'Pure insanity': Scott Perry pushed conspiracy theory that Italian satellites changed votes
Former top Department of Justice officials Jeffrey Rosen, Richard Donoghue and Steven Engel testified Thursday at a House January 6th Committee hearing about U.S. Rep. Scott Perry’s involvement in attempts to overturn the election results.
According to testimony, Perry pushed hard for Jeffrey Clark, former acting assistant attorney general for the civil division, to meet with top people in the White House, including the president, and drove up internet conspiracy theories that Republican legal experts said were patently false.
On Dec. 31, 2020, Perry texted former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and said, "[w]hy can't we just work with the Italian government?"
The YouTube video link Perry included in his text to Meadows is no longer available, but it was described in testimony as a debunked conspiracy theory involving Italian satellites changing votes for Donald Trump to Joe Biden. Donoghue, the acting deputy attorney general, testified that the satellite theory was "pure insanity."
According to video testimony played at the hearing, Perry sought a presidential pardon. In an interview with the January 6th Committee, Cassidy Hutchinson, one of Meadows' former aides, said Perry asked for a pardon.
But Perry denies he asked for a pardon. In a statement, he wrote, "I stand by my statement that I never sought a Presidential pardon for myself or other Members of Congress. At no time did I speak with Miss Hutchinson, a White House scheduler, nor any White House staff about a pardon for myself or any other Member of Congress — this never happened.”
Perry sent a text to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows just days after the 2020 presidential election seeking to reverse or delay the certification of Joe Biden's victory, CNN reported.
In the days leading up to the inauguration, Perry texted Meadows again and said, "Mark, you should call Jeff. I just got off the phone with him and he explained to me why the principal deputy won't work especially with the FBI. They will view it as not having the authority to enforce what needs to be done."
Meadows responded with "I got it. I think I understand. Let me work on the deputy position."
According to a Politico report, after meeting with Perry, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows burned papers in his office.
In January 2021, Perry told radio station WITF he introduced President Donald Trump to Clark — who The New York Times reported was part of Trump’s plan to pressure Georgia to overturn its certified election results.
Perry on Thursday reiterated a statement he made in January 2021:
“Throughout the past four years, I worked with Assistant Attorney General Clark on various legislative matters. When President Trump asked if I would make an introduction, I obliged. My conversations with the President or the Assistant Attorney General, as they have been with all with whom I’ve engaged following the election, were a reiteration of the many concerns about the integrity of our elections, and that those allegations should at least be investigated to ease the minds of the voters that they had, indeed, participated in a free and fair election.”
"It is clear from the evidence made public by the January 6th Committee that Rep. Perry does not respect the will of the voters. No elected official should remain in office, if they do not respect the voters who put them there. We must not continue down this path," said Khalif Ali, Common Cause Pennsylvania executive director.
Perry has rebuffed a subpoena to testify before the January 6th Committee, claiming the panel is violating House rules and is a "kangaroo court."
Perry serves the 10th Congressional District in Pennsylvania, which includes much of York County. His seat is up for re-election this year. Democratic candidate Shamaine Daniels will face off against Perry in the fall for the 10th Congressional District.
Kaity Assaf is a regional news reporter for the USA Today Network. Contact her at email@example.com, on Twitter @kaitythekite or by phone, 717-472-0960. Please support local journalism with a digital subscription.