Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024

Speaker Johnson appoints Trump loyalists to Intelligence Committee, pulling panel rightward

By 37ci3 Jun5,2024

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Mike Johnson named two conservatives to the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, allaying concerns about their past criticism of the intelligence community.

Johnson appointed Reps. Scott Perry, R-Pa., to fill two vacancies on a crucial House committee that routinely deals with sensitive national security information. and Ronny Jackson, R-Tex., appealed. Both men have strong ties to former President Donald Trump.

Perry is the former head of the House Freedom Caucus, a central figure in efforts to overturn Trump’s 2020 election loss. The FBI seized Perry’s phone in 2022 as part of an investigation into those efforts. Late last year, a judge ordered Perry to turn over cellphone records and release thousands of documents to government investigators as part of their investigation into the Jan. 6 Capitol attack and the events leading up to it. He used to be Perry’s attorney he said NBC News said the Republican had a “commitment” to investigate concerns about the 2020 election, which Trump lost.

Jackson is a former White House physician who served in the Trump and Obama administrations but was eventually demoted. “inappropriate behavior” reports during that period. The Inspector General’s investigation found that Jackson took the sedative Ambien while working as a White House physician and made sexual comments to colleagues and mistreated subordinates. He remains an outspoken ally of Trump.

“I think it’s all behind us,” the House speaker told NBC News when asked about the rationale for picking Perry, especially given the FBI’s phone seizure and investigation.

Johnson, R-La., highlighted Perry’s past military service, adding that Perry “brings a lot to the table. … He wanted to be on that committee for some time. And I think he will do a great job.”

Perry, for his part, launched a probe into his announcement of his new colleagues on the Intelligence panel accepting the new post, drawing the ire of some on the committee, including Rep. Gerry Connelly, D-Va. “I look forward to not only providing a fresh perspective,” Perry wrote X“but exercising actual control – not blind obedience to certain aspects of our Intel Community that often abuse their powers, resources and authority to spy on the American people.”

The expected seats on the Intelligence Committee remained open after two GOP lawmakers, Reps. Chris Stewart of Utah and Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, left Congress in the interim. Stewart’s location has been open since last September.

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By 37ci3

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