The Justice Department’s Jan. 6 investigation examines…everything
The subpoenas, three of which were reviewed by The Washington Post, are sweeping, covering 18 separate categories of information, including all communications the recipients had with dozens of people in six states where supporters of the Then-President Donald Trump sought to promote “surrogate voters” to replace voters in states Biden won.
A request is for any communications “to, from, or including” specific individuals related to such efforts in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Most of the names listed were bogus proposed voters in those states, while a small number were Trump campaign officials who organized the lists.
Taken together, the subpoenas show an investigation that began immediately after the storming of the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 and has cast an increasingly wide net, even as it gathers information on relatives of the former president.
“This looks like a multi-pronged investigation for fraud and obstruction,” said Jim Walden, a former federal prosecutor. “It strikes me that they’re going after a very, very large group of people, and I guess they’re going to make all the charging decisions towards the end.”
After being briefed on the different categories of information sought in the indictment, Walden noted the focus on broad categories of communications between individuals. He said he suspected it was part of a prosecution strategy to try to blunt any claims that Trump activists were merely following the advice of lawyers in seeking to block certification of Biden’s victory. .
“It’s hard to say you relied solely on all of these attorneys if there are text strings showing conspiratorial conversations or awareness of guilt,” Walden said.
Prosecutors seek information on Trump PAC fundraising
A subpoena is not evidence or even proof of wrongdoing, but rather a request for information that could produce evidence of criminal behavior. The new batch of subpoenas indicate three distinct but related key areas of Justice Department focus:
- the effort to replace valid Biden voters with unearned pro-Trump voters ahead of the official Congressional tally of the 2020 election result on January 6, 2021
- the rally that preceded the riot that day
- the fundraising and spending of the political action committee Save America, an entity that raised more than $100 million following the 2020 election, largely based on calls to mount pro-legal challenges -Trump of the election results.
Even these three prongs don’t cover other important parts of the Justice Department’s January 6 investigation, in which more than 870 people were arrested for alleged crimes of violence, trespassing and – in the case of two extremist groups that prosecutors say played key roles in the chaos — a seditious plot. Hundreds more are still wanted for crimes related to the riot.
The Justice Department’s inspector general is investigating a former senior Justice Department official, Jeffrey Clark, for possible conspiracy, misrepresentation and obstruction, according to a new letter filed in his bar disciplinary case. According to emails and public testimony, Clark tried to get the Justice Department to publicly express doubts about the election results, even going so far as to agree to take over the ministry from his then-boss, Jeffrey Rosen. , to do it. He denied wrongdoing.
In another sign that the Justice Department’s own role in 2020 is also part of the ever-growing investigation, the recent subpoenas seek any communication with “any member, employee or agent of the United States Department of Justice.” United, or any component, branch, litigation unit, or office” of the agency.
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The subpoenas reviewed by The Post also seek broad categories of additional information from recipients, which include former Trump aides and Republican activists. The subpoenas require recipients to produce, within two weeks, all documents and communications “relating to the certification” of the election, as well as anything “relating to or constituting evidence (a) tending to show that there was fraud of any kind in connection with the 2020 presidential election, or (b) used or relied upon in support of any allegation of fraud in connection with the 2020 presidential election”. Presidential election.”
It is also requested any documentation “relating to any information transmitted to you or any other person disputing, refuting, undermining, tending to show or affirming that there was no fraud during the presidential election of 2020, or purporting or tending to show that any allegation of fraud was unfounded, baseless, or incorrect in whole or in part,” as well as anything sent to any local, state, or federal official regarding allegations of voter fraud or efforts to persuade government officials to “change or affect” election results, “or delay certification of the results.”
Some of the people who received subpoenas said there was no way to comply within the two-week deadline because there were so many categories of information and so much to review., and some of the beneficiaries don’t even have a lawyer yet. It is not uncommon for subpoena recipients to request and receive more time to produce all requested information. Two Trump advisers said more than 30 people had received subpoenas in connection with the investigation, some of whom were low-level administrative staff. Trump’s team is arranging attorneys for at least some of the subpoenaed aides, according to a person familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the investigation.
Trump himself has not received a subpoena, according to a person close to him, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the matter.
More than 840 suspects had been charged in July during the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol
The flurry of subpoenas comes about two months after a similar wave in mid-June, which sought to contact dozens of individuals, including attorneys and Trump attorneys such as Rudy Giuliani, Bernard Kerik and d ‘others.
Kerik is among those hit with a subpoena this month, showing that the Justice Department, which was criticized by some lawyers earlier this year for not aggressively investigating relatives of Trump, now examines the conduct of many different categories of people – including some very close to the former president.
Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows received a subpoena earlier this summer seeking documents he had previously turned over to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack and handed over relevant records, said a person familiar with the subpoena, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the matter. The subpoena did not seek Meadows’ testimony or the documents he withheld from the committee by claiming executive privilege, the person said.
CNN reported Wednesday night that Meadows provided documents to a Justice Department subpoena. Another former senior Trump adviser, Stephen Miller, also received a subpoena. His subpoena was first reported by The New York Times.
Prosecutors are investigating Trump’s actions during the Jan. 6 inquest
After delivering thousands of emails and text messages to the House committee in response to a congressional subpoena, Meadows ended its cooperation with that panel, citing executive privilege. He also sued the House, seeking to overturn Congress’s subpoena; this case remains pending before the Federal Court.
“Without confirming or denying any interaction with the Justice Department investigation, Mr. Meadows’ position has been to adhere to his legal obligations with respect to the production and confidentiality of documents or testimony,” said George Terwilliger III, Meadows’ attorney.
Meadows is far from the only recipient of the subpoena who has been asked to provide the Justice Department with records he has already provided to the House committee.
But the new batch of subpoenas asks the others not just for everything they gave to the committee, but for any documents they have that would meet the committee’s request — indicating that federal prosecutors are trying to ensure that if the witnesses have encountered new elements, that they should provide that too.
The status of the main investigations involving Donald Trump
The request for copies of what has already been turned over to the Jan. 6 committee also points to a long-standing problem for the Justice Department — the House committee was slow to provide the department with access to committee evidence. , a potentially critical issue as prosecutors. are preparing to go to trial against members of the Oath Keepers group and others. The new subpoenas appear to be an attempt by the department, at least in part, to gather that evidence through other means.
Subpoenas also search for all “Documents and communications relating to the Save America PAC, including, but not limited to, documents related to the formation of the Save America PAC, the funding of the Save America PAC, and/or the use of money received by the Save America PAC.
In seeking information about the political action committee, the Department of Justice appears to be looking for evidence of fraud. Prosecutors must meet a high legal threshold to bring criminal charges in such cases.
“You have to prove that they knew it was a lie and they collected the money fraudulently anyway,” said a person familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation. “I’m not sure that any of the people [who donated to the PAC] would like some action.
The Justice Department has added fraud and public corruption experts to its investigative team, this person said, and is “fully staffed for business,” although, as the subpoenas reflect, that work is still in its infancy.