DOJ subpoenas election officials in states challenged by Trump


MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Special counsel Jack Smith has subpoenaed local election officials in Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona and Pennsylvania, seeking communications with or involving former President Donald Trump, his 2020 campaign advisers and a list of allies involved in his efforts . to try to overturn the election results.

The requests, issued in Milwaukee and Dane counties in Wisconsin; Wayne County, Michigan; Maricopa County, Arizona; and Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, are the first known subpoenas by Smith, who was appointed special counsel last month by Attorney General Merrick Garland.

Smith is overseeing the Justice Department’s investigation into the presence of classified documents at Trump’s property in Florida, as well as key aspects of a separate investigation involving the violent assault on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and Trump’s frantic efforts to stay in power.

The subpoenas, some of which were first reported by The Washington Post, are the clearest indication yet that Smith’s work will include an examination of voter fraud that was part of Trump’s efforts to undermine the election count and certification . All of the states where requests were sent are states that Trump and his allies targeted as they tried to overturn the Democratic vote.

In Pennsylvania, for example, the Trump campaign unsuccessfully sued to try to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory, while his allies organized a list of Trump voters to send to Congress. Trump and his supporters have also repeatedly reached out to top Republican lawmakers, sometimes asking about using the GOP-controlled legislature to give lawmakers the power to overturn elections. They refused.

The subpoenas, two of which were obtained by The Associated Press, seek “any and all communications in any form” between June 1, 2020 and January 20, 2021, “to, from or involving” Trump, his campaign, lawyers and aides, including former campaign officials such as Bill Stepien and Justin Clark and attorneys John Eastman, Boris Epshteyn, L. Lin Wood, Sidney Powell and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

In Wisconsin, Milwaukee County Clerk George Christenson said he received a subpoena Monday and was working with the county attorney to comply with the request as soon as possible.

“I don’t see any problem,” he said. “A lot of these names are unfamiliar to me, so I don’t know how many of these individuals have contacted us. For example, I don’t recall receiving anything from Rudy Giuliani. I think I would have remembered that. But who knows.”

Christenson said he hoped the documents would help the investigation, but didn’t expect to hand over anything that hadn’t already been made public.

“I don’t expect to find any smoking gun,” Christenson said.

Dane Clerk Scott McDonell said he received a similar subpoena on Dec. 1, asking for communications he had with “the bunch of people you’d expect.”

McDonell said the only person on the list his office interacted with was Jim Troupis, Trump’s attorney in Wisconsin. Trump paid for recounts of ballots cast in Milwaukee and Dane counties, Wisconsin’s two largest Democratic counties, after the 2020 election. Troupis led the legal effort to not count tens of thousands of absentee ballots in that election, including his.

McDonell said he didn’t expect his response to the subpoena to reveal anything that “hasn’t been covered in the past.”

“I don’t have a story about Trump calling me to dinner like the others,” McDonell said.

In Michigan, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson confirmed that Wayne County had received a subpoena from Smith, but did not provide additional information about what she was seeking.

“We welcome and support the work of any law enforcement agency working to ensure full accountability for efforts to illegally overturn the fair and accurate results of Michigan’s 2020 election,” Benson said in a statement sent to The Associated Press.

Trump’s efforts to overturn Michigan’s 2020 election have focused on the Detroit convention hall, which is located in Wayne County. Trump falsely claimed poll workers there were “duplicating ballots,” and a failed election-day lawsuit by his campaign forced poll workers to temporarily halt vote counting in the state’s largest city.

Another lawsuit was filed by several lawyers, including Trump allies Powell and Wood, on behalf of six Republican voters who wanted a federal judge to decertify the Michigan results and seize the voting machines. The judge refused, finding the claim “astounding in its scope and astounding in its scope”.

Angela Benander, a spokeswoman for the Michigan State Department, said the department was not aware of any other counties receiving subpoenas from Smith.

In Arizona, Maricopa County also received a subpoena and will comply, county spokesman Fields Moseley said.

The county, which includes the Phoenix area and more than 60 percent of Arizona voters, has been a centerpiece of Trump’s efforts to overturn the election and cast doubt on the results.

Trump’s allies tried to pressure Republicans on the county board of supervisors not to certify his loss in 2020, and when they did, they continued to try to reach them as Congress prepared to record electoral votes on January 6. Clint Hickman, then the chairman of the board, avoided calls from the White House operator, who left voicemails saying the president was trying to reach him.

In Pennsylvania, Allegheny County, Pittsburgh’s second most populous state, also received a subpoena, a spokesman confirmed. The Pennsylvania State Department, along with several jurisdictions targeted by Trump’s 2020 campaign — Philadelphia and Bucks and Montgomery counties — declined to comment on whether they had also received subpoenas.

A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment Tuesday.

In addition to the DOJ, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis also investigated whether Trump and his allies attempted to illegally interfere in the 2020 Georgia election. ___

Colvin reported from New York. Associated Press writers Joey Cappelletti in Lansing, Michigan, Jonathan J. Cooper in Phoenix, Marc Levy in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report.

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