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Houlahan asks Johnson to reverse Perry, Jackson appointments to House intel committee

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Houlahan asks Johnson to reverse Perry, Jackson appointments to House intel committee

Jun 11, 2024 | 5:31 pm ET
By Kim Lyons
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Houlahan asks Johnson to reverse Perry, Jackson appointments to House intel committee
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House Freedom Caucus Chairman Scott Perry (R-PA) and Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX) depart after a press conference on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on July 14, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania is imploring House Speaker Mike Johnson to “reconsider and reverse” his decision to appoint fellow Pennsylvania U.S. Rep. Scott Perry and Rep. Ronny Jackson of Texas to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. 

Perry, who is under federal investigation, would be a “threat to intelligence oversight,” Houlahan wrote in a letter shared with the Capital-Star. 

She cited testimony before the House Select Committee on Jan. 6 from Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide in former President Donald Trump’s administration, who testified that “Rep. Perry was a crucial part in the planning of January 6 and that Rep. Perry asked Trump for a pardon before he left office — indicative of someone who at a minimum believes himself to be above the law and above service to country,” Houlahan  (D-6th District) writes in the letter.

Johnson (R-La.) appointed Perry (R-10th District) and Jackson (R-TX), both of whom are considered loyal to Trump, to the committee on June 5. There was almost immediate pushback from members of Congress on both sides of the aisle over the appointments, which Punchbowl News reported Johnson made at Trump’s urging. 

Perry appointed to House Intelligence Committee

Houlahan, an Air Force veteran who also serves on the intelligence committee, notes that the body has oversight of intelligence gathered from military branches and federal agencies including the FBI and the CIA, and “plays a critical role in safeguarding our national security and upholding the Constitutional principles that protect American democracy.”

The FBI seized Perry’s cell phone in 2022 as part of an investigation into attempts to overturn the 2020 election. In December 2023, a federal judge ruled that Perry must disclose nearly 1,700 records from his personal cell phone to the investigation being conducted by special counsel Jack Smith. 

That investigation “calls into question Rep. Perry’s judgment and portends his lasting entanglement in ongoing federal criminal investigations and prosecutions,” Houlahan writes in the letter. Appointing him to the committee which oversees the FBI while he is under investigation “amounts to a disqualifying conflict of interests,” she adds. 

Perry’s office did not immediately reply to a request for comment on Tuesday.

Jackson, Trump’s former White House physician, was demoted from Navy Admiral to Captain in 2021, Houlahan notes in the letter, after a Department of Defense Inspector General report found he had “engaged in alcohol-related misconduct,” misused a sedative and mistreated subordinates in the White House medical unit. Jackson has disputed the allegations.

This behavior would disqualify any non-member of Congress from carrying any security clearance, let alone accessing the numerous extraordinarily sensitive compartmented security clearances that will be afforded to Rep. Jackson as part of  his responsibilities on the Intel Committee,” Houlahan argues in the letter.  

Jackson’s office did not immediately reply to a request for comment on Tuesday.

Jackson and Perry, Houlahan argues, are “unqualified” for the committee’s “sacred duty, and both have histories that make them more easily compromised by adversaries, if they are not already, creating a potentially grave risk to our national security.”