In a Public First, Jan. 6 Committee Requests Information From a Sitting Member of Congress

As Alex Jones filed suit against the House Select Committee investigating Jan. 6 and indicated his intent to plead his Fifth Amendment right not to self-incriminate, the committee moved forward with its investigation, asking Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) to provide documents and testimony. Perry is the first known member of Congress to be asked to supply information to the committee.

The committee requested testimony from Perry, one of 21 Republicans who voted against a bill to honor Capitol Police officers who responded to the insurrection, in a letter requesting his voluntary cooperation. It has not yet issued a subpoena to Perry. The congressman’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Rolling Stone.

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“At this time, the Select Committee seeks your voluntary cooperation,” the committee’s chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), wrote in the letter. Thompson went on to say that the committee has “evidence from multiple witnesses” that Perry played an “important role” in the efforts to install Trump loyalist Jeffrey Clark as acting attorney general, part of a plot to keep Trump in power despite his electoral loss.

According to the letter, both Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue have “provided evidence” to the committee about the plans to install Clark. The letter alleged that Perry had “multiple text and other communications” with Mark Meadows, Trump’s former chief of staff, about Clark via encrypted texting app Signal. The committee has requested a deposition from Clark, but Thompson wrote that Clark told the committee he intends to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones said he also plans to exercise his right not to self-incriminate. He additionally claims that his activity around Jan. 6 is protected by the First Amendment right to protected speech and journalistic activities and the Fourth Amendment right to privacy. Meadows sued the committee as well after providing documents and communications, hoping to prevent the panel from accessing his Verizon phone records. Organizers of the Stop the Steal rally that directly preceded the deadly riot have also sued the committee to keep their phone records secret.

“With respect to his deposition subpoena, Jones has informed the Select Committee that he will assert his First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendment rights to decline to produce the documents requested by the Select Committee, asserting that he engaged in constitutionally protected political and journalistic activity under the First Amendment, that the Fourth Amendment guarantees him a right of privacy in his papers, and that he is entitled to due process and the right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment,” Jones and his attorneys argued in a lawsuit against the committee filed Monday.

In the suit, Jones said the panel requested he appear for a Jan. 10 deposition and rejected his request to submit “written responses” to questions instead of in-person testimony. The suit claimed that the committee has issued a subpoena to AT&T for “virtually every phone call and text that Jones made” between Nov. 1, 2020, and Jan. 31, 2021. The select committee is “only interested in prosecuting political adversaries,” the suit said. Further, it argued that the panel has no “legislative purpose.” The suit also cheekily refers to the two Republican members of the committee — Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Mich.) — both as “purportedly” Republican members of the House.

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