Congressman and Trump Ally: FBI Seized My Phone

Rep. Scott Perry slams 'banana republic tactics'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 10, 2022 12:30 AM CDT
Rep. Scott Perry: FBI Agents Seized My Phone
Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., questions Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 28, 2022.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

US Rep. Scott Perry said his cellphone was seized Tuesday morning by FBI agents carrying a search warrant, the AP reports. The circumstances surrounding the seizure were not immediately known. Perry, though, has been a figure in the congressional investigation into then-President Donald Trump’s actions leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection. Former senior Justice Department officials have testified that Perry, a Pennsylvania Republican, had “an important role” in Trump’s effort to try to install Jeffrey Clark—a top Justice official who was pushing Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud—as the acting attorney general.

In a statement Tuesday, Perry said three agents visited him while he was traveling Tuesday with his family and “seized my cell phone.” He called the action “banana republic tactics.” “They made no attempt to contact my lawyer, who would have made arrangements for them to have my phone if that was their wish,” Perry said. “I’m outraged—though not surprised—that the FBI under the direction of Merrick Garland’s DOJ, would seize the phone of a sitting Member of Congress.” The lawmaker, representing Pennsylvania’s 10th District, was cited more than 50 times in a Senate Judiciary report released in October 2021 outlining how Trump’s effort to overturn his election defeat to Joe Biden brought the Justice Department to the brink of chaos and prompted top officials there and at the White House to threaten to resign.

The Justice Department found no evidence of widespread fraud in Pennsylvania or any other state, and senior Justice officials dismissed Perry’s claims of fraud there. Perry has said his “official communications” with Justice Department officials were consistent with the law. The Justice Department’s inspector general conducted a search in June of Clark’s Virginia home. Perry slammed the Justice Department’s decision to serve him with a warrant as an “unnecessary and aggressive action.” “My phone contains info about my legislative and political activities, and personal/private discussions with my wife, family, constituents, and friends,” Perry said. None of this is the government’s business.” (The raid on Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate has led to a massive outcry.)

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