OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
The FBI appears to be widening an investigation following the agency’s raid at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., on Monday.
According to a report from PennLive, “Federal investigators delivered subpoenas or paid visits to several House and Senate Republican offices in the Pennsylvania Capitol on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to multiple sources.”
The report noted further that some of those who received subpoenas were not targets of any active investigation, but that could have information that is of interest to the FBI. At least a half-dozen sources contacted by the local outlet said that they had been briefed on the investigation in some way.
The information being requested centered around U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., and the effort to seek alternate electors as part of former President Donald Trump’s efforts to remain in office after the 2020 election, several sources said.
The Washington Post on Wednesday, citing a source familiar with the probe, also reported that Perry’s cellphone was seized Tuesday as part of the Justice Department’s criminal investigation into the use of fake electors to try to overturn President Biden’s victory. The Post’s source also spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Spokespersons for Pennsylvania House and Senate Republicans denied any knowledge of members being subpoenaed.
“I am unaware of any FBI presence in the Capitol or Leader Benninghoff’s office yesterday. To the extent House members or staff may have been contacted by the FBI, we would not comment on a potential or ongoing investigation,” Jason Gottesman, a spokesman for House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, told PennLive.
Jason Thompson, a spokesman for Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, issued a statement: “Federal subpoenas typically request confidentiality from the witnesses being subpoenaed in order to avoid impediment to the ongoing investigation, so it would be inappropriate to comment on whether members have received subpoenas or not. If subpoenaed as witnesses, our members will certainly comply with requests for documents or information not covered by an applicable privilege.”
The statement added: “We have no indication that any of our members are targets of any FBI investigation.”
Perry initially expressed outrage at the subpoena, which was handed to him by three FBI agents while he was traveling with his family a day after the bureau’s raid.
“This morning, while traveling with my family, 3 FBI agents visited me and seized my cell phone. 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,” he said in a statement. “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.”
Perry asserted in his statement that “as with President Trump last night, DOJ chose this unnecessary and aggressive action instead of simply contacting my attorneys. 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.”
Fox News reported:
Perry, a five-term congressman and loyal Trump ally, is an original member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and took over as the group’s leader at the beginning of the year. Perry was also a strong supporter of Trump’s repeated unproven claims that his 2020 election loss to now-President Biden was due to massive voter fraud.
PennLive reported further that late Wednesday evening, Perry’s office released another statement claiming that he is not a target of an FBI probe.
“In a discussion with the DOJ (federal Department of Justice), my attorneys were informed that I’m not a target of its investigation. I’ve directed them to cooperate with the Justice Department in order to ensure that it gets the information to which it’s entitled, but to protect information to which it’s not – including communications that are protected under the speech and debate clause of the United States Constitution,” he said.