Justice Department criminal investigation now touches on nearly all efforts to nullify 2020 election for Trump



CNN
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Justice Department criminal prosecutors are now examining nearly every aspect of former President Donald Trump’s efforts to nullify the 2020 election, including the voter fraud plot, efforts to push unsubstantiated voter fraud claims and how the vote flowed. money to support these various efforts, according to sources and copies. of new citations obtained by CNN.

The investigation is also reaching into the cogs of Trump’s sprawling legal machine that fueled his efforts to challenge his election loss, with many of the recipients of more than 30 subpoenas issued in recent days being asked to turn over communications. with several Trump lawyers.

The sweeping effort has many in the Trump world concerned about the possible legal significance of being caught up in a federal investigation.

The flurry of investigative activity has involved seizure warrants, including one sent to Boris Epshteyn over his phone, according to multiple people familiar with the matter. Epshteyn remains a close associate of the former president and his fundraising and political operation.

The growing group of subpoena recipients also includes prominent Trump insiders, such as his former White House aide Dan Scavino, who continued to work for Trump after he left office.

The language and activity of the subpoena bring together the seemingly remote parts of the Justice Department investigation.

The Justice Department previously obtained grand jury testimony, conducted searches and found extensive documents about organizing rallies and fundraising, about efforts in and around the White House to pressure then-Vice President Mike Pence to block the certification of election results and false voters. . This new round of subpoenas goes deeper with more specific requests about the unsubstantiated claims of massive voter fraud that were being sold to lawmakers, law enforcement and others.

In one of the new subpoenas seen by CNN, along with demands for communication with a long list of Trump world figures and fake voters, investigators request documents related to the raising and spending of money. Prosecutors are interested in the funding of the Jan. 6 rally, bids to contest the results, and the Trump-aligned political organization formed after the election to push fraud allegations.

The assistant federal prosecutors signing the subpoenas are working as part of the team led by prosecutor Thomas Windom at the DC US Attorney’s Office, according to court records and multiple people familiar with the investigation. Two supervisors from the DC Federal Attorney’s Office also appear in the subpoenas, indicating that the latest sweep serves both the ongoing bogus election investigation and the prosecution’s broader mission of targeting planning violence before on Jan. 6, according to sources familiar with the team’s work.

The subpoenas also ask recipients to identify all methods of communication they have used since the fall of 2020 and to turn over to the Justice Department anything required by the House select committee that investigated on Jan. 6, 2021, either whether or not they have cooperated with the House panel.

“Now they’re bringing people closer and closer to the president to learn more and more about what the president knew and when he knew it,” David Laufman, an attorney and former federal prosecutor, said Monday on CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront.”

There is no public indication that the January 6 DOJ investigation overlaps with the federal investigation into the handling of classified documents of the Trump White House and the seizure of materials from Mar-a-Lago. However, the latest developments in the 2020 election investigation come as the document investigation has already put Trump allies on high alert for potential legal exposure.

While those around Trump have dismissed the congressional investigation into the Jan. 6 riots as policy, there is a palpable shift in behavior when it comes to the Justice Department probe, as allies and advisers acknowledge the importance to participate in a federal investigation. , according to several people in Trump’s orbit. Trump world figures now involved in the investigation claim the department is on a fishing expedition that is impeding privileged communications.

β€œIt is all very distressing for me as an American and as a prominent attorney for Donald Trump,” said Bruce Marks, an attorney whose communications are of interest to investigators, according to recently issued subpoenas.

Known for its leaks, the normally verbose Trump world has gone virtually silent following the dispatch of dozens of grand jury subpoenas in recent days. Some named have spent the last few days struggling to find the right attorneys and understand the scope of what the Justice Department is seeking from them. Others, already embroiled in other Trump investigations, know the drill: keep quiet until the dust settles.

The flare-up in investigative activity came just as the Justice Department runs into its so-called 60-day rule, an internal policy that discourages prosecutors from taking public action in cases that may influence upcoming elections.

Investigators previously searched for any record of interactions with a collection of a dozen Trump officials, mostly lawyers and those working with the fake voters, including Rudy Giuliani, Epshteyn and John Eastman.

But the latest subpoenas also call for communications with new names: Sidney Powell and Cleta Mitchell, high-profile Trump right-wing attorneys, as well as Marks, a Philadelphia-based attorney who helped with Trump’s election appeals and in a court case involving Trump. drew attention. where Giuliani tried and failed to throw out all of Pennsylvania’s electoral votes.

Marks told CNN Tuesday that he was among Trump’s attorneys after the election and frequently briefed and communicated with Giuliani and Epshteyn via text and email about post-election efforts. Epshteyn was helping Giuliani in much of his attempts to block the outcome of the vote that chose Joe Biden.

The warrant served on Epshteyn, seeking his phone, is another sign of how the investigation has intensified.

In June, the Justice Department seized the phone of Eastman, the Trump lawyer who spearheaded the wild legal theory that Pence could delay congressional certification of Biden’s victory. Federal investigators that month also searched the home of a former Justice Department official, Jeffrey Clark, who was at the center of Trump’s efforts to pressure the department to support his plans.

Former Hillary Clinton investigator reacts to Trump’s classified documents fight

Prosecutors’ willingness to obtain a warrant for Epshteyn’s phone suggests they view the campaign strategist, who is currently an adviser to Trump, as playing an integral role in Trump’s 2020 election machinations. pictures from his phone, he was also served with a subpoena for documents, according to some CNN sources.

Epshteyn did not respond to CNN requests for comment about the search for his phone. The New York Times was the first to report on the seizure of his phone.

The wider net the department is now casting is also evident in the types of Trump-world figures who received the latest round of subpoenas. They include former campaign manager Bill Stepien and Sean Dollman, who worked for Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign as chief financial officer, as well as Scavino, Trump’s former deputy chief of staff and architect of Trump’s social media presence.

Also subpoenaed was Bernard Kerik, a former New York City police commissioner who worked with Giuliani to find evidence of voter fraud in the weeks after the 2020 election, as did Women for America First, the advocacy group. Trump who organized the rally that preceded the attack on Capitol Hill.

Kerik was accosted by a handful of officers who tried to ask him questions, which he refused to answer, for which he was served a citation, a person familiar with the episode said. The agents asked him if he would be willing to speak with an attorney present. Finally, the agents gave him the document.

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