Washington: The US Justice Department has subpoenaed dozens of campaign operatives and allies of former President Donald Trump as part of a broad effort to collect information related to the plot to overturn the 2020 presidential election, according to people familiar with the matter.
The subpoenas were issued in recent days as part of the sweeping investigation playing out mostly behind the scenes compared to the public battle that the Justice Department and Trump are fighting over the former president’s handling of classified documents, according to people who asked to remain anonymous when speaking about the sensitive matter.
Along with the subpoenas, the department also seized phones last week from Trump’s lawyer Boris Epshteyn and Mike Roman, a campaign strategist who directed election day operations for the Trump campaign in 2020, according to The New York Times, which first reported on the developments.
Epshteyn and Roman didn’t respond to requests for comment. The Justice Department declined to comment.
One of the recipients of a subpoena was former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik, according to his lawyer, Timothy Parlatore. The subpoena was very broad, indicating that the Justice Department didn’t have a solid grasp of what it was investigating, Parlatore said on Tuesday (AEST).
“This has to be the stupidest subpoena I’ve ever seen DoJ issue,” Parlatore said. “Usually DoJ’s subpoenas are very targeted. This looks more like a civil complaint subpoena that is more like a fishing expedition.”
Kerik has already turned over information to the congressional committee investigating the January 6 plot, Parlatore added.
Taylor Budowich, a spokesman for Trump, said in a statement that a “weaponised and politicised Justice Department is casting a blind net to intimidate and silence Republicans who are fighting” for the former president’s “America First” agenda.