Special counsel Jack Smith has subpoenaed local officials in key presidential swing states for any and all communications involving former President Donald Trump, his campaign and a series of aides and allies who assisted in his effort to overturn the 2020 election.
Subpoenas were issued to top elections officials in Wayne County, Michigan; Milwaukee and Dane counties, Wisconsin; Maricopa County, Arizona; and Allegheny County, Pa. Those counties are home to Detroit, Milwaukee, Madison, Phoenix and Pittsburgh.
The existence of the subpoenas was first reported by The Washington Post on Tuesday.
The subpoena is an indication that Smith is probing into a scheme involving fake electors, a slate of individuals who signed documents purporting they were their states’ rightful electors and asserting Trump was the victor in their states even though Biden won.
A spokesperson for Milwaukee County Clerk George Christenson confirmed that Smith’s office had sent a subpoena. A copy of the document, obtained by NBC News and issued Nov. 22, asked for any and all records of communications with or involving Trump, his campaign and a list of 19 aides and allies. The subpoena sought communications from June 1, 2020, to Jan. 20, 2021.
Those aides and allies included campaign attorneys and other lawyers who worked closely on Trump's efforts to overturn his 2020 election defeat, such as Justin Clark, Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani, Victoria Toensing, John Eastman, Cleta Mitchell and Jenna Ellis. Bill Stepien, Trump's 2020 campaign manager, was also on that list.
Bruce Marks, one of Trump's lawyers in the list, had not heard he was included until contacted by NBC News.
"It’s a gross overreach," Marks said. "They are seeking clearly privileged communications between me and other attorneys who were involved with the Trump campaign."
“There is speculation that the subpoena concerns the matters involving fake electors, as well as the January 6 insurrection,” Christenson said a statement Tuesday afternoon. “I am supportive of this investigation as it is important that the due process of law takes its course for the sake of our Nation and its democratic institutions.”
Scott McDonnell, the Dane County clerk, confirmed to NBC News that his county had received a virtually identical subpoena as Milwaukee. Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson confirmed that Wayne County had also received a subpoena, though she had not personally been made aware of its contents as of Tuesday afternoon.
An Arizona elections official confirmed that Maricopa County had received such a subpoena this month with similar demands for those communications.
"Maricopa County has received a subpoena and will comply," Fields Moseley, a county spokesperson, said.
In Allegheny County, a spokesperson confirmed receipt of the subpoena and said they have "nothing further to provide."
A spokesman for the special counsel declined to comment to NBC News.
Representatives of other large counties that Trump focused on in efforts to overturn the vote, including Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, and Fulton County, Georgia, said they had not received similar subpoenas or did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Smith was tapped last month by Attorney General Merrick Garland to oversee the Justice Department's investigation of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and the criminal probe of Trump's possible mishandling of classified documents. The subpoenas show Smith's probe touching on the run-up and immediate aftermath of the Capitol riot, seeking information related to Trump's pressure campaign.
Most of the individuals named in this new recent round of subpoenas were also named in at least some subpoenas involving the fake elector scheme in June, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation. In some cases, the Justice Department seized cell phones of the individuals, including Nevada GOP Chair Michael McDonald, who previously confirmed as much to NBC News.
One of the names that appeared on the new subpoenas was James Troupis, a Wisconsin-based attorney who handled Trump's re-election efforts in the state, which centered on Dane and Milwaukee counties. In the final weeks of the 2022 campaign, Republican Sen. Ron Johnson hired Troupis, ostensibly to do possible recount work, even as questions persist about Johnson's conversations with Troupis on Jan. 6.