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Special counsel Jack Smith subpoenas Arizona, Michigan, Wisconsin officials for Trump communications in Jan. 6 probe


Special counsel Jack Smith has subpoenaed local officials in Arizona, Michigan and Wisconsin — three states that were central to former president Donald Trump’s failed plan to stay in power following the 2020 election — for any and all communications with Trump, his campaign and a long list of aides and allies.

The requests for records arrived in Dane County, Wis.; Maricopa County, Ariz.; and Wayne County, Mich., late last week, and in Milwaukee on Monday, officials said. They are among the first known subpoenas issued by Smith, who was named last month by Attorney General Merrick Garland to oversee the Jan. 6 Capitol attack case as well as the criminal probe of Trump’s possible mishandling of classified documents at his Florida home.

The subpoenas, at least three of which are dated Nov. 22, show that Smith is extending the Justice Department’s examination of the circumstances leading up to the Capitol attack to include local election officials and their potential interactions with the former president and his representatives. The virtually identical requests to Arizona and Wisconsin name Trump individually, in addition to employees, agents and attorneys for his campaign. Details of the Michigan subpoena, confirmed by Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, were not immediately available.

“I’m happy to participate in this process,” said George Christenson, the Milwaukee clerk, who confirmed the subpoena in a telephone interview Tuesday and provided a copy to The Washington Post.

The subpoena asks for communication with Trump and his campaign, including several key allies.

Christenson said he is not aware of any communications with his office that have not already been made public. But he speculated that federal investigators are hunting for new details about the Trump campaign’s efforts to convene illegitimate electors in key battleground states that Joe Biden narrowly won.

Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell confirmed receiving a similar subpoena.

“I am not aware of any significant communications that have not already been made public,” McDonell said.

Fields Moseley, a spokesman for Maricopa County, said, “We have received a subpoena and will comply.”

A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment.

The Justice Department’s Mar-a-Lago criminal investigation began this spring, after months of disagreement between Trump and the National Archives and Records Administration over boxes of documents that followed Trump from the White House to Mar-a-Lago, his Florida residence and private club.

Court papers say more than 300 documents marked classified were eventually recovered from Trump’s home, more than 100 of them taken during an Aug. 8 FBI search of the property. Some contained extremely sensitive government secrets.

The longer-running Jan. 6 case, meanwhile, has moved beyond the pool of people who directly took part in the bloody riot at the U.S. Capitol. For months, prosecutors have been scrutinizing the fundraising, organizing, and apocalyptic rhetoric that preceded that violent assault on the seat of government. The inquiry has also looked at failed efforts to authorize alternate slates of electors so Trump could be named the winner of the 2020 election.

Previous subpoenas, in Arizona and other battleground states targeted by Trump, have been issued to key Republican players seen as allies in his pressure campaign to reverse the results of the 2020 election. Maricopa County, the sprawling Arizona jurisdiction that is home to Phoenix and more than half the state’s voters, was among several localities on the receiving end of that pressure.

The Arizona subpoena was addressed to Maricopa County’s elections department, while the Wisconsin versions were addressed to the Milwaukee and Dane clerks. All seek communications from June 1, 2020, through Jan. 20, 2021.

The requested communications include those with Trump’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien, and other advisers, such as Boris Epshteyn. Attorneys identified include Trump campaign lawyers, such as Justin Clark and Matthew Morgan, as well as those serving in other capacities, such as John Eastman, Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell and Cleta Mitchell.

Those three subpoenas, while issued by Smith, were also signed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Burke.

Trump and key allies sought to avert his narrow loss in six battleground states through a lengthy pressure campaign. In Maricopa County, the pressure focused heavily on urging the GOP-controlled governing board to not certify the results.

The attack: The Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol was neither a spontaneous act nor an isolated event

Then-Supervisor Steve Chucri, a Republican, has said he met with Giuliani at the state Capitol in mid-to-late November 2020. In December, Giuliani tried to reach Republican supervisors Bill Gates, Jack Sellers and Clint Hickman by phone. Days later, Trump himself twice tried to speak to Hickman, then chair of the governing board.

The calls came on Dec. 31, 2020, as Hickman was at dinner with his wife and friends and again on Jan. 3, 2021, the same day The Post broke news of Trump’s conversation with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Trump had urged the Georgia election director to “find” enough votes to reverse his loss there.

Hickman, who had been told by Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward to expect outreach by Trump, let both calls go to voice mail. “Hello, sir. This is the White House operator I was calling to let you know that the president’s available to take your call if you’re free,” one voice mail said. “If you could please give us a call back, sir, that’d be great. You have a good evening.”

After the county board ultimately certified the election results, making them formal, Trump and his allies sought to discredit them by favoring what would become a months-long inspection of ballots and voting equipment ordered by the GOP-led state Senate. That haphazard review in 2021 affirmed Trump’s loss.

Some of the figures named in the subpoena were either involved in, or encouraged, that review.

Marley reported from Madison, Wis. and Wingett Sanchez from Phoenix. Matthew Brown in Atlanta and Rosalind S. Helderman, Perry Stein and Emma Brown in Washington contributed to this report.