Special counsel Jack Smith has sent a grand jury subpoena to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, bringing to five the number of 2020 battleground states where state or local election officials are known to have received such requests for any and all communications with Trump, his campaign and a long list of aides and allies.
State and local officials in Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have received similar subpoenas — all of them, like Georgia, central to President Donald Trump’s failed plan to stay in power after the 2020 election. State and local officials in Nevada, the other contested battleground from 2020, did not respond or declined to say whether they had heard from the Department of Justice.
Raffensperger shot to prominence following a Jan. 2, 2021, phone call with Trump in which the president urged him to “find” enough votes to reverse his defeat in Georgia.
The requests for records arrived in Milwaukee and Dane County, Wis.; Maricopa County, Ariz.; and Wayne County, Mich., over the first few days of December. Since then, the secretaries of state in Arizona and Michigan have received similar requests, as has Allegheny County, Pa., home to Pittsburgh. Officials in Philadelphia and with the Pennsylvania Department of State declined to comment. The Associated Press first reported the Allegheny subpoena.
Together, they are among the first known subpoenas issued since Smith was named last month by Attorney General Merrick Garland to oversee Trump-related aspects of the investigation of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, as well as the criminal probe of Trump’s possible mishandling of classified documents at his Florida home and private club.
“I can confirm that my office was served a subpoena in connection with the special counsel’s investigation this morning,” said Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson last week. “The Department of Justice has asked that we not disclose the contents of the subpoena to prevent harming the investigation, and we will honor that request.”
A spokeswoman for Raffensperger declined to comment on the subpoena, which was obtained by The Washington Post.
The Georgia subpoena, which is dated Dec. 9, adds to the evidence that the Justice Department is extending its examination of the circumstances leading up to the Capitol attack to include local and state election officials and their potential interactions with the former president and his representatives related to the 2020 election.
The virtually identical requests seek communications with Trump, in addition to employees, agents and attorneys for his campaign.
The Department of Justice’s long-running Jan. 6 investigation has moved beyond the large pool of people who directly took part in the bloody riot at the U.S. Capitol to focus on other aspects of the attempts to overturn the election results. Prosecutors are examining the fundraising, organizing and rhetoric that preceded the riot, and looking at failed efforts to authorize alternate slates of electors. They secured subpoenas this spring and summer for communications between Trump’s inner circle and scores of campaign officials, potential electors and others.
After Trump declared last month that he would again seek the White House in 2024, Garland appointed Smith, a longtime federal prosecutor who once headed the Justice Department’s public corruption section, to oversee the elements of the Jan. 6 investigation potentially related to the former president.
Smith also is overseeing the Mar-a-Lago criminal investigation, which began this spring, after months of disagreement between Trump and the National Archives and Records Administration over boxes of documents that followed the former president from the White House to Mar-a-Lago, his Florida residence and private club.
Previous subpoenas, in Arizona and other battleground states targeted by Trump, have been issued to key Republican players seen as allies in his pressure campaign to reverse the results of the 2020 election. Maricopa County, the sprawling Arizona jurisdiction that is home to Phoenix and more than half the state’s voters, was among several localities on the receiving end of that pressure.
The requested communications include those with Trump’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien, and other advisers, such as Boris Epshteyn. Attorneys identified include Trump campaign lawyers Justin Clark and Matthew Morgan, as well as those serving in other capacities, such as John Eastman, Rudolph Giuliani, Sidney Powell and Cleta Mitchell.
The subpoenas, while sent out by Smith, were also signed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Burke.
Yvonne Wingett Sanchez contributed to this report from Phoenix.