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FBI subpoenas Pennsylvania GOP lawmakers in 2020 ‘fake electors’ plot: report

Republican legislators in Pennsylvania received subpoenas from the FBI Tuesday and Wednesday as part of an investigation into a scheme to use false slates of electors to overturn the state’s 2020 election results and keep former President Donald Trump in office, according to a report. 

​​FBI agents delivered the subpoenas or otherwise visited “several” House and Senate Republican offices in Harrisburg, PennLive reported. ​

The outlet added that some of the lawmakers were told they are not targets of the investigation​, but could have information relevant to the FBI’s probe.​

The FBI is investigating a scheme to use false slates of electors to overturn Pennsylvania’s 2020 election results and keep former President Donald Trump in office.
Damon Higgins/Palm Beach Daily News via AP
Rep. Scott Perry.
Rep. Scott Perry revealed his cell phone had been seized by FBI agents.
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
A video featuring Rep. Scott Perry is played during the fifth hearing by the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the Capitol.
Rep. Scott Perry refused to meet with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot to answer questions.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

The news of the subpoenas broke one day after Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus and a Trump stalwart, revealed his cell phone had been seized by FBI agents.

Perry’s campaign released a new statement late Wednesday that said his attorneys had been informed by the Justice Department that he is not a target of the probe. 

“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​,” the statement said. 

After the initial phone seizure, Perry issued a statement to Fox News blasting the Justice Department and Attorney General Merrick Garland.

“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.  

“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 refused to meet with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot to answer questions about his involvement in a plan to install Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark as acting attorney general to overturn the 2020 election results. 

Perry, who has echoed Trump’s claim of fraud in the 2020 election, was also in contact with John Eastman, a conservative law professor and adviser to the former president, in the days before the riot.

Eastman, who also had his phone seized by the FBI, was the architect of a plot to use fake electors to give former Vice President Mike Pence a reason to decertify the election and send the count back to the states.

At that point, the Eastman theory went, Republican-led states would then select electors favorable to Trump and overturn the results of the election.

The scheme came apart when Pence refused to go along, saying he lacked the constitutional authority to decertify the vote count. 

Garland and the Justice Department are under heat for conducting a raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Fla., reportedly to search for boxes of classified documents the 45th president removed from the White House. 

Spokespersons for the Pennsylvania House and Senate Republican leaders did not confirm whether members of their caucus received a subpoena, PennLive reported. ​

“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 the news outlet.

Jason Thompson, a spokesman for ​Senate President Pro Tempore Jake ​Corman, ​said in a statement that there is no indication that “any of our members are targets of any investigation.”

“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​,” the statement said.​

“If subpoenaed as witnesses, our members will certainly comply with requests for documents or information not covered by an applicable privilege​.” 

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