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Trump special counsel subpoenas officials in three states for communications

The Justice Department has issued a series of subpoenas to officials in three states, nodding to an expansion of its inquiry into the false elector scheme pursued by the 2020 Trump campaign. 

A trio of subpoenas, first reported by The Washington Post on Tuesday, were sent in late November to county officials in Michigan, Arizona and Wisconsin. 

The subpoenas were among the first signed by newly appointed special counsel Jack Smith and are a signal the Justice Department is pushing ahead in two probes centered on former President Trump: the Jan. 6 investigation and the case tied to the mishandling of White House records at Mar-a-Lago. 

The subpoenas ask the county clerks — those for Dane County, Wis., Maricopa County, Ariz., and Wayne County, Mich. — to detail any communications with “Donald J. Trump, or any employee or agent of, or attorney for, the Trump Campaign.”

The documents then list 19 key allies of the campaign, a group that includes Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien and attorneys Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, Jenna Ellis and John Eastman as well as official campaign attorneys and advisers such as Boris Epshteyn.

The subpoenas seek any communications through Inauguration Day in January 2021.

The three counties that received subpoenas are in states where the Trump campaign suffered key losses to the Biden campaign.

That ignited an effort by Trump campaign officials to, in the case of Arizona, pressure local and state officials not to certify the election results or, in others, to send false electors as Congress geared up for a Jan. 6, 2021, certification of the vote.

Former Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers (R) testified over the summer before the House committee investigating the attack that he received calls from both Trump and Giuliani as they sought to challenge now-President Biden’s win in the state.

While they relayed claims of voter fraud, Bowers said they were never able to offer any evidence to back those claims.

“[Giuliani] said, ‘We’ve got lots of theories. We just don’t have the evidence,’” Bowers said during his testimony. 

“And I don’t know if that was a gaffe or maybe he didn’t think through what he said.”

The White House counsel’s office, aware of the effort, relayed that they had determined it was “not legally sound.”

Smith has issued a number of subpoenas since taking the special counsel assignment, likewise reaching out to British filmmaker Alex Holder, previously subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 committee, asking that he turn over raw footage from the riot that day.

While the subpoenas are the latest sign of the escalating probe, a number of former Trump officials have spent hours before various grand juries in recent days, including former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and his deputy Patrick Philbin. Adviser Stephen Miller was also spotted leaving the courthouse where several grand juries have been convened.

Zach Schonfeld contributed.