Criminal prosecutors at the Department of Justice are now examining nearly every aspect of former President Donald Trump’s efforts to nullify the 2020 election — including a fraudulent voter conspiracy, efforts to advance unsubstantiated allegations of election fraud and how money flowed to support these various efforts — according to sources and transcripts. From new subpoenas obtained by CNN.
The investigation also extends into the cogs of Trump’s sprawling legal machine that has bolstered his efforts to contest his electoral loss — several of whom have been asked to obtain more than 30 subpoenas issued in recent days to hand over communications with several of Trump’s lawyers.
This sweeping effort has many in the Trump world worried about the potential legal significance of falling into the trap of a federal investigation.
The flurry of investigative activity involved seizure orders, including one to Boris Epstein for his phone, according to several people familiar with the matter. Epstein remains a close aide to the former president and to the political fundraising process.
The expanding group of subpoenas includes prominent Trump lawmakers, such as his former White House adviser Dan Scavino, who continued to work with Trump after he left office.
The language of summons and activity brings together the seemingly remote parts of the Justice Department investigation.
The Department of Justice previously obtained grand jury testimony, conducted searches and obtained extensive documentation on organizing rallies and fundraising, about efforts in and around the White House to pressure then-Vice President Mike Pence to prevent certification of election results, and about fraudulent voters. This new round of subpoenas manifests with more specific requests about the unfounded allegations of mass election fraud being touted for lawmakers, law enforcement and others.
In one of the new subpoenas seen by CNN, along with demands to communicate with a long list of Trump world figures and fake voters, investigators are requesting documents related to fundraising and spending. Prosecutors are concerned about funding around the January 6 rally, attempts to challenge the results, and the Trump-aligned political organization that formed after the election to push fraud claims.
The assistant US attorneys who signed the subpoenas are working as part of the team led by Attorney General Thomas Windom in the United States Attorney’s office, according to court records and several people familiar with the investigation. Two supervisors from the United States Attorney’s office in the US capital also appear on the subpoenas, indicating that the latest sweep serves both the ongoing fake voter investigation and the prosecutor’s larger task of targeting planning violence before January 6, according to sources familiar with the team’s work.
The subpoenas also ask recipients to identify all of the communication methods they’ve used since fall 2020 and turn in anything the House Select Committee of Inquiry requests on January 6, 2021—whether or not they cooperated with the House committee.
“They are now including individuals closer and closer to the president to learn more and more about what the president knows and when he knew it,” David Loveman, a former federal attorney and attorney general, said Monday on CNN’s “Irene Burnett OutFront.”
There are no public indications that the Justice Department’s Jan. 6 investigation interferes with the federal investigation into the handling of classified documents from the Trump White House and the seizure of materials from Mar-a-Lago. However, recent developments in the 2020 election inquiry come as an investigation of the documents has already put Trump allies on high alert for potential legal exposure.
While those around Trump have dismissed the congressional investigation into the January 6 riots as a political one, there is a tangible shift in behavior when it comes to the Justice Department’s investigation, with allies and advisors recognizing the importance of submitting to a federal investigation. , according to several people in Trump’s orbit. Trump global figures who have now been swept up in the investigation allege the department is on a hunting trip that impedes privileged communications.
“This is all very sad for me as an American and as a prominent attorney for Donald Trump,” said Bruce Marks, a lawyer whose contacts with investigators are concerned, according to recently issued subpoenas.
Notorious for its leak, Trump’s world has gone virtually silent in the wake of dozens of grand jury subpoenas that have been sent out in recent days. Some of those summoned have spent the past several days seeking to find the right lawyers and understand the scope of what the Department of Justice is seeking from them. Others, already implicated in the other Trump investigations, know the drill – keep quiet until the dust settles.
The rush of investigative activity came as the Department of Justice ushered in the so-called 60-day rule, an internal policy that discourages attorney generals from taking public steps on cases that could affect the upcoming election.
Previously, investigators sought to search for any records of interactions with a group of a dozen Trump officials, mostly lawyers and those who work with fake voters, including Rudy Giuliani, Epstein and John Eastman.
But recent subpoenas also seek connections with new names: prominent right-wing Trump lawyers Sidney Powell and Ketta Mitchell, as well as Marks, the Philadelphia-based attorney who has helped with Trump’s electoral appeals and in a high-profile court case. Giuliani tried and failed to drive out all the electoral votes in Pennsylvania.
Marks told CNN on Tuesday that he was among Trump’s post-election lawyers and was reporting to Giuliani and Epstein and communicating with them frequently via text messages and emails about post-election efforts. Epstein was assisting Giuliani in many of his attempts to obstruct the outcome of the vote for Joe Biden.
The note given to Epstein, searching for his phone, is another indication of how to escalate the investigation.
In June, the Justice Department confiscated the phone of Eastman, Trump’s attorney who has led the far-fetched legal theory that Pence could block Congress’ 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 back his plots.
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Prosecutors’ willingness to obtain an arrest warrant for Epstein’s phone indicates that they see the campaign strategist – who is currently an adviser to Trump – playing a key role in Trump’s 2020 election machinations. When agents confiscated his phone and photographed him, they also presented him with a subpoena to obtain documents, according to to some CNN sources.
Epstein did not respond to CNN’s requests for comment about the search on his phone. The New York Times was the first to report that his phone had been confiscated.
The broader net the department now casts is also evident in the types of characters in Trump’s world who have received the latest round of subpoenas. They include former campaign manager Bill Stebbin and Sean Doleman, who served on 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 receiving a subpoena was Bernard Kerik, the 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 pro-Trump group that organized the rally. preceded the Capitol attack.
A number of agents approached Kerik and tried to ask him questions, which he refused to answer, so they handed him a subpoena, a person familiar with the incident said. Agents asked him if he would be willing to speak with an attorney present. In the end the agents handed him the document.