The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol on Monday sent a letter to a Republican congressman requesting his correspondence with the Trump White House about installing a Trump ally as acting attorney general in the final days of the administration.
While stopping short of a subpoena, Monday’s letter to Rep. Scott Perry marked an escalation in the committee’s probe as the panel attempts to corral Trump-allies in on Capitol Hill.
Mr. Perry, Pennsylvania Republican, has been accused of being involved in efforts to install former Department of Justice official Jeffrey Clark as attorney general to help challenge the 2020 election results.
“The Select Committee has tremendous respect for the prerogatives of Congress and the privacy of its Members,” wrote Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, the Mississippi Democrat leading the committee. “At the same time, we have a solemn responsibility to investigate fully all of these facts and circumstances.”
Mr. Thompson said the committee received evidence from several sources, including former acting Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen and former acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue, who allege Mr. Perry had “an important role in efforts to install Mr. Clark as acting attorney general.”
The committee said Mr. Clark was “involved in efforts to interrupt the peaceful transfer of power” after the 2020 presidential election, and that President Trump considered appointing Mr. Clark as acting attorney general as a result of his efforts.
The panel voted earlier this month to hold Mr. Clark in contempt of Congress after he failed to answer questions while appearing for a deposition. Mr. Clark cited the former president’s claims of executive privilege when he refused to cooperate with the panel.
Mr. Clark has indicated that he plans to assert his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination when he appears before the committee.
Mr. Thompson said Mr. Perry’s insight into the episode is critical for their investigation.
In the letter, Mr. Thompson referenced text messages between Mr. Perry and former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows sent during the period in which the White House was alleged to be conspiring to install Mr. Clark as acting attorney general.
The letter also references correspondence between Mr. Perry and others at the White House surrounding claims that Dominion voting machines had been corrupted.
The committee is requesting that Mr. Perry turn over “relevant electronic or other communications on these and other topics related to January 6th, including your communication with the Trump legal team, the former President himself, and others who were involved in planning the events of January 6th.”
The letter strikes a more cordial tone when compared to correspondence with other witnesses the committee has compelled to testify.
Mr. Thompson offers, for example, to work around Mr. Perry’s schedule in determining a date to meet with the panel and clarifies that Mr. Perry’s cooperation would be voluntary.
Still, the committee has left open the possibility of compelling testimony more from sitting members of Congress more forcefully through subpoenas as part of its probe.
In an appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Illinois Republican and a committee member, said some GOP Congress members could be responsible for the attack, but he wants to “let the facts dictate it.”
“Nobody — a member of Congress, former president, nobody — in America is above the law,” Mr. Kinzinger said.
Correction: A previous version of this report incorrectly identified Mr. Perry’s home state. He is from Pennsylvania.