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DoJ subpoenas dozens of Trump allies in January 6 investigation

DoJ subpoenas dozens of Trump allies in January 6 investigation
Former US president Donald Trump during a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, US, on Saturday, 3 September 2022.

The Justice Department has subpoenaed dozens of campaign operatives and allies of former president Donald Trump as part of a broad effort to collect information related to the plot to overturn the 2020 presidential election, according to people familiar with the matter. 

The subpoenas were issued in recent days as part of the sweeping investigation that has been playing out mostly behind the scenes compared to the public battle that the Justice Department and Trump are fighting over the former president’s handling of classified documents, according to people who asked to remain anonymous speaking about the sensitive matter. 

Along with the subpoenas, the department also seized the phones last week from Trump’s lawyer Boris Epshteyn and Mike Roman, a campaign strategist who directed Election Day operations for the Trump campaign in 2020, according to the New York Times, which first reported on the developments. 

Epshteyn and Roman didn’t respond to requests for comment. The Justice Department declined to comment.

One of the recipients of a subpoenas was Bernard Kerik, former New York City police commissioner, according to his lawyer, Timothy Parlatore. The subpoena was very broad, suggesting that the Justice Department didn’t have a solid grasp of what it was investigating, Parlatore said in an interview late on Monday.

“This has to be the stupidest subpoena I’ve ever seen DoJ issue,” Parlatore said. “Usually DoJ’s subpoenas are very targeted. This looks more like a civil complaint subpoena that is more like a fishing expedition.” 

Kerik has already turned over information to the congressional committee investigating the January 6 plot, Parlatore added.

Taylor Budowich, a spokesman for Trump, said in a statement that a “weaponised and politicised Justice Department is casting a blind net to intimidate and silence Republicans who are fighting” for the former president’s America First agenda.

The subpoenas asked for information about efforts to create fake electors in swing states who would resist certification of Joe Biden as president, according to the New York Times.

Groups of Trump supporters from seven battleground states that the former president lost submitted slates of alternate electors to Congress to stop the final certification of Biden’s victory when Electoral College votes were formally counted on 6 January 2021.

In a new line of inquiry, some of the new subpoenas focus on activities of the Save America political action committee, the main political fund-raising conduit for Trump since he left office, the Times said.

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection has said Trump and his allies raised $250-million with as many as 25 email solicitations a day to supporters seeking money to fight election fraud – even though they knew the claims were false and the money was often used for other purposes. BM

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