Rep. Scott Perry's 'critical link' to Jan. 6 insurrection prompted FBI seizure of his phone

FBI agents have seized the cell phone belonging to Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) less than 24 hours after searching Donald Trump's home in Florida, and the highly unusual move signals he's a new target in the Jan. 6 probe.

The Pennsylvania Republican is hardly a household name, but he has figured prominently in testimony in public hearings of the Jan. 6 committee, where witnesses have testified that Perry played a central role in the former president's attempt to remain in power and sought a pardon for his efforts, wrote MSNBC columnist Steve Benen.

“To anyone who in past 24 hours indicated the Department of Justice was principally interested in document removal,” legal expert Norman Eisen told the Washington Post. “[Trump’s] documents are one strand, but this is a reminder there is another important strand.”

Perry connected White House chief of staff Mark Meadows with then-assistant attorney general Jeffrey Clark, who he pushed as a possible replacement for acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen, and he also promoted a conspiracy theory into the highest levels of the orbit claiming that Italian satellites were somehow used to change votes to favor Joe Biden.

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The lawmaker also allegedly attended a Dec. 21, 2020, meeting at the White House to discuss ways to keep Trump in power, and he was among the attendees who later asked for a pre-emptive pardon.

Perry's phone was searched weeks after Trump attorney John Eastman's phone was seized and a search warrant executed at Clark's house, so the latest move appears to be connected with that investigation.

"All appearances suggest it did not take long to cull information and to find a critical link to Perry from there," wrote Post columnist Jennifer Rubin. "The available testimony indicates it certainly would be logical for investigators to pursue Perry after a review of Clark’s phone."