Rep. Scott Perry denies Jan. 6 committee accusation that he sought a Trump pardon

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Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Scott Perry denied that he ever sought a pardon from former President Trump for his involvement in attempts to overturn the 2020 election, challenging an allegation made by GOP colleague, Rep. Liz Cheney, during a Thursday night hearing of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. 

“The notion that I ever sought a Presidential pardon for myself or other Members of Congress is an absolute, shameless, and soulless lie,” Perry wrote on Twitter on Friday.

During an overview of the committee’s investigation, Cheney, the vice chair of the select committee and one of its two Republicans, said Perry was involved in efforts to get Justice Department lawyer Jeff Clark appointed as attorney general. Trump wanted Clark to be the nation’s top law enforcement official so that he would be empowered to send a letter to Georgia and other states which would say, according to Cheney, that the Justice Department had “identified significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election.” 

Other Justice Department officials appointed by Trump, including Acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen and Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue, threatened to resign over his actions and confronted the then-president and Clark in the Oval Office, Cheney said. Rosen will testify before the committee at its hearing on Wednesday, June 15, CBS News has learned. 

After alleging that Perry had advocated for Clark’s appointment as attorney general, Cheney asserted, “As you will see, Rep. Perry contacted the White House in the weeks after Jan. 6 to seek a presidential pardon.  Multiple other Republican congressmen also sought presidential pardons for their roles in attempting to overturn the 2020 election.”

She did not name any additional members of Congress or provide additional evidence to back up the claim during her statement Thursday evening, which offered a kind of executive summary of the case the committee will lay out over the course of the next five hearings in June.  

Perry is one of five Republican lawmakers the committee has subpoenaed for testimony in its investigation. None of them have appeared in response to the subpoena. The others are House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Mo Brooks of Alabama and Andy Biggs of Arizona.

The Pennsylvania congressman initially declined a December request by the committee to testify voluntarily about his discussions with Justice Department officials. In a May letter responding to the subpoena, his attorney wrote that “there was nothing improper about those discussions and Mr. Perry saw no reason to submit to questioning by the Democrat members that [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi appointed to the Committee.”

Perry, like other Republicans, argues that the select committee is illegitimate because Pelosi refused to allow some of McCarthy’s appointees to serve on the committee — an argument that has been rejected by a Trump-appointed judge in court. 

According to an October report by a Senate committee investigating the attacks, Perry introduced Clark to Trump and the three met in the Oval Office on Dec. 23, 2021. The committee also found Perry called Donoghue at Trump’s behest on Dec. 27 to discuss baseless claims of voter fraud in Pennsylvania and referenced Clark during the call.

Rob Legare and Melissa Quinn contributed to this story. 

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