In what were obvious indications that law enforcement is stepping up their investigation of associates of the former president, federal agents searched the home of a former top Justice Department official and seized records from important Republicans in at least five states linked to Donald Trump’s efforts to rig the 2020 election.
Authorities raided Jeffrey Clark’s Virginia home on Wednesday. Clark was well-known at the Justice Department for supporting Trump’s fictitious allegations of election fraud. Recently, agents delivered subpoenas to the Republican Party chairmen of Arizona, Nevada, and Georgia, three states where Joe Biden won the presidency and where supporters of Donald Trump compiled lists of “alternative electors” to rig the election. Additionally, Republicans in Michigan and Pennsylvania admitted they had been questioned by the FBI.
The Justice Department’s investigation into pro-Trump efforts to rig the 2020 election, which culminated in the fatal uprising on January 6, looks to be intensifying. The U.S. House committee looking into the riot said it had additional proof of Trump’s actions and his understanding that he had no legal basis to try to overturn the election. At the same time, the revelations of law enforcement activities occurred.
The topic of the committee’s meeting on Thursday was Trump’s intention to choose Clark as the head of the Justice Department in the last weeks of his presidency. It wasn’t immediately evident why authorities had searched Clark’s residence, and it wasn’t known what data they were looking for. The source who verified the search spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it by name.
Clark stated that the timing of the search warrant was “very political” in an interview he gave Thursday night on Fox News Channel. He also questioned why his house was searched the day before the congressional hearing.
He added, “I just don’t believe in coincidences. It appears incredibly coincidental.”
The committee and federal authorities are both looking into the use of substitute electors in seven swing states that supported Biden. Based on flimsy or false charges that his victory was fraudulent, Trump and his associates intensely pressed the authorities in those states to replace Biden’s electors with ones supporting him.
This week, the committee released text exchanges that demonstrated an assistant to Wisconsin Republican and Trump friend U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson attempted to hand-deliver phony voter registration credentials to an adviser to former Vice President Mike Pence. The communications indicate Pence’s assistant rejected the ballots.
On Thursday, Johnson claimed that the phony elector slates originated from Rep. Mike Kelly’s Pennsylvania office in an interview with a Wisconsin-based conservative talk radio program. Kelly’s response to Johnson’s accusation was that it was “patently untrue.”
“Mr. Kelly has not talked to Sen. Johnson for the greater part of a decade, and he has no awareness of the assertions Mr. Johnson is making connections to the 2020 race,” the spokesperson, Matt Knoedler, stated.
According to a source familiar with the situation who was not permitted to speak publicly about an ongoing investigation, Georgia Republican Party Chair David Shafer was one of the individuals who recently got subpoenas.
According to a second individual with knowledge of the situation, when federal officials approached Nevada GOP Chair Michael McDonald outside his car in Las Vegas on Wednesday and delivered a warrant, McDonald handed them his phone. McDonald took the alleged “oath of office” in front of the state capital of Nevada in December 2020, accompanied by men wearing camouflage and brandishing semi-automatic guns.
A third individual with knowledge of the situation who was not permitted to speak publicly said that Kelli Ward, the chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party, her husband Michael Ward, and two other alternative electors also got subpoenas.
According to Sam DeMarco, a party leader in Pennsylvania, FBI investigators interrogated the chairman of the Allegheny County Republican Party at his house on Thursday and served him with a subpoena seeking contacts between him, and Trump electors in the state, and officials of Trump’s campaign and legal team.
DeMarco said in a statement that his voting was “transparent, honest, and based exclusively on defending President Trump’s legal rights should he triumph in court. That is why I consented to act as an elector only if the president was successful in overturning the Pennsylvania result in court.
The Detroit News was also informed by Michele Lundgren in Michigan that she received a subpoena from the FBI on Thursday and that another Trump elector received one on Wednesday. Lundgren, 72, said that the exchange she had with the agent was “lengthy” and “nice” and that she had allowed one of the agents access to her computer and phone.
She remarked, “I continued giving them answers to their queries as they kept asking me questions.”
Just before he was to be the subject of a committee hearing, FBI investigators searched Clark’s residence. In a rare Oval Office meeting on January 3, 2021, Trump considered appointing Clark, who oversaw the department’s civil division, as acting attorney general in place of Jeffrey Rosen, who resisted Trump’s attempts to involve the agency. Three other former Justice Department officials testified about the meeting.
Trump finally changed his mind after receiving warnings from other top Justice Department officials that they would quit if he went through with his plan to replace Rosen with Clark.
An email and phone call requesting comment from Clark’s attorney were not answered.
Just before the hearing began, Chairman Bennie Thompson, read about the raid on Clark’s residence. He stated, “We don’t know the Department of Justice’s justification for doing it. As you are aware, we showed that he was recommended to run the Department of Justice despite the widespread opinion that he had the necessary qualifications.
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Russ Vought, president of the Center for Renewing America, where Clark just accepted a senior fellow position, tweeted that while Clark was still in his jammies, federal authorities “forced him into the streets” and “removed his personal devices.”
All because Jeff thought it necessary to look into voting fraud,” Vought added. Folks, this is not America. Government must stop becoming weaponized. Be extremely explicit with me. We support Jeff, and other Americans must do the same.