supreme Court invalidate election results in certain states Biden had won. He also spoke against certification of Pennsylvania's Electoral College, then voted against the certification.

According to a Senate report issued last year, Perry called Richard Donoghue, the former deputy to then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, regarding what he claimed were cases of election fraud in Pennsylvania. Perry recommended Jeffrey Clark, former acting assistant attorney general for the Department of Justice's civil division, be given more responsibility in the department's handling of the 2020 election during his call to Donoghue.

"Perry added something to the effect of, 'I think Jeff Clark is great. I like that guy a lot. He’s the kind of guy who could really get in there and do something about this,'" the report reads. 

Clark would later send an email to Rosen and Donoghue proposing the Justice Department send letters to the leadership of Georgia and other contested states, encouraging them to appoint a different set of electors. 

More:'Subverting Justice': Senate report shines light on Scott Perry's role in Trump's failed power grab

More:State Sen. Doug Mastriano subpoenaed by Jan. 6 committee

After Thursday's subpoena announcement, McCarthy, who aspires to be House speaker if Republicans take the majority in midterm elections, told reporters that “I have not seen a subpoena" and that his view on the committee has not changed since they asked for his voluntary cooperation earlier this year.

“They're not conducting a legitimate investigation,” McCarthy said. "Seems as though they just want to go after their political opponents.”

Congressional subpoenas for sitting members of Congress, especially for a party leader, have little precedent in recent decades, and it is unclear what the consequences would be if any or all of the five men decline to comply. The House has voted to hold two other noncompliant witnesses, former Trump aides Steve Bannon and Mark Meadows, in contempt, referring their cases to the Justice Department.

In announcing the subpoenas, the Jan. 6 panel said there is historical precedent for the move and noted that the House Ethics Committee has “issued a number of subpoenas to Members of Congress for testimony or documents,” though such actions are generally done secretly.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

— Reach Matt Enright via email at menright@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @Matthew_Enright.