The Justice Department has stepped up its criminal investigation into a plan by President Donald J. Trump and his allies to create so-called fake voters in an effort to keep Mr Trump in power during the 2020 election while federal agents grand jury on Wednesday issued a subpoena sent to at least four individuals involved in the plan.
Among those who received a subpoena, according to two people familiar with the case, was Brad Carver, a lawyer and Georgia Republican Party official who claimed to be one of Mr. Trump’s voters in the state, which was won. by Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Another subpoena recipient was Thomas Lane, an official who worked on behalf of Mr Trump’s campaign in Arizona and New Mexico, people said.
A third person, Shawn Flynn, a Trump campaign aide in Michigan, was also subpoenaed, according to people familiar with the case.
A fourth subpoena was issued to David Shafer, the chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, who also served as a false voter for Mr. Trump.
The themes of the House Committee hearings on January 6
Mr Shafer’s lawyer declined to comment. None of the other three men could be reached for comment on the subpoenas.
The issuance of new subpoenas was previously reported by The Washington Post.
The bogus electoral plan is the focus of one of the two landmarks of the Justice Department’s broad grand jury investigation into Mr Trump’s multiple and interlocking attempts to undermine the election. The other has targeted a broad cast of political organizers, White House aides, and members of Congress who were variously connected to Mr. Trump’s incendiary speech at the White House immediately preceding the storming of the Capitol. on January 6, 2021.
This latest round of activity in the Justice Department’s investigation came during the high-profile Jan. 6 commission hearings on Mr. Trump’s efforts to reverse the election results.
It also comes less than a month after an earlier round of grand jury subpoenas revealed prosecutors were seeking information about any role a group of pro-Trump lawyers might have played in the spurious election efforts. Those attorneys included Rudolph W. Giuliani, John Eastman, Boris Epshteyn, Jenna Ellis, Kenneth Chesebro, James Troupis, and Justin Clark. While testimony before the House committee has provided evidence of the role of some of them in the plan, including Mr Giuliani, Mr Eastman and Mr Chesebro, it is not clear what role some of the others would have played had present. †
The subpoenas, issued by a grand jury in Washington, also sought data and information on other pro-Trump figures such as Bernard B. Kerik, the former New York City Police Commissioner and a longtime ally of Mr. Giuliani.
Many of the attorneys named in the subpoenas were also named Tuesday during the House Select Committee’s public hearing, which examined Mr Trump’s broad press campaign to persuade state officials to help him stay in office.
During the hearing, the committee for the first time directly linked Mr. Trump to the plan, introducing a recorded statement from Republican National Committee chairperson Ronna McDaniel, in which she related how Mr. Trump called her and Mr. Eastman gave the phone “to talk about the importance of the RNC helping the campaign rally these temporary voters.”
The initial subpoenas in the fake voter survey were largely sent to people in major swing states who almost joined the plan but ultimately didn’t for various reasons. This new round of subpoenas appears to be the first time Trump campaign officials have been involved in the investigation, marking a small but potentially important step closer to Mr Trump himself.
The plan to create pro-Trump voters in states won by Mr. Biden was one of the earliest and most elaborate of several plots by Mr. Trump and his allies to nullify the results of the election. Attorneys, state officials, White House employees, and campaigners and members of Congress were involved.
The plan was developed as Mr. Trump and his allies sought to promote baseless claims of widespread voter fraud in key swing states and persuade state officials to uncertify Mr. Biden’s victory. It was meant to have the pro-Trump slates in place by the time Vice President Mike Pence oversaw the official certification of the electoral votes at a joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021.
Mr. Trump and others close to him made a relentless effort in the weeks leading up to Jan. 6 to persuade Mr. Pence to count the pro-Trump voters and give Mr. Trump an electoral college victory. , or declaring that the election was uncertain because competing slates had been received from voters in several states.
The idea was to give Mr Trump more time to prosecute his baseless claims of fraud or possibly send the election to the House of Representatives, where each state delegation would get one vote. Since more delegations were controlled by Republicans than by Democrats, Mr. Trump could have won.
Adam Goldman and Glenn Thrush reporting contributed.