(WHTM) – Congressman Scott Perry (R-Dauphin) is speaking out after three FBI agents seized his cellphone as part of an ongoing Justice Department investigation.
On August 9, Perry said he was approached by agents armed with a warrant who took and later returned his personal cell phone. Perry says the agents “imaged” his phone before returning it.
“Nobody thinks or wants or has a goal of having the FBI visit them,” said Perry.
Perry says he is not the target of the Justice Department’s investigation and still doesn’t know how agents found him on vacation or what they were looking for on his phone.
Perry says if the Justice Department contacted his attorneys he would have turned over the phone, a method he said would have been a more appropriate way to deal with a sitting member of Congress.
“They did it that way it seems to me to be a public spectacle. I don’t really know what to make of that and I don’t get to know what any of this is about. It’s not easy to live your life on this ride when you don’t know where it’s headed.”
The congressman from Dillsburg has been a player in the January 6 investigation with his colleagues in Congress, and potentially the FBI, wanting to know what role he played, if any, in trying to force out a sitting U.S. Attorney General and overturning the 2020 election.
“I don’t shy away from tough issues or controversial things if I think it’s the right thing to do. That’s what I’m going to do and so this is where this has led me.”
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Perry says it’s not uncommon to object to electors, but it is uncommon for a congressman’s cellphone to be seized.
“Whether it’s making the introduction of a sitting assistant attorney general or whether it’s having questions on behalf of my constituents, my bosses, those are duties of a member of congress. So when I say ‘I’m not sure what this is about,’ I’m not sure what this is about.”
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.
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.
“I have to believe that a search warrant that involves a United States Congressman went all the way to the top and to (Attorney General) Merrick Garland’s desk,” said Dickinson College President and former federal judge John Jones. “They believe that had they given advance notice something might have been destroyed or otherwise scrubbed.”
Perry has not been charged with any crimes regarding the January 6 riot and the Department of Justice has declined to comment.
The Senate report outlined a call Perry made to then-acting Deputy Attorney General Rich Donoghue in December 2020 to say the department wasn’t doing its job with respect to the elections. Perry encouraged Donoghue to elicit Clark’s help because he’s “the kind of guy who could really get in there and do something about this,” the report said.
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.
The Justice Department found no evidence of widespread fraud in Pennsylvania or any other state, and senior Justice officials dismissed Perry’s claims.
Dennis Owens will have more of his exclusive interview with Scott Perry on abc27 News at 5.