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Politics

Rep. Scott Perry was one of the main January 6 conspirators, but he is still not charged


Following Donald Trump’s attempted coup on January 6, 2021, Representative Scott Perry was quickly named as one of the conspiracy’s most aggressive allies. It was Perry who pushed Trump to install the Department of Justice under the leadership of Jeffrey Clark as the new acting attorney general after top justice officials refused to side with Trump’s plans to declare his election defeat tainted or invalid, and Perry has been one of the most aggressive promoters, even of more ambitious. ridiculous election conspiracy allegations. In August 2022, the FBI seized Perry’s cell phone as part of an investigation into Republican efforts to obstruct or overturn the 2020 presidential election.

On Wednesday, we learned even more about the extent to which Perry was intimately involved in — and, in fact, a key promoter of — the plot to overturn this presidential election. Much of what prosecutors were able to obtain from Perry’s communications remained under seal, thanks to Perry’s vigorous efforts to ensure that neither prosecutors nor have the general public ever seen them, but on Wednesday the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals unsealed and released documents revealing many of those communications, only to delete them again hours later.

This almost certainly means that the court ruled against Perry in his attempts to keep the documents hidden, but that the court aides erred in releasing those documents earlier. The ship still sailed: New Politico report details communications Perry tried to hideand it is clear that the Pennsylvania congressman was involved in almost every aspect of the alleged coup.

Politico cites Perry’s frequent communications with Clark as “perhaps the most revealing,” but what stands out even more is the extent to which Perry 1) was involved in each of the major aspects of the coup plans, from the dissemination of hoaxes intended to discredit the election results due to plans to have then-Vice President Mike Pence direct voter rejection toward efforts to create lists of fake voters; and 2) touched the base of many of Trump’s allies who now face prison time for their own role in this scheme.

Among the contacts reported by Politico are December texts with Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, whose mere existence would seem to belie Perry’s claims that he was contesting the election in some sort of “congressional” role, rather only as a strictly partisan project. He also communicated with then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, Trump adviser Eric Herschmann, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and Pennsylvania Republican lawmaker Doug Mastriano.

But Perry was also in contact with Sidney Powell’s “cybersecurity” team, as well as Trump-allied lawyers Jenna Ellis and Boris Epshteyn. In short, Perry was in active communication with most of the big names either currently indicted or named as key figures in the indictments. And these communications were efforts to to assist in the conspiracy, do not discourage it.

All of this makes it increasingly unclear why Perry is not on the indictment list. Prosecutors may simply think that his protections for congressional speech and debate would so muddy the case against him that it wouldn’t be worth it; It could be that later, if plea deals with attorneys Jenna Ellis and Sidney Powell prove useful, prosecutors will feel bolder in pinning Perry as a leading seditionist.

There is no doubt that he was not a key figure in the conspiracy, and there has long been enough evidence to conclude that. But so far, House Republicans who plotted to support Trump’s coup attempt have faced no consequences. Part of the reason is that state and federal authorities have continued to pursue the coup perpetrators with seemingly glacial slowness. But it is also partly due to the large number of Republican lawmakers who encouraged the coup, both before and after it turned violent. House Republicans are in the majority and have managed to block investigations into their own plot.

Pear faces a credible adversary during his next re-election campaign, and his constituency is quite divided that he cannot count on a Republican majority favorable to the coup to save him from the scandal forever. Perhaps prosecutors will be bolder if Perry is removed from office next November.

Perry appears to have been genuinely concerned about this after the failed coup: Mark Meadows’ assistant, Cassidy Hutchinson, testified to investigators on January 6 that Perry was one of six House Republicans who asked Trump to grant them pardons for their role in the coup during the final days of his term. However, these pardons were never written and were not granted.

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