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Rep. Scott Perry, a top Trump ally, says FBI agents seized his cellphone

Perry, a Pennsylvania Republican who's chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, was subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 committee this year.
Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., during a news conference with members of the House Freedom Caucus outside the Capitol on Feb. 28, 2022.
Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., at a news conference with members of the House Freedom Caucus outside the U.S. Capitol on Feb. 28.Drew Angerer / Getty Images file

Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., said Tuesday night that the FBI seized his cellphone earlier in the day, less than 24 hours after federal agents searched former President Donald Trump's home in Florida.

“This morning, while traveling with my family, 3 FBI agents visited me and seized my cell phone," Perry said in a statement.

Perry, a top Trump ally, said the FBI "made no attempt to contact my lawyer, who would have made arrangements for them to have my phone if that was their wish. 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.”

In his statement, first reported by Fox News, Perry added that his “phone contains info about my legislative and political activities, and personal/private discussions with my wife, family, constituents, and friends. None of this is the government’s business.”

A lawyer for Perry, John Irving, said in a statement Wednesday that the Justice Department had informed Perry that he "is not a target of its investigation."

Irving said Perry had directed him "to cooperate with the Justice Department in order to ensure that it gets the information it is entitled to, but to also protect information that it is not entitled to," including communications with his lawyers.

The Justice Department declined to comment.

In his statement Tuesday, Perry had compared the cellphone seizure to the FBI's search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida, a day before.

“(A)s with President Trump last night, DOJ chose this unnecessary and aggressive action instead of simply contacting my attorneys. These kinds of banana republic tactics should concern every Citizen," Perry said.

Multiple sources have confirmed that the search of Trump's residence was linked to the handling of classified material.

Numerous GOP lawmakers and officials immediately bashed the Justice Department, Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Biden administration over the search at Trump's house. The criticism continued Tuesday.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., tweeted: "Criminals run rampant across our cities but Garland’s politicized DOJ is targeting President Trump and Members of Congress. Garland has lost the trust of the American people and will answer for his abusive tactics."

Perry has come under scrutiny by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riot. He was the first lawmaker the panel asked to interview, and the committee subpoenaed him this year after he refused its request. He later snubbed the subpoena, saying that the committee is “illegitimate” and that the “whole thing’s a charade.”

The panel has said it has evidence "from multiple witnesses" that Perry was involved in efforts to make former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark the acting attorney general during the final months of the Trump administration.

Perry is not the only Trump ally whose phone federal agents have seized. Lawyer John Eastman’s phone was seized on the same day in June that authorities executed a search warrant at his home in Virginia.

Both of those warrants appeared to stem from an investigation Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz announced in January 2021, three days after The New York Times first reported the extent to which Clark sought to help Trump use the Justice Department to push his bogus claims of election fraud. The inspector general’s website says the office is examining “the role and activity of DOJ and its components in preparing for and responding to the events at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.”