DOJ special counsel subpoenas swing state election officials for Trump communications

Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Smith to handle the DOJ's investigations involving the former president after he announced his 2024 presidential campaign.

Updated: December 6, 2022 - 5:22pm

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Department of Justice special counsel Jack Smith has issued subpoenas to election officials in charge of pivotal counties in swing states for records of their communications with former President Donald Trump and his associates.

Smith sent the subpoenas to officials in Wayne County, Michigan; Maricopa County, Arizona; Allegheny County, Pennsylvania; and Milwaukee and Dane counties in Wisconsin, according to the Washington Post.

Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Smith to handle the DOJ's investigations involving the former president after he announced his 2024 presidential campaign. Smith will handle ongoing inquiries into Trump's alleged possession of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida as well as any attempts to interfere in the transfer of presidential power in connection with the events of Jan. 6, 2021.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson confirmed to the Associated Press that Wayne County had received the subpoena and expressed support for the inquiry, saying "[w]e welcome and support the work of any law enforcement agency working to ensure full accountability for efforts to illegally overturn the fair and accurate results of Michigan's 2020 election."

In Wisconsin, Milwaukee County Clerk George Christenson said he would comply with the subpoena, but doubted his communications would reveal anything significant. 

"I don't see any issues with it. Many of those names aren't familiar to me, so I don't know how many of those individuals did reach out to us," he said. "For example, I don't recall receiving anything from Rudy Giuliani. I think I would have remembered that. But who knows."

"I don't expect to find any smoking gun," he added.

The subpoenas appear to confirm that Smith will examine Trump's efforts to challenge the results of the 2020 presidential election in key states. The 45th president has repeatedly claimed that massive election fraud cost him victory in that contest and irregularities in Michigan, Arizona, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have been focal points for his claims.

Smith does not appear to have yet issued any subpoenas to election officials in Georgia, one of the states that drew the most allegations of fraud from the Trump camp. In that state, an ongoing probe led by the Fulton County District Attorney's office is separately examining Trump's efforts and has already subpoenaed several of his top associates, including South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who testified in late November.

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