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DOJ subpoenas Michigan elections department regarding Trump

Jocelyn Benson
Posted at 2:58 PM, Dec 08, 2022

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson confirmed Thursday that her office has been served a subpoena in connection with special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation of former President Donald Trump.

The subpoena, which Benson's office received on Wednesday, comes after Detroit's Wayne County and counties in other battleground states said they were issued subpoenas from Smith. This is the first known round of subpoenas by Smith, who was named special counsel last month by Attorney General Merrick Garland.

Smith is overseeing the Justice Department’s investigation into the presence of classified documents at Trump’s Florida estate as well as key aspects of a separate probe involving the violent storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and Trump’s frantic efforts to remain in power. All of the states and counties where requests were sent are places Trump and his allies targeted as they tried to overturn election results.

Benson declined to comment on what information Smith is seeking, saying in a statement sent to The Associated Press that “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.”

Jake Rollow, a Michigan Department of State spokesman, said Thursday that the department wasn't aware of any other subpoenas being issued in the state.

Two subpoenas obtained by The AP involving counties in other states seek “any and all communications in any form” between June 1, 2020, and Jan. 20, 2021, “to, from, or involving” Trump, his campaign, lawyers and aides, including former campaign officials such as Bill Stepien and Justin Clark and lawyers John Eastman, Boris Epshteyn, L. Lin Wood, Sidney Powell and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election in Michigan centered on Detroit’s convention hall. Trump falsely claimed poll workers there “were duplicating ballots,” and an unsuccessful lawsuit by his campaign on Election Day forced election workers to temporarily halt the tallying of votes in the state’s largest city.

Another lawsuit was filed by several attorneys, including Trump allies Powell and Wood, on behalf of six Republican voters who wanted a federal judge to decertify Michigan’s results and impound voting machines. The judge declined, calling the request “stunning in its scope and breathtaking in its reach.”

Michigan was also one of seven states where GOP officials submitted alternative Electoral College certificates despite Democrat Joe Biden defeating Trump in their states.