There is an interesting initial battle brewing over an accusation made by Rep. Liz Cheney during the first public hearing of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 riot. Cheney called out Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Scott Perry by name as seeking a pardon from former President Trump for his involvement in post election challenges. However, Perry has denounced the accusation, stating on Twitter that “[t]he notion that I ever sought a Presidential pardon for myself or other Members of Congress is an absolute, shameless, and soulless lie.”
During her opening statement, Cheney, the vice chair of the select committee, said Perry worked to get Justice Department lawyer Jeff Clark appointed as attorney general in the hope that he would send a letter to Georgia and other states that the Justice Department had “identified significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election.”
It was not illegal to push for the appointment of a more favorable attorney general though I believe such a letter would have been fundamentally wrong. I have long defended the record of Bill Barr and the integrity that he showed in resisting such demands. Other justice officials appeared ready to resign like Barr rather than yield to such a demand.
The suggestion is that Perry not only knew that he could be criminally charged for his actions after the election but sought the protection of Trump. This allegation does not seem a matter of interpretation. It is either true or not. Either Cheney or Perry are lying. Cheney promised to put forward evidence to prove the allegation: “As you will see, Rep. Perry contacted the White House in the weeks after Jan. 6 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 one of five Republican lawmakers the committee a sharp departure from tradition in the House.for testimony in
I do not believe that the statement is on its face defamatory. The suggestion is clearly that Perry believed that he could be charged with a crime but it could also reflect distrust in the incoming Administration in pursuing political opponents. In the end, however, the primary defense to defamation is truth.
This is a major allegation to announce in a primetime public hearing against a colleague. The Committee will now be expected to make good on this and other specific claims.
Here is the letter sent earlier to Rep. Perry by the Committee: 2021-12-20bgt-letter-to-perry