FBI seizes Rep. Scott Perry’s phone

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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. Clark had signaled support for Trump’s effort to call on state legislatures to reconvene and consider appointing “alternate” electors to swing the outcome toward Trump.

The Jan. 6 select panel subpoenaed Perry in May, but he has brushed off the summons.

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.

Similarly, the select committee received testimony that Meadows burned certain papers after meeting in the White House with Perry. Meadows was a founding member of the pro-Trump Freedom Caucus, of which Perry is now the chair.

The FBI’s confiscation of Perry’s phone is not without recent precedent. Authorities seized the phone of Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) in 2020 as part of an investigation into his stock-trading practices, though the Justice Department later ended its probewithout pursuing any charges against him. But Burr still stepped down from his chairmanship of the Senate Intelligence Committee amid the controversy and announced he would not seek reelection to his Senate seat.

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