Representative Scott Perry (R., Pa.), an ally of former president Donald Trump, said Tuesday that the FBI confiscated his personal phone one day after federal agents searched Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago in Florida, according to a new report.
“This morning, while traveling with my family, 3 FBI agents visited me and seized my cell phone,” Perry told Fox News. “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 added that he is “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.”
He told the outlet that his phone “contains info about my legislative and political activities, and personal/private discussions with my wife, family, constituents, and friends,” adding, “none of this is the government’s business.”
He called it an “unnecessary and aggressive action” and blasted the FBI for “banana-republic tactics.”
Though it is unclear from the Fox News report why agents seized Perry’s phone, the action comes three months after the House committee on the January 6 Capitol riot subpoenaed Perry along with House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy and Representatives Jim Jordan of Ohio, Mo Brooks of Alabama, and Andy Biggs of Arizona. All five Republican lawmakers had declined the panel’s requests to voluntarily cooperate. It is extraordinarily rare for a congressional committee to subpoena sitting members of Congress.
Perry condemned the panel’s dramatic move at the time, saying, “That this illegitimate body leaked their latest charade to the media ahead of contacting targeted Members is proof positive once again that this political witch hunt is about fabricating headlines and distracting the Americans from their abysmal record of running America into the ground.”
Perry, who supported Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him, was reportedly in contact with the Trump White House numerous times in the weeks leading up to the Capitol riot.
Trump released a statement on Monday saying federal agents had raided his private residence despite his having cooperated with authorities for months to return documents he allegedly improperly took from the White House after his term. The National Archives and Records Administration recovered 15 boxes of records in January, including items “marked as classified national security information.”
A source told the Washington Post that an inventory of unclassified items in the boxes recovered in January is 100 pages long. Recovered items include a cocktail napkin, a birthday-dinner menu, a phone list, charts, slide decks, letters, memos, maps, talking points, schedules, and more, according to the report.
The warrant for Monday’s search reportedly was obtained in Palm Beach County, signed by Bruce E. Reinhart, magistrate judge for the Southern District of Florida.
“After working and cooperating with the relevant Government agencies, this unannounced raid on my home was not necessary or appropriate,” Trump said in a statement.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday that President Biden was not made aware that the FBI planned to search Trump’s home at Mar-a-Lago before the action was carried out on Monday.
“What I can tell you definitively and for sure, he was not aware of this,” Jean-Pierre said of Biden. “Nobody at the White House was. Nobody was given a heads-up, and we did not know about what happened yesterday.”
Minority Leader McCarthy pledged to conduct “immediate oversight” of the Department of Justice if Republicans claim the majority in the House in the 2022 midterms.
“I’ve seen enough,” McCarthy wrote in a tweet. “The Department of Justice has reached an intolerable state of weaponized politicization. When Republicans take back the House, we will conduct immediate oversight of this department, follow the facts, and leave no stone unturned. Attorney General Garland, preserve your documents and clear your calendar.”