Skip Navigation

Speaker Mike Johnson appoints Rep. Scott Perry and Rep. Ronny Jackson to House Intelligence Committee

  • By Stephen Groves/The Associated Press
Congressman Scott Perry at a bridge dedication for SFC Randall Shughart in Newville on May 30, 2024. (Jeremy Long - WITF)

Congressman Scott Perry at a bridge dedication for SFC Randall Shughart in Newville on May 30, 2024. (Jeremy Long - WITF)

House Speaker Mike Johnson on Wednesday appointed two far-right Republicans to the powerful House Intelligence Committee, positioning two close allies of Donald Trump who worked to overturn the 2020 presidential election on a panel that receives sensitive classified briefings and oversees the work of America’s spy agencies.

The appointments of GOP Reps. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and Ronny Jackson of Texas to the House Intelligence Committee were announced on the House floor Wednesday. Johnson, a hardline conservative from Louisiana who has aligned himself with Trump, was replacing spots on the committee that opened up after the resignations of Republican Reps. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin and Chris Stewart of Utah.

Committee spots have typically been given to lawmakers with backgrounds in national security and who have gained respect across the aisle. But the replacements with two close Trump allies comes as Johnson has signaled his willingness to use the full force of the House to aid Trump’s bid to reclaim the Oval Office. It also hands the hard-right faction of the House two coveted spots on a committee that handles the nation’s secrets and holds tremendous influence over the direction of foreign policy.

Trump has long displayed adversarial and flippant views of the U.S. intelligence community, flouted safeguards over classified information and directly berated law enforcement agencies like the FBI. The former president faces 37 felony counts for improperly storing in his Florida estate sensitive documents on nuclear capabilities, repeatedly enlisting aides and lawyers to help him hide records demanded by investigators and cavalierly showing off a Pentagon “plan of attack” and classified map.

Johnson did not release a statement on his picks for the committee.

Perry, who formerly chaired the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus, was ordered by a federal judge last year to turn over more than 1,600 texts and emails to FBI agents investigating efforts to keep Trump in office after his 2020 election loss and illegally block the transfer of power to Democrat Joe Biden.

Perry’s personal cellphone was also seized by federal authorities who have explored his role in helping install an acting attorney general who would be receptive to Trump’s false claims of election fraud.

Perry and other conservatives have also pushed Congress to curtail a key U.S. government surveillance tool. They want to restrict the FBI’s ability to use the program to search for Americans’ data.

“I look forward to providing not only a fresh perspective, but conducting actual oversight — not blind obedience to some facets of our Intel Community that all too often abuse their powers, resources, and authority to spy on the American People,” Perry said in a statement.

Jackson, who was elected to the House in 2020, was formerly a top White House physician under former presidents Barack Obama and Trump. Known for his over-the-top pronouncements about Trump’s health, Jackson was nominated by Trump to be the secretary of Veterans Affairs.

He withdrew his nomination amid allegations of professional misconduct. An internal investigation at the Department of Defense later concluded that Jackson made “sexual and denigrating” comments about a female subordinate, violated the policy on drinking alcohol on a presidential trip and took prescription-strength sleeping medication that prompted worries from his colleagues about his ability to provide proper medical care.

Jackson has denied those allegations and described them as politically motivated.

The House committee that investigated the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol also requested testimony from Jackson as it looked into lawmakers’ meetings at the White House, direct conversations with Trump as he sought to challenge his election loss and the planning and coordination of rallies. Jackson declined to testify.

The presence of Jackson and Perry on the committee could damage the trust between the president and the committee in handling classified information, said Ira Goldman, a former Republican congressional aide who worked as a counsel to the intelligence committee in the 1970s and 1980s.

He said, “You’re giving members seats on the committee when, based on the public record, they couldn’t get a security clearance if they came through any other door.”

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »

Up Next
Regional & State News

Retired NASCAR driver Tighe Scott charged with assaulting Capitol Police during Jan. 6 insurrection