The investigation is also moving into the gears of the Trump legal machine that ramped up efforts to fight the election loss — many of the recipients of more than 30 subpoenas issued in recent days have been asked to turn over communications with some of Trump’s lawyers. .
The massive effort has many in the Trump world worried about the potential legal implications of being caught up in a federal investigation.
The investigative activity has included seizure warrants, including one served on Boris Epshteyn for his phone, according to multiple people familiar with the matter. Epshteyn remains a close aide to the former president and his political and fundraising operations.
The pool of subpoena recipients also includes prominent Trump deputies, such as his former White House adviser Dan Scavino, who continued to work for Trump after he left office.
The subpoena’s language and activity covers seemingly remote parts of the DOJ’s investigation.
The Justice Department obtained grand jury testimony, searches and obtained extensive documents about the rally’s organization and fundraising, efforts in and around the White House to block then-Vice President Mike Pence from certifying the election results, and voter fraud. . This new set of subpoenas digs deeper with more specific requests about massive election fraud that was sold to lawmakers, law enforcement and others.
In one of the new subpoenas seen by CNN, along with communications demands for a long list of Trump world figures and bogus voters, investigators are asking for documents related to fundraising and spending. Prosecutors said the funding surrounding the January 6 rally, bids to challenge the results and the formation of a Trump-aligned political organization after the election to push claims of fraud.
The assistant U.S. attorneys signing the subpoenas are working on a team led by U.S. Attorney Thomas Windom in the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office, according to court filings and multiple people familiar with the investigation. The subpoenas also include two inspectors from the D.C. US Attorney’s Office, which has indicated that the investigation and prosecution of the recent voter fraud investigation serves to target planning for violence before Jan. 6, according to sources familiar with the group’s work.
The subpoenas require the recipients to identify all methods of communication they have used since the fall of 2020 and to turn over to the DOJ everything requested by the House Select Committee investigating on Jan. 6, 2021 — whether or not they cooperated with the House panel. .
“Now they’re gathering people who are closer and closer to the president to learn more and more about what the president knew and when he knew it,” David Laufman, a former federal attorney and prosecutor, said on CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront” on Monday.
While those close to Trump have dismissed the congressional investigation into the Jan. 6 incident as a political one, there is an apparent shift in attitude toward the Justice Department investigation, with allies and advisers acknowledging the importance of being included in a federal investigation. , according to several people in Trump’s orbit. Trump-world figures now gathered in the investigation say the department is on a fishing expedition that intercepts privileged communications.
“It’s very troubling to me as an American and as a prominent lawyer for Donald Trump,” said Bruce Marks, an attorney whose communications are of interest to investigators, according to newly issued subpoenas.
Known for leaking, the normally verbal Trump world has been virtually silenced by dozens of grand jury subpoenas in recent days. Some subpoenas have spent the last few days scrambling to find the right lawyers and understand the scope of what the Justice Department is seeking from them. Others, already embroiled in other Trump investigations, know the drill: keep quiet until the dust settles.
Aggressive new phase as quiet pre-election period begins
The flurry of investigative activity comes as the Justice Department enforces what’s known as the 60-day rule, an internal policy that discourages prosecutors from taking public steps in cases that could affect an upcoming election.
Previously, investigators sought records of interactions with a dozen Trump officials, primarily lawyers and those working with voter fraud, including Rudy Giuliani, Epshteyn and John Eastman.
But the latest subpoenas also seek communications with new names: prominent right-wing Trump lawyers Sidney Powell and Cleta Mitchell, as well as Marks, a Philadelphia lawyer who helped Trump in his election appeals and in a high-profile court case. where Giuliani tried and failed to throw out all of Pennsylvania’s electoral votes.
Marks told CNN on Tuesday that he was among Trump’s lawyers after the election and was frequently briefing and communicating with Giuliani and Epshteyn about his post-election efforts via text messages and emails. Epshteyn was helping Giuliani in his attempts to block the outcome of the vote that chose Joe Biden.
The warrant issued to Epshteyn, looking for his phone, is another sign of how the probe has intensified.
In June, the Justice Department intercepted the phone of Eastman, Trump’s lawyer, on the far-fetched legal theory that Pence could have certified Biden’s victory. Federal investigators that month raided the home of former DOJ official Jeffrey Clark, who was at the center of Trump’s efforts to get the department to help with his plots.
Prosecutors’ willingness to obtain a warrant for Epshteyn’s phone suggests they see the campaign strategist — now a Trump adviser — as part of Trump’s 2020 election machine. When agents seized and photographed the phone, they also subpoenaed him for documents, according to CNN’s sources.
Epshteyn did not respond to CNN’s requests for comment on the search of his phone. The New York Times was the first to report the phone’s seizure.
The wider net the department is now casting is also evident in the types of Trump-world figures who have received the latest round of subpoenas. They include former campaign manager Bill Stepien and Sean Dollman, who worked on Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign as finance directors, as well as Scavino, Trump’s former deputy chief of staff and architect of Trump’s social media presence.
Also subpoenaed were Bernard Keri, the former New York police commissioner who worked with Giuliani to uncover evidence of voter fraud in the weeks after the 2020 election, as well as Women for America First, the pro-Trump group that organized the rally. Before the attack on the Capitol.
Keri was approached by a few officers who tried to ask questions, but he didn’t respond, so they issued him a subpoena, a person familiar with the incident said. The officers asked if he would be willing to speak with an attorney present. Finally the agents gave him the document.
CNN’s Zachary Cohen contributed to this report.