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10 Aug, 2022 04:12

Trump ally says FBI seized cell phone

The seizure is reportedly part of a probe into former president's efforts to overturn the 2020 election
Trump ally says FBI seized cell phone

US Federal agents have seized the cell phone of Representative Scott Perry (R-Pennsylvania), the lawmaker said, blasting the agency for “banana republic tactics” amid an investigation into the 2020 presidential race.

Perry announced the move in a statement on Tuesday, saying “3 FBI agents visited me and seized my cell phone” while he was traveling with his 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,” Perry said, adding “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.”

The FBI executed a search warrant against Perry soon after conducting a raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, reportedly as part of a probe into Trump’s handling of presidential documents, including classified material, which may have been brought to the Palm Beach facility.

While it remains unclear whether the two investigations are connected and the FBI has not offered a reason for the search warrant, former senior Justice Department officials have testified that Perry played “an important role” in attempts to install Trump ally Jeffrey Clark as the acting attorney general soon after the 2020 race, in the hope he would back the then-president’s claims of mass election fraud. 

According to a source cited by CNN, Perry’s phone was “imaged” by federal agents and returned to him later on Tuesday, noting that authorities would need a second warrant in order to access the device’s contents.

The lawmaker nonetheless condemned the bureau for “banana republic tactics” – echoing rhetoric from other Republicans following the Mar-a-Lago raid on Monday – and an “unnecessary and aggressive action.”

“My phone contains info about my legislative and political activities, and personal/private discussions with my wife, family, constituents, and friends,” he said. “None of this is the government’s business.”