'Dissemination and action': DOJ pursues text messages of MAGA congressman who pushed election lies
After the 2020 presidential election, Rep. Scott Perry was among Pennsylvania’s most vocal promoters of the Big Lie. Perry falsely claimed that widespread voter fraud occurred in the Keystone State — a claim that has been repeatedly debunked — and pushed for its electoral votes to be taken away from the Democrat who legitimately won the state: now-President Joe Biden.
Then, after the January 6, 2021 insurrection, Perry (who chairs the far-right House Freedom Caucus) asked outgoing then-President Donald Trump for a preemptive pardon, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is continuing to investigate the January 6, 2021 insurrection and the events that led up to it. After the 2022 midterms, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel, Jack Smith, to head the investigation. And the DOJ, CNN reports, is trying to “gain access” to text messages that Perry sent during that late 2020/early 2021 lame duck period as part of that probe.
READ MORE:Democratic Congresswoman explains why Rep. Scott Perry is 'mighty afraid' of Jan. 6 Committee
CNN’s Katelyn Polantz, in an article published on December 14, explains, “The investigative work, now overseen by Special Counsel Jack Smith, is significant given that Perry texted then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows about advice from a ‘cyber forensic team’ he was in touch with after the 2020 election. Perry believed election security was compromised, contributing to Donald Trump’s loss of the presidency, and wanted to preserve voting machines after the election. That led the Pennsylvania lawmaker to be in touch with powerful Trump backers, including (former White House Chief of Staff Mark) Meadows, Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark and others who pushed false claims of election fraud.”
In a text sent to Meadows on November 10, 2020, Perry, according to Polantz, wrote, “Plz tell every state senior that they need to 1. Preserve the specific voting machines (scanners)…. Please ensure widest dissemination and action.”
Polantz reports, “Perry’s communications with Meadows suggest the congressman was keen to disseminate the same types of direction to others. He then asked Meadows for contacts in Wisconsin and Arizona, and Meadows later referred him to another Republican member of Congress, Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy…. CNN first reported in the spring on the Meadows texts, after obtaining 2319 text messages that Meadows had sent and received between Election Day 2020 and the 2021 inauguration. The texts were among those selectively provided by Meadows to the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021 insurrection.”
In August 2022, DOJ investigators “seized” Perry’s cell phone “as part of” its January 6 investigation.
READ MORE: Republican who had phone seized suggests he would have destroyed it if there was Jan. 6 evidence
“Perry sued the Justice Department days after the search, then quickly asked the court to put the public-facing lawsuit on hold,” Polantz notes. “The Justice Department approached Perry’s phone seizure and other phone seizures from Trump allies in two parts, according to sources familiar with the investigation and public filings. DOJ would image the phone through an initial warrant and then seek a second warrant through confidential court proceedings to access the data…. Perry, according to his lawsuit, tried to hold off federal investigators from accessing his phone data by claiming some of it was personal or protected by the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause, which protects the work of members of Congress.”
READ MORE: Scott Perry quietly drops lawsuit against FBI after his cell phone records were seized
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