The thing that most interested me during the select committee hearing tonight was Liz Cheney's assertion that several members of Congress unsuccessfully petitioned Trump for pardons for their roles in the attempted coup. She only named one: Pennsylvania extremist Scott Perry, but in the past others who have been talked about as having asked for pardons include Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar of Arizona, Matt Gaetz of Florida and Mo Brooks of Alabama. Cheney announced tonight that "As you will see, Representative Perry contacted the White House in the weeks after January 6th to seek a presidential pardon. Multiple other Republican congressmen also sought presidential pardons for their roles in attempting to overturn the 2020 election."
Perry is the chair of the neo-fascist House Freedom Caucus. He represents a moderate Republican district, PA-10, that includes Harrisburg and York and in the new redistricting went from an R+8 to R+9. Last year Trump won the district with his lowest margin of any Republican-held district in the state, 50.7% to 47.8%. The Democrats ran Eugene DePasquale, a GOP-lite Blue Dog who failed to elicit any excitement with his own unattractive conservatism and, predictably, Perry beat him handily, 53.3% to 46.7%.
Late this afternoon, the Fox News affiliate in Harrisburg reported that protesters gathered outside the state Capitol to urge Secretary of State Leigh Chapman to remove Perry and fellow insurrectionist, Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano from the November ballot. They're basing their requests on teh 14th Amendment's prohibition that insurrectionists be allowed to run for office.
This evening the Philadelphia Inquirer put the Perry need for a pardon into some context for people who haven't been following reporting on the attempted GOP coup too closely:
Cheney mentioned Perry after detailing Trump’s efforts to replace then-acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen with someone who would be more willing to pressure state legislatures to undermine the election results. His suggested replacement was Jeffrey Bossert Clark, a Northeast Philadelphia native whom Perry had introduced to Trump.
Clark has also refused to testify, invoking his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.
Last year, Perry acknowledged connecting Trump and Clark, saying he had worked with Clark on legislative issues. “When President Trump asked if I would make an introduction, I obliged,” he said in a statement.
In an October report, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee identified Perry and State Sen. Doug Mastriano, now the GOP nominee for Pennsylvania governor, as two of three key Trump allies who aided his efforts to subvert the election results and who have “notable” connections to the insurrection.
Perry and Mastriano directly contacted the Justice Department’s second-ranking official, Deputy Associate Attorney General Richard Donoghue, to reinforce Trump’s baseless claims, and to urge the department to investigate debunked accusations, the Senate report said in October.
When top Department of Justice officials balked at Trump’s attempts to usurp the results, Perry urged Trump to empower Clark.
Trump, in calls with top DOJ officials, cited Perry as one of the three key sources of information raising questions about the election results. And Perry pushed federal officials to investigate a false and debunked report purportedly showing that there were more votes in Pennsylvania than voters.
When that information was relayed to the Trump-appointed U.S. attorney for Western Pennsylvania, the prosecutor dismissed it as “not well-founded.”