Congress

GOP Rep. Scott Perry, subject of Jan. 6 probes, declines to recuse himself from looking into those investigations

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Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., and members of the House Freedom Caucus conduct a news conference to call on Attorney General William Barr to release findings of an investigation into allegations of 2020 election fraud, outside the Capitol on Thursday, December 3, 2020.
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Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., pushed back Sunday when asked whether he would recuse himself from any House GOP investigation of federal probes into the events surrounding the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, despite being a subject of those investigations.

"Why should I be limited just because someone has made an accusation? Everybody in America is innocent until proven guilty," Perry said in an interview on ABC's "This Week" with host George Stephanopoulos.

Perry was pressed on whether any potential involvement in a new committee would pose a conflict of interest given that he was among those being investigated.

"So, should everybody in Congress that disagrees with somebody be barred from doing the oversight and investigative powers that Congress has? That's our charge," Perry said.

"And again, that's appropriate for every single member regardless of what accusations that are being made," he added. "I get accused of all kinds of things every single day, as does every member that serves in the public eye. But that doesn't stop you from doing your job. It is our duty and it is my duty."

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Newly elected House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has indicated that Republicans intend to probe the work of the now-defunct House committee that investigated the Jan. 6 riot. In November, McCarthy sent a letter to then-committee Chair Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., to preserve all records and transcripts and vowed to hold hearings in the new Congress on the security failures that led to the Capitol attack. House Republicans also plan to vote this week on a new rules package that includes the creation of an investigative subcommittee on the Judiciary Committee charged with probing what they call "the weaponization of the federal government."

Perry's phone was seized as part of the Justice Department's Jan. 6 probe. The GOP congressman, an ally of former President Donald Trump who supported his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, sued the DOJ last year requesting the return of all cell phone data the FBI seized. Perry's lawyers dropped the case in October, but did not explain their motion to dismiss the lawsuit at the time.

Perry also came under scrutiny by the Jan. 6 committee, which referred him and three other House Republicans, including McCarthy, to the House Ethics Committee for defying the panel's subpoenas. The Jan. 6 committee said it had evidence "from multiple witnesses" alleging Perry's involvement in an effort to install former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark as the acting attorney general during the final months of the Trump administration. Clark pushed Trump's false claims of a stolen 2020 presidential election and wanted the DOJ to step in to challenge the results.