PHILADELPHIA — Federal subpoenas and search warrants delivered to Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania this week were the subject of some confusion, and a bit of clarity.
First the clarity: U.S. Rep. Scott Perry on Thursday said his attorneys were told by the U.S. Department of Justice that he is "not a target of its investigation" after three FBI agents confronted him with a search warrant Tuesday and seized his cell phone.
Perry first expressed outrage at that approach, which came while he was traveling with his family, instead of contacting his attorneys.
On Thursday, Perry released a statement saying he has instructed his attorneys to cooperate with the Department of Justice "to ensure 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.
That clause protects members of Congress from being sued for debates they engage in.
As for the confusion: The Harrisburg Patriot-News reported Wednesday that FBI subpoenas were delivered to the Capitol offices of several state Republican lawmakers this week. That story did not name any legislator receiving a subpoena.
The Patriot-News said the information sought centered on Perry and an effort to assemble an alternate set of electors from Pennsylvania as part of former President Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
That was one element of interest the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol wanted to discuss Tuesday with State Sen. Doug Mastriano, the Republican nominee for governor in Pennsylvania from Franklin County.
Mastriano, in the weeks after the 2020 election, pushed for legislation to create an alternate set of electors.
He refused to answer questions from the Jan. 6 committee, leaving his interview after less than 15 minutes and vowing to challenge in court a refusal to allow his attorney to record the session.