Federal agents confiscated the personal cellphone of Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) while he was traveling on Tuesday with his family, the lawmaker says.
“This morning, while traveling with my family, 3 FBI agents visited me and seized my cell phone,” Perry said in a statement. “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.”
“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,” he added.
Perry invoked former President Donald Trump, who was raided by the FBI on Monday, in his statement.
“As with President Trump last night, DOJ chose this unnecessary and aggressive action instead of simply contacting my attorneys,” Perry said. “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.”
It’s unclear what the seizing of Perry’s cellphone was related to, but Fox News did note that Perry had been a target of the Democrats’ January 6 House select committee because he is a loyal Trump ally who was in frequent contact with the Trump White House.
FBI agents executed a search warrant on Trump’s Florida home at Mar-a-Lago because they reportedly believed that Trump held back turning over all the classified information that was supposed to be sent back to the National Archives earlier this year.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the FBI executed the search warrant “in part because they believed additional classified information remained at the private club.”
The report said that federal agents removed more than 10 boxes of material from the property, which is being sorted at a local FBI field office.
Agents were reportedly at the property the entire day and were dressed in plain clothes, leading staff believe that they were U.S. Secret Service agents, which is why news of the executed search warrant did not leak.
Trump’s Secret Service agents were notified about the raid only moments before it occurred. Trump had lawyers present during the raid while he was at his residence in New York City.
FBI agents looked in all offices and safes on the property and took numerous boxes full of documents for them to sort out at the local South Florida FBI field office. “They were not being judicious about what they took,” a source told Fox News.
Federal prosecutors opened a grand jury investigation back in May into Trump over whether classified material that ended up at his home in Mar-a-Lago was mishandled.
The main purpose of these types of investigations is usually for federal authorities to determine if any classified material was compromised so that intelligence officials can take steps to protect sensitive sources and methods. Prosecutors are seeking to learn every aspect of how the documents were handled from the time the documents left the White House until they were returned to the National Archives.
For prosecutors to be able to prove that a crime was committed, they would need evidence showing that the parties involved in removing the documents from the White House knew that the documents were classified and knew that removing them would violate the law.
This report has been updated to include additional information.