Calls are mounting for U.S. Rep. Scott Perry to resign after a report late Saturday exposed his “significant role” in trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
Perry, a Republican from York County, connected President Donald J. Trump with a Justice Department official to try to remove the acting U.S. attorney general from his post and pressure Georgia lawmakers to overturn results of the 2020 presidential contest, according to the New York Times.
The congressman did not respond to questions from the New York Times before publication. He also did not immediately respond to questions from the USA TODAY Network on Saturday night.
It was Perry, according to the report, who made Trump aware that Jeffrey Clark, “a relatively obscure Justice Department official” and acting chief of the civil division, supported the former president’s view that the election had been stolen.
Trump considered firing acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, who was named to the position after former Attorney General Bill Barr resigned. Both Barr and Rosen did not support Trump’s claims that the election was fraudulent or stolen.
But in Clark, Trump had an ally in the Justice Department. The president would likely have been unaware of Clark if not for Perry, according to the Times.
Perry worked with Clark to craft a plan to pressure Georgia leaders, the report said, citing unnamed former administration officials.
“As the date for Congress to affirm Mr. Biden’s victory neared, Mr. Perry and Mr. Clark discussed a plan to have the Justice Department send a letter to Georgia state lawmakers informing them of an investigation into voter fraud that could invalidate the state’s Electoral College results,” the report said.
“Former officials who were briefed on the plan said that the department’s dozens of voter fraud investigations nationwide had not turned up enough instances of fraud to alter the outcome of the election.”
There were numerous calls for Perry to resign late Saturday night, some more succinct than others.
Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, a Philadelphia Democrat, wrote on Twitter: “Hey @RepScottPerry, resign.”
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said in a tweet: “Representative Perry ought to familiarize himself with Section 3 of the 14th Amendment of our Constitution. There must be consequences for this conduct.”
Perry was one of Trump’s first supporters during the 2016 election and was instrumental in spreading the former president’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen.
The congressman represents Pennsylvania’s 10th congressional district, which includes the state capital of Harrisburg and all of Dauphin County and parts of Cumberland and York counties.
He is a retired Pennsylvania Army National Guard Brigadier General after serving for nearly 40 years and multiple deployments, including during combat in Iraq.
Perry, 58, was first elected to Congress in 2012 and gradually moved further to the right, ultimately embracing most of Trump’s claims and conspiracy theories.
After the pro-Trump mob attack at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, Perry led a House floor objection to Pennsylvania’s election results.
The day before the attack, he said he said it was his duty to share concerns because Republicans in the Pennsylvania General Assembly had asked Congress to delay the certification of election results.
Some state Republican leaders had received calls from Trump to overturn the election.
Perry’s main argument had been to delay to allow time for “due process” or an investigation into “irregularities” in the Pennsylvania election.
The Trump campaign filed more than 60 lawsuits regarding the 2020 presidential election, and it lost all of them. Conservative and liberal judges alike either dismissed or ruled against the Trump campaign, often noting the campaign failed to prove or provide evidence of widespread fraud.
Perry condemned “any violence and criminal acts taking place” after the attack on the U.S. Capitol, but he supported the president’s claims before and after the insurrection.
Voters and lawmakers — mostly Democrats — called for Perry to resign because, even after the insurrection, he objected to certifying Pennsylvania’s election results, sending the House and Senate into debate.
Some of his colleagues had backed off objections, but he pressed forward, and the election of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris wasn’t certified until after 3 a.m. Jan. 7.
At the time, Perry issued a one-word statement in response to calls for his resignation: “No.”
When the U.S. House a week later impeached Trump for a second time, saying he incited the attack on the Capitol, Perry voted against it.
“Absolutely no one in our Nation deserves punishment without due process — no one,” Perry said after the vote.
“This hasty rush to judgement may serve as political paybacks and scintillating sound bites for some, but today’s sham of an impeachment wouldn’t be fit for the Inquisition or prairie justice — it’s an embarrassing and dangerous stunt that furthers our American divide, and I proudly voted against it.”
Perry was among the group of lawmakers from Pennsylvania who went to Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday and he released a statement afterward, saying he would look for ways to work together.
“As President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris are sworn into office today, we honor, as Americans, the peaceful transfer of power that is fundamental to our Republic. I extend my prayers and look forward to ways where we can work together for the good of the American People. As we do, I will continue to fight for individual liberties, defend our Constitutional Rights, promote economic freedom and opportunity for all, and work to strengthen the defense of our Nation and those who defend us – past, present, and future. God Bless America.”
Candy Woodall is a reporter for the USA Today Network. She can be reached at 717-480-1783 or on Twitter at @candynotcandace.