Special counsel subpoenas election officials in 3 states in Trump probe

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FILE PHOTO: Pre-election rally held in support of Republican candidates in Dayton

By Brendan O’Brien and Sarah N. Lynch

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The special counsel overseeing two federal investigations related to Donald Trump has issued grand jury subpoenas to local election officials in Arizona, Michigan and Wisconsin as part of an inquiry into efforts to overturn the Republican former president’s loss in the 2020 U.S. election.

Two of the Nov. 22 subpoenas from special counsel Jack Smith that were sent to officials in Wisconsin’s Milwaukee and Dane counties sought “any and all communications in any form to, from or involving” Trump or his campaign between June 1, 2020, and his final day as president on Jan. 20, 2021, according to copies seen by Reuters.

The subpoenas also sought communications involving a list of Trump’s attorneys during the 2020 campaign including Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Sidney Powell, Justin Clark, Jenna Ellis and Cleta Mitchell.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland on Nov. 18, three days after Trump announced his 2024 presidential run, appointed Smith to take over the two Justice Department investigations. The other investigation focuses on Trump’s handling of sensitive government documents after leaving office.

A spokesperson for Arizona’s Maricopa County confirmed receiving a subpoena and said officials will comply, but declined to give further details. A spokesperson for Michigan’s Wayne County declined to confirm or deny the existence of a subpoena.

The subpoenas, first reported by the Washington Post, were issued just days after Smith, who has served as a war crimes prosecutor in the Hague, began his work.

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In the documents investigation, FBI agents carried out a court-approved Aug. 8 search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. About 100 documents marked as classified were among the thousands of records seized. Investigators also are investigating possible obstruction of the probe. The department has said 13,000 documents totaling approximately 22,000 pages were recovered.

The subpoenas sent to officials in Wisconsin, Arizona and Michigan resemble the ones previously sent to other witnesses including Republican Party leaders and state elected officials in key states from the 2020 election.

The Justice Department is investigating a failed attempt by Trump allies to overturn the 2020 results by submitting batches of phony slates of electors – for the state-by-state system that determines presidential election winners – to the U.S. National Archives and trying to block Congress from certifying Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory.

Reporters who staked out the federal courthouse in Washington on Tuesday also saw former top White House aide Stephen Miller enter the building to appear before a grand jury for the second time in two weeks. Miller is the latest former top White House and vice presidential staff to have appeared before a grand jury in recent months.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago and Sarah N. Lynch in Washington; Additional reporting by Katharine Jackson in Washington; Editing by Will Dunham and Tim Ahmann)

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