Where Things Stand: DOJ Now Appears Focused On Fake Electors Who Got Wrapped Up In Coup Plot

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WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 13: U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks at a press conference on June 13, 2022 in Washington, DC. During the press conference Garland announced a new case that the Department of Justice... WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 13: U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks at a press conference on June 13, 2022 in Washington, DC. During the press conference Garland announced a new case that the Department of Justice is taking up to target the prevention of illegal gun trafficking. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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A new report in the Washington Post today indicates the Justice Department might be expanding the scope of its focus on the fake Trump electors scheme, zeroing in on the people involved in the plot who may have intended to follow through or tried to follow through with the scheme.

Previous reports have revealed the DOJ was looking at the fake electors plot, but the bureau was reportedly mostly in talks with people who sounded the alarm about the scheme — which was a key layer of MAGAland’s campaign to keep Trump in power despite losing the election.

We knew that the DOJ had previously issued subpoenas or had tried to speak with some of the people who were planning to function as Trump electors in states around the U.S. if Trump won those states, but didn’t ultimately end up doing so. Per the Post: “Some of those Republicans have told The Post they didn’t participate because Biden had won the popular vote in their state and they did not think the gatherings were appropriate; others said they declined to participate because were ill or had scheduling conflicts.”

Federal agents issued subpoenas to people in at least two states on Wednesday, according to the Post. The addresses federal agents targeted suggest that the DOJ might be now focused on political activists who supported then-President Trump in his effort to recruit fake electors to help invalidate President Biden’s 2020 win, according to the Post’s review of publicly available information.

FBI agents “conducted court authorized law enforcement activity Wednesday morning at two locations” in the Post’s words. One of the addresses where this new activity occurred was at the home of a man name Brad Carver, who is a lawyer in Georgia who allegedly signed a paper claiming to be a Trump elector, according to the Post. The other location of federal activity took place at the home of Thomas Lane. According to the Post, Lane worked for the Trump campaign in Arizona and New Mexico. The Post is careful to note that the FBI did not identify the names of the people living at those addresses. But, like good journalists, the Post reporters looked it up.

People in Michigan who were part of the fake electors scheme also were targeted with subpoenas on Wednesday, an anonymous person told the Post.

The Post’s report is still premature and the language is careful, hedging that it is very unclear what exactly the DOJ might be after with this new activity. But it all comes after the fourth round of Jan. 6 committee hearings on Tuesday, when state officials from Georgia and Arizona gave emotional and damning testimony about Trump allies’ efforts to pressure them into overturning Biden’s electoral college wins in their states.

The timing of the federal law enforcement activity is important and points to a broader tension we’ve had our eye on for several weeks as the DOJ and the Jan. 6 committee spar over material collected by the congressional investigative panel.

Last week, federal prosecutors’ requests for information from the Jan. 6 Committee was made public in the form of a letter tucked into a court filing as part of the criminal prosecution of Proud Boys members who allegedly played a role in coordinating the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6. The court filing revealed that the DOJ had sent the letter requesting copies of the panel’s deposition material a week ago Wednesday.

One of the members of the Jan. 6 Select Committee Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) addressed the tension between the executive and legislative branch over the weekend, saying the committee “certainly will help” the DOJ in its request for information, but indicated panel members want the DOJ to “particularize what they’re asking for.”

We’ll keep an eye on this.

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