WASHINGTON — The F.B.I. on Tuesday seized the cellphone of Representative Scott Perry, Republican of Pennsylvania and the chairman of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus, according to the congressman’s office.
Mr. Perry, who has been issued a subpoena by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, said three F.B.I. agents seized his phone Tuesday morning while he was traveling with family.
“They made no attempt to contact my lawyer, who would have made arrangements for them to have my phone if that was their wish,” Mr. Perry said in a statement. “I’m outraged — though not surprised — that the F.B.I., under the direction of Merrick Garland’s D.O.J., would seize the phone of a sitting member of Congress.”
His statement was reported earlier by Fox News.
Mr. Perry compared the seizure of his cellphone to the F.B.I.’s search of former President Donald J. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property Monday, in which agents took out boxes of materials after an all-day search related to an investigation into the mishandling of White House documents.
“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,” Mr. Perry said. “As with President Trump last night, D.O.J. chose this unnecessary and aggressive action instead of simply contacting my attorneys. These kinds of banana republic tactics should concern every citizen.”
Key Revelations From the Jan. 6 Hearings
Key Revelations From the Jan. 6 Hearings
Making a case against Trump. The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack is laying out a comprehensive narrative of President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Here are the main themes that have emerged so far from eight public hearings:
It was not immediately clear why the F.B.I. had seized Mr. Perry’s phone. A spokeswoman for the congressman did not respond right away to a follow-up question, and the Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mr. Perry has refused to appear before the Jan. 6 committee, and his lawyer has argued that there was “nothing improper” about his actions during the buildup to the attack on the Capitol.
In the weeks after the 2020 election, Mr. Perry was among at least 11 members of Congress who were involved in discussions with White House officials about overturning the election, including plans to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to throw out electoral votes from states won by President Biden, according to the committee. Mr. Perry also endorsed the idea of encouraging supporters to march to the Capitol, the committee has said.
A member of Congress since 2013, Mr. Perry also compiled a dossier of voter fraud allegations and coordinated a plan to try to replace the acting attorney general, who was resisting Mr. Trump’s attempts to overturn the election, with a more compliant official.
Mr. Perry is not the only ally of Mr. Trump whose phone has been seized in recent weeks. In June, federal agents seized the phone of John Eastman, the conservative lawyer who advised Mr. Trump on strategies to overturn the election.
The seizure of Mr. Eastman’s phone was carried out by F.B.I. agents acting on behalf of the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General. It came the same day that federal agents raided the home and seized the electronic devices of Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official who was central to Mr. Trump’s attempts to coerce the department’s leaders into backing his false claims of fraud in the election.
The inspector general’s office, which has jurisdiction over investigations of Justice Department employees, also issued the warrant in the search of Mr. Clark’s home. The warrant indicated that prosecutors are investigating Mr. Clark for charges that include conspiracy to obstruct the certification of the presidential election.
Mr. Perry was instrumental in introducing Mr. Clark to Mr. Trump, and pushing for Mr. Clark to be installed as acting attorney general.