Damning Senate Judiciary report details Pennsylvania Republican’s role in Trump’s attempted coup

Damning Senate Judiciary report details Pennsylvania Republican’s role in Trump’s attempted coup

A report released by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, October 7 offers troubling details on former President Donald Trump's efforts to bully U.S. Department of Justice officials into helping him overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election back in December 2020 and early January 2021. And the report, according to Politico reporters Nicholas Wu and Kyle Cheney, paints a damning picture of Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania.

"In the last weeks of Trump's administration, according to the new Senate Judiciary Committee majority report, the former president asked Richard Donoghue — then the Justice Department's second-in-command — for his cell number so lawmakers concerned about the election could call him," Wu and Cheney explain in an article published on October 7. "Perry (R-Pa.) was one of the lawmakers who ended up with the principal associate deputy attorney general's phone number."

The Politico reporters continue, "The report details that Perry contacted Donoghue on December 27, saying Trump himself had suggested the call, and raised false election claims. Perry told Donoghue, the report states, that there were 'things going on in Pennsylvania' with regard to ballot-counting that he found improper.' Perry also recommended to Donoghue that Jeffrey Clark, then the head of the Justice Department's civil division, should become more involved in DOJ's handling of the 2020 election. Trump later considered Clark as a replacement for the acting attorney general, seeing Clark as more sympathetic to claims of voter fraud that have proven baseless."

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, in the report, recommend that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's select committee on the January 6 insurrection focus heavily on Perry as well as far-right Rep. Doug Mastriano, another pro-Trump Pennsylvania Republican, and Trump campaign attorney Cleta Mitchell.

The fact that Perry and Mastriano are from Pennsylvania is important. In 2020, the campaigns of Trump and now-President Joe Biden knew that Pennsylvania could be a make-or-break swing state for them — and sure enough, the election was called for Biden when it was announced that he had won Pennsylvania (which had gone to Trump in 2016). The more votes that were counted in Philadelphia and its suburbs, the more obvious it became that Biden had won Pennsylvania. Indeed, Trump was so unpopular in Philly that when the election was called for Biden on Saturday, November 7, huge crowds were celebrating on Broad Street in a way that recalled reactions to the Philadelphia Phillies winning the 2008 World Series and the Philadelphia Eagles winning the 2018 Superbowl.

Pennsylvania is a complex state politically. While Central Pennsylvania — the part of the state that Democratic strategist James Carville famously described as "Alabama" between Philly and Pittsburgh — leans Republican and can be quite conservative, Philly is a Democratic stronghold that hasn't elected a Republican mayor since Bernard Samuel in 1947. Biden's campaign knew that in order for him to win Pennsylvania in 2020, he needed a strong turnout in Philly and its suburbs. And MAGA Republicans are aggressively pushing for voter suppression in that part of the state, which will have a closely watched gubernatorial race in the 2022 midterms.

Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, who was reelected in 2018, is term-limited, and it remains to be seen who Democrats and Republicans will nominate to run for governor of Pennsylvania next year.

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