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Who is Rep. Scott Perry, the Trump ally from Pa. whose phone was seized by the FBI?

Aug. 11, 2022 Updated Thu., Aug. 11, 2022 at 9:16 p.m.

U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., greets then-President Donald Trump after Air Force One landed at Lehigh Valley International Airport in Allentown, Pennsylvania in May 2020.  (Philadelphia Inquirer)
U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., greets then-President Donald Trump after Air Force One landed at Lehigh Valley International Airport in Allentown, Pennsylvania in May 2020. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
By Erin McCarthy Philadelphia Inquirer

PHILADELPHIA – You may have been hearing a lot about U.S. Rep Scott Perry in the days since the FBI seized the Pennsylvania Republican’s phone in connection with the investigation into former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. He also was a central figure in the prime-time hearings of the House panel investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

Perry on Thursday said the U.S. Department of Justice told him and his attorneys that he is “not a target of its investigation,” though the basis of the search of his cellphone was not immediately clear.

Here’s what you need to know:

Perry, 60, was a Pennsylvania state representative for three terms before being elected to the U.S. Congress in 2012. Now in his second term on Capitol Hill, he represents Dauphin County, as well as parts of Cumberland and York Counties.

What committees is Perry on? Perry is on the U.S. House Committees on Transportation and Infrastructure, and Foreign Affairs.

He also is the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of conservative Republican lawmakers that became Trump loyalists in recent years.

How has Perry supported Trump? Yes, Perry was a major player in Trump’s plan to overturn the 2020 election results in Pennsylvania and pushed the former president’s baseless claims of widespread fraud.

What is Perry’s role in the Jan. 6 investigation? In the hours after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Perry made a speech on the House floor in which he urged that Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes be thrown out.

In the landmark public hearings held by the House panel investigating the insurrection, more has been revealed about Perry’s behind-the-scenes role in Trump’s failed scheme.

Before the attack on the Capitol, Perry asked Justice Department officials to look into debunked conspiracy theories about election fraud, including a false report that there were more votes than registered voters in Pennsylvania, the committee found.

Perry also advocated for replacing Justice Department officials with those who would be more compliant with Trump’s plans to usurp the election results. He tried to help install Philadelphia-born attorney Jeffrey Clark as U.S. attorney general. Clark’s phone was also seized earlier this summer.

Did Perry ask for a pardon? Perry contacted the White House asking for a preemptive pardon in the days after Jan. 6, according to the House panel investigating the attack.

Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, testified Perry was among the Republican lawmakers who sought to spare themselves of criminal liability, saying he spoke to her directly about the pardon request.

Perry’s spokesperson denied he did so, calling it “a ludicrous and soulless lie.”

“At no time did I speak with Miss Hutchinson, a White House scheduler, nor any White House staff about a pardon for myself or any other Member of Congress – this never happened,” Perry said in a June statement.

What did Perry do before becoming a representative? Perry was raised by a single mother in central Pennsylvania. They lived in Harrisburg and then in Dillsburg, York County, where he attended high school.

He graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 1991 with a degree in business administration management.

Before his political career took off, he held various jobs, including mechanic, dock worker, draftsman and a licensed insurance agent, according to his biography. He and his mother started a mechanical contracting business out of their Dillsburg garage.

Was Perry in the military? Yes. He enlisted in the Army after high school and attended basic training at Fort Dix.

He transferred from the Field Artillery branch to Army Aviation upon graduation from advanced training. In 2011, he served as commander of the Fort Indiantown Gap National Training Site in Lebanon County. He also received a master’s degree from United States Army War College.

In all, he served for nearly 40 years, flying combat missions in Iraq and retiring as a brigadier general in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard in 2019.

Is Perry up for re-election? Yes. The incumbent will face Democratic challenger Shamaine Daniels, an immigration lawyer and Venezuela native, in November.

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