Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania now chairs the House Freedom Caucus. The Freedom Caucus has remarkable consistency in its leadership: Mark Meadows precedes Perry, which means that now two consecutive chairmen of the Freedom Caucus are closely involved in trying to get the white shoes of the previous president* to end the disregard The expressed will of the United States of America. It’s like the white collar equivalent of Al Qaeda’s number three, except prosecutors strike instead of Hellfire missiles.
According to Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony before the Jan. 6 select committee, Perry was at the center of a plan that was supposed to have the former president *accompany the mob to the Capitol. Additionally, Hutchinson told committee investigators that she saw Meadows burn documents immediately after her meeting with Perry, who had sought her help in obtaining a pardon from the former president*.as a politician Remind us:
The current chairman of the Freedom Caucus helped Trump craft a plan to replace Justice Department leadership with a more likely support for his baseless efforts to pressure states to overturn the election results. In addition, Perry regularly participates in strategy meetings and calls with Trump and other top aides, and on Jan. 6 the select committee resumed several meetings between Perry and former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows to discuss departmental leadership plans. text messages, and other matters related to the 2020 election.
Naturally, the Justice Department is very interested in Perry, especially his cell phone, and especially the evidence that people might find in it. Thus began a secretive tug-of-war between the Justice Department and Perry, with U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell appearing to rule in favor of the former late last year.
But in this case, nothing about legalization is forever. Also, from Politico:
In a sealed order issued earlier this month, a three-judge panel temporarily blocked a lower court ruling that would have given prosecutors access to Perry’s communications. The Dec. 28 ruling by U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell is the product of a months-long, secretive legal battle over the matter that began in August between prosecutors and attorneys for the Pennsylvania Republican Party. The legal battle — a setback first reported here by the Justice Department — exists itself to avoid public scrutiny as part of strict secrecy surrounding ongoing grand jury business. The protracted conflict was described to POLITICO by two people familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Inevitably at this point, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Friday involved himself and the monkey house he presided over in those maneuvers. McCarthy backed Perry’s contention that the Justice Department is not entitled to his communications because they are covered by the Constitution’s Speech and Debate Clause, which protects speech from outside scrutiny for members of Congress in the discharge of their professional duties.
After the story was first published Monday, McCarthy spokesman Mark Bednar acknowledged that the House had become involved in the legal battle over Perry’s communications. “The Speaker has long said the House should protect Title I privileges. This action demonstrates that new leadership is making protecting the interests of the House a priority,” Bednar said[…]In August, Perry filed a public lawsuit shortly after the phone was confiscated, challenging for the first time the Justice Department’s right to access his communications. He insisted that the speech or debate clause of the Constitution bars the government from accessing information he might send related to his work as a member of Congress. Perry will soon drop the lawsuit, and the status of prosecutors’ efforts to obtain his records remains unclear.
You may recall that Senator Lindsey Graham attempted the same recusal to avoid testifying before a special Atlanta grand jury tasked with investigating former president*s attempts to trace the state of counts. Graham took his case all the way to the Supreme Court, only to have it dismissed in November. If Perry’s efforts to protect himself go this far, he may well find himself dispatched as well. For now, everything is on hold until a February 23 hearing. Linear thinking on this shows, of course, the absurdity of arguing that speech and debate clauses would protect evidence of collusion to overturn an election—but linear thinking got sidetracked long ago in these procedures.
Charles P Pierce is the author of four books, most recently idiot americaA working journalist since 1976. He lives near Boston and has three children.