The Justice Department is charging ahead in its probe of former President Donald Trump’s role in attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Special counsel Jack Smith, who is also overseeing the prosecution of Trump in the Mar-a-Lago documents case, is spearheading the election-focused investigation.
The Washington Post reported that the probe is moving forward on “multiple tracks,” focusing on ads and fundraising pitches that proclaimed election fraud as well as plans for “fake electors.”
Particular emphasis has been placed on a group of attorneys who specifically attempted to persuade state, local, federal and judicial authorities that President Joe Biden’s win was illegitimate. The DOJ is attempting to discern whether attorneys Rudy Giuliani, Jenna Ellis, John Eastman, Kurt Olsen, Kenneth Chesebro, and then-Justice Department lawyer Jeffrey Clark were following orders from Trump and what the nature of said orders was.
Trump’s inner circle has alleged that preparing alternate electors does not qualify as criminal conduct, according to the Post.
Following the 2020 election, an advertising firm created three spots for the ex-president’s fundraising, titled, “Stop the Steal,” “Overwhelming,” and “On Tape,” according to the report. However, when Trump campaign lawyers reviewed the ads, they became worried about potentially false information contained within them, sources told the outlet.
“The campaign’s own legal team and data experts cannot verify the bullshit being beamed down from the mothership,” Trump advisor Jason Miller wrote to Larry Weitzner, an executive at the firm manufacturing Trump’s campaign ads, at the time. Miller added Trump’s legal team was “0 for 32,” a seeming reference to the number of times the attorneys had tried and failed to challenge election results in court.
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The correspondence between Miller and Weitzner is one of the numerous pieces of evidence that prosecutors have produced to show that MAGA allies were aware of the dubious nature of Trump’s claims. Smith’s team has issued subpoenas in connection to the ads as they endeavor to glean further information.
New York University Law Professor Ryan Goodman argued that Miller’s email to Weitzner contained “evidence of wire fraud.”
Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung dismissed the dissemination of “out-of-context information to the press.”
“Further, the DOJ has no place inserting itself into reviewing campaign communications and their meddling in such matters represents a grave danger to the First Amendment and should seriously concern all campaigns and Americans,” Cheung told the Post. “This is the continuation of the many witch-hunts against President Trump in order to meddle and influence the 2024 election in order to prevent him from returning to the White House. They will fail.”
Smith’s team is slated to interview Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Wednesday. On Jan 2, 2021, Trump placed a phone call to Raffensperger, asking him to “find 11,780 votes.”
Raffensperger’s sit-down with the DOJ, “tells me Smith is likely to ask a grand jury to indict the whole criminal gang that conspired to overturn the presidential election and overthrow the government,” tweeted longtime Harvard Law Prof. Laurence Tribe.
“That includes Trump at the wheel’s center and his corrupt fellow seditionists and insurrectionists as its spokes,” he added.
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