Aug 9, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Rep. Scott Perry says FBI seized his phone

Rep. Scott Perry speaking at CPAC
Photo: Dylan Hollingsworth/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), the chair of the House Freedom Caucus, said Tuesday that FBI agents seized his phone.

Why it matters: Perry was a key player in the Jan. 6 select committee's public hearings in June and July, which featured testimony alleging he requested a pardon from the White House in the aftermath of the Capitol attack.

  • Perry has denied the testimony by former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson that he requested a pardon, telling Axios "this never happened."

Driving the news: Perry said in a statement to Axios, first reported by Fox News, that three FBI agents visited him Tuesday morning while he was traveling with his family and "seized my cellphone."

  • Perry said he is "outraged" that the FBI would seize a member of Congress' phone, adding 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."
  • "As 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," he said.
  • The FBI's search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort on Monday has drawn widespread rebukes from Republicans — though it's not clear whether the two are related.

The backdrop: Perry was involved in multiple aspects of the campaign to overturn the 2020 election in the run-up to Jan. 6, according to testimony to the Jan. 6 committee and a report from the Senate Judiciary Committee.

  • He pressed the Justice Department to investigate election fraud claims and championed Trump's efforts to install Jeffrey Clark, a vocal believer in the fraud claims, as acting attorney general, according to the Senate report.
  • The Jan. 6 panel has also revealed closed-door testimony alleging Perry attended a Dec. 21, 2020, White House meeting at which GOP House members discussed a legal theory that then-Vice President Mike Pence could unilaterally reject electors.
  • Perry also filed the objection to counting Pennsylvania's electors in the hours after the Jan. 6 attack.

The state of play: In recent months, the DOJ expanded its Jan. 6 probe, which initially focused on prosecuting rioters, to look at those schemes.

  • Clark, a former DOJ official, had his home searched and electronic devices seized by federal investigators in June, reportedly as part of that investigation.
  • Spokespeople for the DOJ and FBI declined to comment.
Go deeper