Court documents that were inadvertently unsealed on Wednesday and later taken down revealed communications between Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., and former DOJ official Jeff Clark, one of Trump’s unindicted co-conspirators in D.C. who played a key role in former President Donald Trump’s post-election efforts, according to Politico.
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard litigation over special counsel Jack Smith’s effort to access Perry’s cell phone, on Wednesday unsealed documents related to the case, including a lower court’s opinion that described and quoted the text messages Smith had been seeking. The unsealed opinion was removed from the court’s public docket later on Wednesday, suggesting it was posted inadvertently, according to the report.
Former federal prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, who served on special counsel Bob Mueller’s team, tweeted that the court’s “gaffe” shows “evidence of Perry J6 complicity and how the DC panel ruled in a way to insulate him from liability” by overruling the lower court’s decision allowing Smith to access the evidence.
“This is a big deal,” Weissmann wrote, arguing that the messages show that “Perry was up to his eyeballs in support of J6 insurrection.”
One exchange took place after 11 pm on December 30, 2020, days before Trump sought to install Clark, a former DOJ environmental lawyer, as acting attorney general to pursue his debunked claims of election fraud. “POTUS seems very happy with your response. I read it just as you dictated,” Perry wrote to Clark, according to the documents.
“I’m praying. This makes me quite nervous. And wonder if I’m worthy or ready,” Clark replied.
“You are the man. I have confirmed it. God does what he does for a reason,” Perry wrote.
Former DOJ officials testified to the House Jan. 6 committee that Trump ultimately backed off the plan after senior officials threatened to resign en masse.
The messages underscore Perry’s efforts in helping elevate Clark to the acting attorney general job.
Perry’s messages to Clark show the congressman’s extensive involvement in helping to push his appointment as attorney general while Clark was pressuring top DOJ officials to send letters to state legislatures urging them to consider sending alternate slates of electors to Congress. Clark also had obtained a security clearance to review intelligence about potential foreign election interference efforts.
Perry indicated in one exchange that Trump personally approved a “presidential security clearance.”
“The disclosure of Representative Perry’s private communications, taken from the phone of a sitting Member of Congress — who has never been accused of wrongdoing — is unfortunate,” Perry attorney John Rowley told Politico. “The communications reflect his efforts to understand real-time information about the 2020 election. They were confidential and intended to address critical business before Congress in service of his constituents.”
The FBI seized Perry’s phone in August 2022, seeking all communications related to “alleged election fraud,” “efforts to install Jeffrey Clark as Acting Attorney General,” and contacts with Clark, his deputy Ken Klukowski, Trump, Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows, and Jan. 6 architect John Eastman and any discussions related to “overturning, decertifying, delegitimizing, challenging, or questioning the results of the 2020 United States presidential election in any state.”
The unsealed documents on Wednesday showed Perry discussing efforts to challenge President Joe Biden’s win with Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel and White House officials and lawyers in Trump’s orbit.
The documents showed that Perry was in contact with individuals working for TrumpWorld lawyer Sidney Powell, including Phil Waldron, a purported cybersecurity expert.
“Rep. Perry asked Waldron to ‘show me what you have’ and agreed to ‘fast track any questions/answers right to the leadership in the pa state legislature,’ and stating ‘[w]e’ll need a connection in the other states,’” the document says, according to Politico.
Perry also communicated with other House Republicans, texting Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, about “concrete evidence” of fraud in Michigan and Reps. Roy, Jody Hice, R-Ga., and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, about issues with “the Dominion voting system.”
In another exchange, then-Rep.-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., complained about “incompetence here in Georgia,” to which Perry responded, “Nothing can beat effective cheating.”