But the plan was in line with the posture Mr. Perry had taken since November, when he began falsely claiming that there had been widespread election fraud, and throughout that time Mr. Perry remained defiant. Faced with calls to step down because of his role in efforts to overthrow the election, Mr. Perry responded in one word: “No”.
Mr. Perry, a retired Pennsylvania National Guard brigadier general and Iraq War veteran, has previously been under scrutiny for his openness to the conspiracy. He baselessly suggested that the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas by a single shooter could have been influenced by “terrorist infiltration across the southern border”. and refused to support a resolution condemning QAnon, a pro-Trump conspiracy movement. (Mr Perry said he believed the resolution violated individuals’ right to free speech and that he did not personally endorse the movement.)
One of the first supporters of the “Stop the Steal” movement,
Mr Perry was one of 126 House Republicans who joined a legal case in December to support an extraordinary trial aimed at overturning Mr Biden’s victory. And he joined more than two dozen of his colleagues in urging Mr. Trump to ask William P. Barr, the attorney general, “to investigate the irregularities in the 2020 election.”
He opposed the certification of Pennsylvania’s election results on behalf of 79 other House Republicans, although he later recognized Mr. Biden as president-elect.
The plan Mr. Perry devised with Mr. Clark sparked a crisis in the Department of Justice. When Mr Clark contacted Mr Rosen with the letter from Georgia at the end of December, Mr Rosen refused to send it, according to four former administration officials. On January 3, Mr. Clark informed Mr. Rosen that he would accept his job at Mr. Trump’s request.
As Mr. Rosen prepared to meet Mr. Trump later in the day and fight for his post, his top deputies, including Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard P. Donoghue, and his outgoing chief of staff , Patrick Hovakimian, summoned the senior leaders of the department. during a conference call, according to five former officials familiar with the call.
They told department heads that Mr. Rosen’s job was under threat because of Mr. Clark’s machinations and said they would resign if Mr. Rosen was fired. They ended the call by asking their co-workers to think in private about what they would do if this happened. Over the next 15 minutes, all of them emailed or texted Mr. Hovakimian, saying they were going to quit.