Trump ally Republican congressman Perry declines interview with Capitol riot panel

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FILE PHOTO: Rep. Scott Perry speaks to reporters during the impeachment inquiry against U.S. President Donald Trump, in Washington

By Jan Wolfe

WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Scott Perry, an ally of former President Donald Trump, said on Tuesday he would not provide information requested by a congressional committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Perry, a Pennsylvania Republican, said on Twitter he would not sit for an interview with the panel and would not provide electronic communications it had requested, including messages he exchanged with Trump’s lawyers.

“I stand with immense respect for our Constitution, the rule of law, and the Americans I represent who know that this entity is illegitimate, and not duly constituted under the rules of the U.S. House of Representatives,” Perry said.

An appeals court ruled earlier this month that the Jan. 6 Select Committee was legitimate and entitled to see White House records Trump has tried to shield from public view.

Perry and other Republican lawmakers met with Trump ahead of the attack on the Capitol and discussed how they could block the formal certification by Congress on Jan. 6 of Democrat Joe Biden’s November 2020 election victory.

A spokesman for the committee said in a statement that Perry has information “directly relevant” to its investigation” and suggested it would consider issuing a subpoena to the congressman.

“The Select Committee prefers to gather relevant evidence from members cooperatively, but if members with directly relevant information decline to cooperate and instead endeavor to cover up, the Select Committee will consider seeking such information using other tools,” the spokesman said.

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On Monday, the committee publicly released a letter to Perry that asked him to cooperate voluntarily.

The committee said it was seeking information about Trump’s attempts to oust Jeffrey Rosen, the acting head of the U.S. Justice Department during the closing weeks of his presidency, and replace him with Jeffrey Clark, an official at the time who tried to help Trump overturn his election defeat.

The letter marked a new phase for the committee’s lawmakers, who have so far not publicly demanded information from Republican colleagues who supported Trump’s efforts to retain power after losing to Biden. Trump has falsely claimed his loss resulted from widespread voter fraud.

(Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Scott Malone, Grant McCool and Peter Cooney)