Federal agents investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol on Wednesdaydropped subpoenas on people in multiple locations, widening the probe of how political activists supporting President Donald Trump tried to use invalid electors to thwart Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory.
Agents conducted court-authorized law enforcement activity Wednesday morning at different locations, FBI officials confirmed to The Washington Post. One was the home of Brad Carver, a Georgia lawyer who allegedly signed a document claiming to be a Trump elector. The other was the Virginia home of Thomas Lane, who worked on the Trump campaign’s efforts in Arizona and New Mexico. The FBI officials did not identify the people associated with those addresses, but public records list each of the locations as the home addresses of the men.
Among those who received a subpoena Wednesday was David Shafer, the chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, who served as a Trump elector in that state, people familiar with the investigation said. Shafer’s lawyer declined to comment.
Separately, at least some of the would-be Trump electors in Michigan received subpoenas, according to a person who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation. But it was not immediately clear whether that activity was related to a federal probe or a state-level criminal inquiry.
The precise nature of the information being sought by the Justice Department at the homes of Carver and Lane was not immediately clear.
Officials have previously said that the Justice Department and the FBI were examining the issue of false electors, whom Trump and others hoped might be approved by state legislators in a last-ditch bid to keep Trump in the White House. Until now, however, those investigative efforts seemed to primarily involve talking to people in Republican circles who knew of the scheme and objected; the subpoenas issued Wednesday suggest the Justice Department is now moving to question at least some of those who allegedly agreed to pursue the effort.
Later yesterday, 8NewsNow in Las Vegas reported that the FBI searched the home of the Chairman of the Nevada GOP and took his phone: I-Team sources: FBI seizes Nevada GOP chairman’s phone as part of fake elector investigation.
FBI agents served a search warrant Wednesday on Nevada’s top GOP official, sources told the 8 News Now I-Team’s George Knapp.
Agents seized the cell phone of state Republican chairman Michael McDonald, reportedly as part of an investigation into the fake elector scheme initiated at the end of the 2020 presidential election.
A second search warrant was issued for state party secretary James DeGraffenreid, who also signed the document, but FBI agents could not locate him Wednesday, sources told Knapp.
In December 2020, the 8 News Now I-Team reported the Nevada Republican Party’s six electors signed paperwork signaling their support for former President Donald Trump in a symbolic ceremony devoid of any legal merit, which was held in Carson City and coincided with the official state-sanctioned tally on Dec. 14, 2020….
The certificate received by the National Archives looks much different than the official state-sealed one and reads, “We, the undersigned, being the duly elected and qualified electors for president and vice president of the United States of America from the State of Nevada, do hereby certify six electoral votes for Trump.”
In a statement after the event, Nevada GOP chair Michael McDonald said the party’s electors convened in Carson City due to ongoing legal battles seeking to overturn the election results. Nevada Republicans lost all court cases involving allegations of voter fraud.
CNN: DOJ subpoenas Georgia Republican Party chairman as it expands Trump fake elector probe.
Federal investigators subpoenaed the Georgia Republican Party chairman for information related to the fake elector scheme there — as the Justice Department has issued a fresh round of subpoenas to people from several states who acted as rogue electors after the 2020 presidential election, multiple sources familiar with the situation told CNN.
The subpoena for the chairman, David Shafer, represents a significant step because he played a central role in organizing the fake slate of electors from Georgia and coordinated the effort with the Trump campaign.
The focus on Shafer also comes as sources tell CNN the Justice Department subpoenaed Trump electors this week in Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania — all states that former President Donald Trump lost.
The Justice Department has been scrutinizing the Trump campaign’s use of so-called alternate electors. The new round of subpoenas represents an escalation of a criminal probe that, before now, had approached lower-level Republicans. All along, however, federal investigators have pursued information about political figures higher up, including at the top of the Trump campaign.
In the weeks after the 2020 election and leading up to January 6, 2021, Trump’s allies sent fake slates of electors to the National Archives declaring that the then-President had won seven states that he actually lost. The bid failed, and then-Vice President Mike Pence certified Joe Biden’s electoral win on January 6 after rioters had been cleared from the US Capitol.
Related stories to check out, links only:
The Washington Post: Sen. Ron Johnson under fire over fake-electors disclosure at hearing.
William Saletan at The Bulwark: John Eastman’s Phony “Plenary Authority” Theory.
CBS News: CBS News obtains images from documentary film footage given to Jan. 6 panel.
CNN: What Americans are saying about the Jan. 6 hearings.
The Washington Post: As Jan. 6 committee targets Trump, his consternation at McCarthy grows.
The New York Times: A Year Later, Some Republicans Second-Guess Boycotting the Jan. 6 Panel.
Have a nice Thursday, and if you watch the hearing this afternoon, please share your reactions with us.