One day after the search at Trump’s home, the FBI has taken the personal cell phone of Rep. Scott Perry, a Republican from Pennsylvania. Rep. Perry gave an exclusive statement to Fox News about what happened.
“This morning, while traveling with my family, 3 FBI agents visited me and seized my cell phone. They 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,” Perry said in his statement. “My 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.”
Perry asserted in his statement that “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 — especially considering the decision before Congress this week to hire 87,000 new IRS agents to further persecute law-abiding Citizens.”
Rep. Perry is a close ally of President Trump so at first glance it seems unlikely that this is just a coincidence. Politico reports that Perry has been a target of the Jan. 6 investigation but also doesn’t rule out that this is connected to the documents being sought at Trump’s home.
Perry’s statement didn’t detail what the FBI wanted from his phone, but he has been a figure of interest to congressional investigators probing Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election. Perry, a key ally in that effort, pressed Trump to replace Justice Department leaders and install a little-known official, Jeffrey Clark, atop the department…
The Justice Department’s interest in Perry may relate to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, but it may also intersect with the probe of Trump’s handling of White House records. The Jan. 6 committee revealed in April that Perry and Trump’s last chief of staff, Mark Meadows, communicated by the encrypted messaging app Signal about matters connected to the 2020 election — and it’s unclear whether either man retained those messages.
Jeffrey Clark’s home was searched in June:
Federal investigators carried out an early-morning search on Wednesday at the home of Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official, in connection with the department’s sprawling criminal inquiry into efforts to overturn the 2020 election, people familiar with the matter and an associate of Mr. Clark said.
It remained unclear exactly what the investigators may have been looking for. But Mr. Clark was central to President Donald J. Trump’s unsuccessful effort in late 2020 to strong-arm the nation’s top prosecutors into supporting his claims of election fraud, and the search suggested that the criminal investigation could be moving closer to Mr. Trump.
The search of Clark’s home was definitely about Jan. 6 and it sounds like the seizure of Perry’s phone could also have been about that. Does that indicate the search for documents at Trump’s home was also about Jan. 6?
So far, numerous reports, including the Washington Post story I just wrote about here, have suggested that wasn’t the case, that this was about retrieval of documents wanted by the National Archives. But again, the fact that these both happened the same week makes it appear connected.
As I mentioned in that earlier story, the FBI has a rule about not getting involved in political matters 90 days before an election. Today is 91 days before the next election. So maybe these weren’t connected but were just outstanding matters the FBI had to either resolve this week or wait until after the election.