UNITED STATES NEWS

Congressman told to hand over hundreds of texts and emails to FBI in 2020 election probe

Dec 20, 2023, 9:36 AM

FILE - Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., chair of the House Freedom Caucus, speaks during a news conference ...

FILE - Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., chair of the House Freedom Caucus, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 14, 2023. A federal judge is ordering Republican Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania to turn over more than 1,600 texts and emails to FBI agents investigating efforts to keep President Donald Trump in office after his 2020 election loss and illegally block the transfer of power to Democrat Joe Biden. The ruling, late Monday, came more than a year after Perry’s personal cellphone was seized by federal authorities. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A federal judge is ordering Republican Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania to turn over more than 1,600 texts and emails to FBI agents investigating efforts to keep President Donald Trump in office after his 2020 election loss and illegally block the transfer of power to Democrat Joe Biden.

The ruling, late Monday, came more than a year after Perry’s personal cellphone was seized by federal authorities. The decision, by U.S. District Judge James Boasberg, is largely in line with an earlier finding by a federal judge that Perry appealed to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C.

Boasberg, in a 12-page decision, said that, after viewing each record, he decided that Perry, a top Trump ally, can withhold 396 of the messages under the constitution’s speech and debate clause that protects the work of members of Congress.

However, the other 1,659 records do not involve legislative acts and must be disclosed, Boasberg ruled. That includes efforts to influence members of the executive branch, discussions about Vice President Mike Pence’s role in certifying the election and providing information about alleged election fraud.

Perry’s lawyer, John Rowley, did not immediately respond to a query about whether he will appeal. In the past, Rowley has said that government officials have never described Perry to him as a target of their investigation.

Perry is chairman of the Freedom Caucus, a hardline faction of conservatives. Perry has not been charged with a crime and is the only sitting member of Congress whose cellphone was seized by the FBI in the 2020 election investigation.

Perry’s efforts to protect the contents of his cell phone have proceeded largely in secret, except in recent weeks when snippets and short summaries of his texts and emails were inadvertently unsealed — and then resealed — by the federal court.

Those messages revealed more about where Perry may fit in the web of Trump loyalists who were central to his bid to remain in power.

Making Perry a figure of interest to federal prosecutors were his efforts to elevate Jeffrey Clark to Trump’s acting attorney general in late 2020.

Perry, in the past, has said he merely “obliged” Trump’s request that he be introduced to Clark. At the time, Trump was searching for a like-minded successor to use the Department of Justice to help stall the certification of Biden’s election victory.

But the messages suggest that Perry was a key ally for Clark, who positioned himself as someone who would reverse the Department of Justice’s stance that it had found no evidence of widespread voting fraud.

To that end, Clark had drafted a letter that he suggested sending to Georgia saying the Department of Justice had “identified significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election in multiple states, including the state of Georgia,” according to the August indictment in that state accusing Trump, Clark and 17 others of trying illegally to keep him in power.

At the time, Clark was the assistant attorney general of the Environment and Natural Resources Division and served as the acting head of the Civil Division.

The showdown over Clark brought the Justice Department to the brink of crisis, prosecutors have said, and Trump ultimately backed down after he was told that it would result in mass resignations at the Justice Department and his own White House counsel’s office.

Clark is now described in the federal indictment of Trump as one of six unnamed and unindicted co-conspirators in an effort to illegally subvert the 2020 election.

___

Follow Marc Levy at www.twitter.com/timelywriter.

United States News

Musher Dutch Johnson, a kennel manager at The August Foundation for Alaska Racing Dogs, runs a dog ...

Associated Press

Alaska’s Iditarod dogs get neon visibility harnesses after 5 were fatally hit while training

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Iditarod, the annual sled dog race celebrating Alaska’s official state sport, is set to get underway Saturday with a new focus on safety after five dogs died and eight were injured in collisions with snowmobiles while training on shared, multi-use trails. For the first time, mushers who line up for […]

2 hours ago

FILE - Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference...

Associated Press

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton beat impeachment. Now he wants Super Tuesday revenge on his foes

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton beat impeachment. On Super Tuesday, he wants political revenge. The Republican, who just six months ago was on the brink of removal from office, is charging into Texas’ primaries on a dramatic campaign to oust dozens in his own party. They include rank-and-file legislators, state judges […]

2 hours ago

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., speaks at the Capitol in Washington, Feb. 29, 2024. Short...

Associated Press

Ukrainian troops are rationing ammo. But House Republicans plan to take weeks to consider aid

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ukrainian drones fly without ammunition. Russian artillery unleash deadly volleys from safe positions beyond the range of Kyiv’s troops. Shortages of ammo and supplies are resulting in lost ground to Moscow, U.S. congressional leaders warn, yet the Republican-controlled House has shown little hurry to resupply Ukraine with military aid. Across Washington, officials […]

3 hours ago

FILE - Registered Republican voters stand in line March 6, 2012, for the caucus event in Rathdrum, ...

Associated Press

Republicans in Idaho, Missouri and Michigan will meet to weigh in on the presidential race

More delegates are up for grabs Saturday as former President Donald Trump looks to get closer to clinching the Republican nomination and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley seeks her first win. Trump, who is especially strong in caucuses, is expected to add to his delegate lead in Republican caucuses in Idaho and Missouri, as well […]

3 hours ago

FILE - Music fans relax during a break in the entertainment at the Woodstock Music and Arts Fair, A...

Associated Press

Peace, music and memories: As the 1960s fade, historians scramble to capture Woodstock’s voices

BETHEL, N.Y. (AP) — Woodstock didn’t even happen in Woodstock. The fabled music festival, seen as one of the seminal cultural events of the 1960s, took place 60 miles (96.5 kilometers) away in Bethel, New York, an even smaller village than Woodstock. It’s a fitting misnomer for an event that has become as much legend […]

3 hours ago

***HOLD FOR JEFF MCMURRAY STORY**** Pedestrians cross the street at the intersection of Washington ...

Associated Press

A New Jersey city that limited street parking hasn’t had a traffic death in 7 years

Street parking was already scarce in Hoboken, New Jersey, when the death of an elderly pedestrian spurred city leaders to remove even more spaces in a bid to end traffic fatalities. For seven years now, the city of nearly 60,000 people has reported resounding success: Not a single automobile occupant, pedestrian or bicyclist has died […]

3 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

...

Canvas Annuity

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

Congressman told to hand over hundreds of texts and emails to FBI in 2020 election probe