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Pennsylvania Congressman Scott Perry asked for pardon, Meadows aide said

Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa.
Carolyn Kaster
Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa.

In her opening statements at the fifth House January 6th Select Committee hearing, Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney teased proof that some of her GOP House colleagues sought “pardons for their conduct” from former President Trump in the days following the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The panel wrapped up their nearly 2.5 hour hearing on Thursday with a montage of pre-recorded testimonies from former White House officials that supported the committee vice chair’s claim.

According to testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, multiple Republican U.S. House members asked for a pardon, including Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Mo Brooks (R-AL), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), and Louie Gohmert (R-TX).

The last name she mentioned in her testimony was Pennsylvania U.S. House Rep. Scott Perry.

Start your morning with today's news on Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania.

“Mr. Perry asked for a pardon, too,” Hutchinson said.

When asked if Perry talked to her directly, she responded, “Yes, he did.”

This contradicts denials from Perry that he ever requested a pardon. Following Hutchinson’s sworn deposition, he referred to the situation as a “false pardon narrative.”

“I stand by my statement that I never sought a Presidential pardon for myself or other Members of Congress,” a Perry spokesman wrote in a statement. “At no time did I speak with Miss Hutchinson, a White House scheduler, nor any White House staff about a pardon for myself or any other Member of Congress — this never happened.”

Perry was a central figure in the hearing, due to his previously reported text message and email exchanges with Meadows, advocating for election investigations based on debunked claims of fraud.

What the committee revealed about Perry

The Jan. 6 committee’s latest chapter in detailing how the former president fought to remain in power, following his 2020 loss, focused on how Trump pressured Justice Department leaders to support his election fraud claims.

Through over two hours of testimonies, the committee detailed how Trump, his staff, and his Republican Congressional allies spread disinformation about election fraud, and planned to challenge the results without any proof.

Panel member Adam Kinzinger, a Republican from Illinois, read aloud text messages from Perry urging his former colleague Meadows to speak with Jeffrey Clark, an assistant attorney general at the Department of Justice who was sympathetic to Trump’s plan to overturn the election.

The two planned to advocate for Clark’s promotion to attorney general, and the Jan. 6 Committee confirmed Trump promised Clark the job, if he pursued claims of fraud. Clark planned to say publicly the DOJ was investigating Georgia’s election results, despite no evidence to warrant a probe.

In one conversation, Perry described Clark as, “the kind of guy who could really get in there and do something about this.”

The panel disclosed several text messages from Perry to Meadows — asking for updates on Clark’s status.

“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,” read one. “They will view it as not having the authority to enforce what needs to be done.”

Perry justified investigations into the 2020 Election by pushing debunked conspiracy theories. In a text to Meadows, Perry sent a link to a video alleging Italian satellites altered the vote count.

“Why can’t we just work with the Italian government?” Perry texted Meadows one week before the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

Committee member Adam Kinsinger, a Republican from Illinois, said Trump ordered former Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller to inquire about Perry’s claims to the Defense Attaché, the U.S. military body which mediates relationships with foreign governments.

“A call was actually placed by Secretary Miller to the Attaché in Italy to investigate the claim that Italian satellites were changing votes from Trump to Biden,” Kinsinger said. “This is one of the best examples of the lengths former President Trump would go to to stay in power.”

Kinsinger said that Trump refused to listen to anyone who tried to tell him his election fraud claims lacked enough proof to warrant an investigation.

“That insanity went from the Internet to the highest levels of government in no time,” Kinsinger said. “Everyone except Jeff Clark was telling President Trump the very same thing: The conspiracy theories were false. The allegation of a stolen election was a lie. The data left no room for doubt, nothing to question, and the Constitution left no room for President Trump to change the outcome of the election.”

In his deposition, former Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue called the idea, “Pure insanity.”

The bid to elevate Clark to the top job at DOJ failed when the agency’s leadership threatened to resign if the former president followed through with the plan.

On Wednesday, federal agents searched Clark’s home in Virginia and seized his electronic devices.

Read more from our partners, WITF.