Special counsel Jack Smith has sent subpoenas to local election officials in Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona, and Pennsylvania, asking for communications with or involving former President Donald Trump, his 2020 campaign staff, and a list of allies who helped him try to change the results of the election.
The requests were sent to Milwaukee and Dane counties in Wisconsin, Wayne County in Michigan, Maricopa County in Arizona, and Allegheny County in Pennsylvania. These are the first known subpoenas issued by Smith, who was named special counsel by Attorney General Merrick Garland last month.
Smith is in charge of the Justice Department’s investigation into the classified documents found at Trump’s Florida estate. He is also in charge of key parts of a separate investigation into the violent storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021, and Trump’s desperate attempts to stay in power.
Some of the subpoenas were first reported by The Washington Post. They are the clearest sign yet that Smith will be looking into the fake electors that Trump used to try to change the election count and certification. All of the states where requests were sent are ones that Trump and his allies targeted when they tried to overturn the democratic vote.
In Pennsylvania, for example, Trump’s campaign sued in court to try to overturn President Joe Biden’s win, but they lost. Meanwhile, Trump’s allies put together a list of electors who would vote for Trump and send them to Congress. Trump and his supporters also kept in touch with top Republican lawmakers, sometimes asking if the GOP-controlled legislature could be used to give lawmakers the power to change the results of the election. They said no.
Two of the subpoenas were obtained by The Associated Press. They ask for “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. This includes former campaign workers like Bill Stepien and Justin Clark, as well as lawyers John Eastman, Boris Epshteyn, L. Lin Wood, Sidney Powell, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuli
In Wisconsin, Milwaukee County Clerk George Christenson said he got a subpoena on Monday and is working with the county’s attorney to meet the request as soon as possible.
He said, “I don’t see anything wrong with it.” “I don’t know many of those names, so I don’t know how many of those people reached out to us. I don’t remember getting anything from Rudy Giuliani, for example. I think that would have stuck in my mind. Who knows, though.”
Christenson said he hoped the documents would help with the investigation, but he didn’t expect to give anything that hadn’t already been made public. Christenson said, “I don’t think I’ll find any smoking gun.” Scott McDonell, the Dane County Clerk, said he got a similar subpoena on December 1 asking for his communications with “the usual suspects.”
McDonell said that his office had only talked to Jim Troupis, Trump’s lawyer in Wisconsin, who was on the list. After the 2020 election, Trump paid for a recount of the votes in Milwaukee and Dane counties, which are the two most Democratic counties in Wisconsin. Troupis led the legal fight to not count tens of thousands of absentee ballots, including his own, in that election.
McDonell said that he didn’t think his answer to the subpoena would show anything that “hasn’t been talked about before.” “Like the other guys, I don’t have any stories about Trump calling me at dinner,” McDonell said. In Michigan, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson confirmed that Smith had sent a subpoena to Wayne County, but she did not say what was being asked for.
In a statement sent to The Associated Press, Benson said, “We welcome and support the work of any law enforcement agency working to make sure that those who try to illegally change the fair and accurate results of Michigan’s 2020 election are held fully accountable.”
Trump’s plans to change the results of the 2020 election in Michigan centered on the convention hall in Wayne County, which is in the city of Detroit. Trump said that poll workers there “were making copies of ballots,” which was not true. His campaign filed a lawsuit on Election Day, but it was thrown out. This forced election workers to temporarily stop counting votes in the state’s largest city.
A group of lawyers, including Trump supporters Powell and Wood, filed another lawsuit on behalf of six Republican voters who wanted a federal judge to throw out Michigan’s election results and take away its voting machines. The judge said no, saying that the request was “stunning in its size and reach.”
Angela Benander, a representative for the Michigan Department of State, said that the department didn’t know of any other counties that Smith had sent subpoenas to. Maricopa County, Arizona, also got a subpoena and will follow it, said Fields Moseley, a spokesperson for the county. Trump’s efforts to overturn the election and cast doubt on the results were centered on the county, which includes the Phoenix area and more than 60% of Arizona voters.
Trump supporters tried to get Republicans on the county board of supervisors not to certify that he lost in 2020. When they did, they kept trying to reach them as Congress prepared to count the electoral votes on January 6. Clint Hickman, who was chairman of the board at the time, avoided calls from the White House operator, who left voicemails saying the president was trying to reach him.
A spokesperson confirmed that a subpoena was also sent to Allegheny County in Pennsylvania, which is the state’s second-most populous county and is home to the city of Pittsburgh. The Pennsylvania Department of State and several places that Trump’s 2020 campaign wants to win, like Philadelphia and Bucks and Montgomery counties, wouldn’t say if they had also received subpoenas.
Tuesday, a spokesperson for the Justice Department wouldn’t say anything. Along with the DOJ, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has been looking into whether Trump and his allies did anything wrong by trying to influence the 2020 election in Georgia.
Colvin wrote her story in New York. Joey Cappelletti in Lansing, Michigan, Jonathan J. Cooper in Phoenix, Marc Levy in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Eric Tucker in Washington, D.C., all wrote for the Associated Press and helped with this story.
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