WASHINGTON – Two allies of former President Donald J. Trump took action Tuesday in an attempt to block the House committee investigating the attack on Capitol Hill as Michael T. Flynn, former national security adviser to Mr Trump, filed a lawsuit against the panel and a House Republican who played a key role in efforts to overturn the 2020 election declined to meet with investigators.
Mr. Flynn, who spent 33 years as an army officer and has become one of the most extreme voices in Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn the election, brought a complaint against the committee in Florida, trying to block his subpoenas.
“Like many Americans at the end of 2020, and to this day, General Flynn is sincerely concerned about the integrity of the 2020 election,” his trial says. “It is not a crime to have such beliefs, whether they are right or wrong.”
The House committee said it wanted information from Mr. Flynn because he attended a meeting at the Oval Office on December 18, during which participants discussed the seizure of voting machines, the declaration of a national emergency, the invocation of certain emergency powers in matters of national security and the continuation of the the misconception that the election was marred by widespread fraud spread. The meeting came after Mr. Flynn gave an interview to the right-wing news site Newsmax in which he spoke of the alleged precedent for the deployment of military troops and the proclamation of martial law to “remake” the elections.
Mr Flynn’s lawsuit comes as Representative Scott Perry, a Pennsylvania Republican closely involved in Mr Trump’s efforts to undermine the election, said on Tuesday he was refusing to meet with the Jan.6 committee.
Mr. Perry, the new chairman of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus, called the committee “illegitimate.”
Understanding the U.S. Capitol Riot
On January 6, 2021, a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol.
“I decline the request of this entity and will continue to fight against the failures of the radical left which desperately seeks to distract itself from its abject failures of crushing inflation, a humiliating surrender in Afghanistan and the horrible crisis it created at our border, ”said Mr. Perry. wrote on Twitter.
The committee sent a letter Monday requesting testimony and documents from Mr. Perry, the first public step it took in an attempt to elicit information from one of the Republican members of Congress who were deeply involved in the efforts. of Mr. Trump to stay in power.
The committee asked Mr. Perry to meet with his investigators and voluntarily hand over all “electronic or other relevant communications” related to the build-up to the riot on Capitol Hill, including his communications with the president and his legal team as well as ‘with others involved in planning gatherings. January 6 and objections to Congress to certify the victory of Joseph R. Biden Jr.
To date, the panel has been reluctant to issue subpoenas for sitting members of Congress, citing the deference and respect that House lawmakers are supposed to show. But Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and chairman of the panel, pledged to take such action if necessary.
“Representative Perry has information directly related to our investigation,” said Tim Mulvey, spokesperson for the committee. “The select committee prefers to collect relevant evidence from members in a cooperative manner, but if members with directly relevant information refuse to cooperate and instead try to cover it up, the select committee will consider seeking this information using information. ‘other tools. “
Mr. Flynn and Mr. Perry are among the small number of witnesses who did not cooperate with the panel. More than 300 witnesses met with investigators, most of them voluntarily without having received a summons.
There have been consequences for those who refuse.
The House has twice voted to detain Mr. Trump’s allies for criminal contempt of Congress, referring those cases to federal prosecutors. A grand jury has indicted Stephen K. Bannon, the former Trump adviser, who faces charges of up to two years in prison and thousands in fines. Mark Meadows, the former White House chief of staff, is awaiting a decision from federal prosecutors.
Mr Meadows and Mr Trump have filed a lawsuit to block the release of thousands of documents, after the former president asserted executive privilege over a wide range of documents.
Some key witnesses have opted for the tactic of invoking their self-incrimination rights to avoid answering questions. Jeffrey Clark, a Justice Department attorney who was involved in Mr. Trump’s plans to call off the election, said he would invoke the Fifth Amendment in response to questions.
Key figures from the January 6 survey
John Eastman, a lawyer who wrote a memo on how to quash the election, also cited the Fifth Amendment. A third potential witness, political agent Roger J. Stone Jr., last week invoked his right not to incriminate himself in every question posed by the committee.
Mr Flynn joins a growing number of potential witnesses who have filed a complaint against the committee seeking to block its subpoenas over data on their phone calls and text messages. Two other Trump allies, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and lawyer Cleta Mitchell, also filed a lawsuit this week to block subpoenas.
Four witnesses involved in organizing the rally that preceded the violence – Justin Caporale, Maggie Mulvaney, Megan Powers and Tim Unes – filed a lawsuit against Verizon, trying to prevent the company from passing cellphone data to the committee. Mr. Eastman also sued, claiming it was a “highly partisan” invasion of his privacy.
Ali Alexander, a conservative activist and rally organizer for the “Stop the Steal” movement who handed over thousands of pages of documents to the committee, accused the panel in a lawsuit of issuing “an illegal and overbroad subpoena” that violated his rights to liberty. speech and privacy.
In his lawsuit, Mr. Alexander said he was in contact with Republican Republican Republican Reps Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs of Arizona and Mo Brooks of Alabama prior to Jan.6.
“In January, Mr. Alexander organized a conference call to which members of Congress could have been present, and some were invited,” says the trial of Mr. Alexander. “He doesn’t remember who was there because there was no roll call of participants because the call was so important.”
Mr. Perry joined Mr. Gosar, Mr. Biggs and Mr. Brooks in a campaign to fight the election results.
In the weeks following the election, Mr Perry compiled a dossier of allegations of electoral fraud and coordinated a plan to attempt to replace the acting attorney general with Mr Clark. Mr. Perry also introduced Mr. Trump to Mr. Clark and communicated with Mr. Meadows through an encrypted application, Signal, the committee said.
Alain Feuer contributed reports.