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GOP Rep. Scott Perry says he won’t cooperate with House probe of Jan. 6 riot

Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., and members of the House Freedom Caucus conduct a news conference to call on Attorney General William Barr to release findings of an investigation into allegations of 2020 election fraud, outside the Capitol on Thursday, December 3, 2020.Tom Williams | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty ImagesRep. Scott Perry, the first lawmaker to be asked to answer questions from the investigation of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, on Tuesday said he would refuse to cooperate with the probe.The Pennsylvania Republican in a pair of tweets called the congressional select committee “illegitimate” and “not duly constituted” under the rules of the House.”I decline this entity’s request,” Perry tweeted.The House panel is investigating the Jan. 6 invasion, when hundreds of former President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol and forced lawmakers to flee their chambers, temporarily stopping them from confirming President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory. Many members of the mob were spurred by Trump’s false claim that the 2020 election was “rigged” against him through widespread fraud.Perry is one of dozens of Republican lawmakers who voted to challenge the Electoral College results of a key state won by Biden after the rioters were cleared out of the Capitol.Select Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., in a letter Monday asked for Perry to voluntarily cooperate with the panel by meeting with its members and handing over an array of records, including his communications with Trump and his legal team.”The Select Committee has tremendous respect for the prerogatives of Congress and the privacy of its Members. At the same time, we have a solemn responsibility to investigate fully all of these facts and circumstances,” Thompson wrote.CNBC PoliticsRead more of CNBC’s politics coverage:The letter referenced evidence that the congressman was linked to Jeffrey Clark, a former Department of Justice official who has clashed with the select committee’s efforts to have him testify as part of the probe.A spokesman for the Jan. 6 probe did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on Perry’s statement.The committee, heavily citing a Senate Judiciary Committee report, previously accused Clark of trying to involve the DOJ “in efforts to interrupt the peaceful transfer of power.”Trump, who refused to concede to Biden after losing the Nov. 2020 election, considered installing Clark as acting attorney general as Clark was pursuing a scheme to use the DOJ to challenge the election results, investigators have said.In his letter Monday, Thompson said the committee has found evidence that Perry “had an important role in the efforts to install Mr. Clark as acting Attorney General.”The committee is also aware that Perry talked about Clark with Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows, Thompson’s letter said.The House voted last week to refer Meadows to the DOJ for possible criminal prosecution for his refusal to fully cooperate with the select committee. The panel voted to advance contempt of Congress proceedings against Clark, as well, but then allowed him another chance to cooperate.”Mr. Clark has informed us that he plans to invoke his 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination in anticipation of a deposition to be conducted by the Committee,” Thompson wrote to Perry. “When Mr. Clark decided to invoke his 5th Amendment rights, he understood that we planned to pose questions addressing his interactions with you, among a host of other topics.”The committee has also discovered that Perry spoke with Meadows through the encrypted messaging app Signal, and that Perry communicated “at various relevant times” with the White House and others about unsupported claims of voting machines being compromised, Thompson wrote.The letter proposed scheduling a meeting with Perry in late December or early January.”We aim to make informed recommendations taking account of all relevant facts,” Thompson wrote. “Thank you in advance for your consideration of this request.”

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