Accessibility links

Breaking News

Report: US Justice Department Issues About 40 Subpoenas in 2020 Election Probe


FILE - Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, Aug. 29, 2020.

The U.S. Justice Department has issued about 40 subpoenas over the past week seeking information about efforts by former President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election, The New York Times reported Monday.

The people receiving subpoenas ranged from low-level aides to senior advisers to the former president, the Times reported, citing people familiar with the investigation.

FILE - White House Social Media Director Dan Scavino listens to President Donald Trump speak during an event in the Rose Garden at the White House, Feb. 15, 2019.
FILE - White House Social Media Director Dan Scavino listens to President Donald Trump speak during an event in the Rose Garden at the White House, Feb. 15, 2019.

One is reportedly Dan Scavino, who served as Trump's White House social media director and has remained as an adviser to the former president. Another is Bernard Kerik, a former New York City police commissioner, who pushed claims of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election along with former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani, also a longtime close ally of Trump, the Times reported.

In addition, Boris Epshteyn, a longtime Trump adviser, and Mike Roman, a campaign strategist for Trump, had their phones seized last week as evidence.

The latest steps by the Justice Department represent a sharp escalation in its investigation into Trump's attempt to hang on to power despite losing the 2020 election to President Joe Biden.

The subpoenas issued over the past week sought information about two separate lines of inquiry. One is examining efforts by Trump associates to enlist fake presidential electors in battleground states won by Biden. The other is focused on Save America PAC, a fundraising group created by Trump after the 2020 election.

The inquiries grew out of the Justice Department's expansive investigation into the January 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters. That sprawling investigation, which has led to the arrest of more than 800 people, is ongoing.

The Justice Department is seeking any records or communications from people who organized, addressed or provided security for Trump's rally at the Ellipse in front of the White House that preceded the attack, the Times reported.

The Justice Department's investigation of efforts by Trump and his associates to subvert the 2020 election results has been eclipsed, in recent weeks, by a separate probe into the former president's handling of classified records after he left the White House in January 2021.

The more recent investigation came to light after the FBI executed a search warrant at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida on August 8, seizing nearly 13,000 items, including more than 100 classified records.

The FBI is investigating several possible criminal offenses in connection with Trump's retention of presidential records, including a potential violation of the Espionage Act and obstruction of justice.

The FBI investigation suffered a setback last week after a federal judge ordered the appointment of a special master and temporarily barred agents from using the records, including classified documents.

The Justice Department has said it would appeal the ruling by Judge Aileen Cannon unless she allows agents to regain access to the classified documents and bars the special master from viewing them. The department has given Cannon until Thursday to issue a "partial stay" of her order.

The Justice Department and the Trump legal team has each proposed two candidates to serve as special master.

In a late Monday court filing, the Justice Department indicated it would accept one of the two candidates proposed by Trump lawyers: Raymond Dearie, a federal judge on "senior active" status.

Dearie and the department's own candidates — retired federal judges Barbara Jones and Thomas Griffith — have "substantial judicial experience, during which they have presided over federal criminal and civil cases, including federal cases involving national security and privilege concerns," the filing said.

The Justice Department opposed the Trump team's other candidate, Paul Huck Jr., former Deputy Attorney General for the State of Florida, saying he "does not appear to have similar experience."

VOA Justice Correspondent Masood Farivar contributed to this article. Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.