US Justice Department tightens Trump probe with 40 subpoenas to ex-president’s aides

The move signals an acceleration of the investigation into the assault on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, just two months ahead of midterm elections

Three Trump aides in May 2020: Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, White House social media man Dan Scavino, and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Three Trump aides in May 2020: Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, White House social media man Dan Scavino, and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner.CARLOS BARRIA (Reuters)

In a sign of the escalating ambition of its investigation into former president Donald Trump, the US Department of Justice has issued subpoenas to 40 of his aides in a single week. Information is being sought on the potential involvement of the former president and his closest circle in the assault on the Capitol on January 6, 2021. In addition, the phones of two advisers, Boris Epshteyn and Mike Roman, have been seized in search of evidence, according to The New York Times.

This investigation runs parallel to the one involving classified and top-secret documents found by the FBI at the tycoon’s Mar-A-Lago residence in Florida during a search operation on August 8. The new subpoenas seek to clarify Trump’s involvement in the bid to alter the election result that gave the victory to Joe Biden in 2020, particularly in disputed states that were crucial in the Democratic victory.

What Trump supporters were seeking on January 6 was precisely to interrupt the Senate session called to certify electoral votes in order to force Vice President Mike Pence to hold a recount. Since the vote theft hoaxes began to spread, 62 lawsuits have been filed in courts throughout the country. Of those, 61 have since been dismissed. Number 62 was accepted, but the recount did not affect the result.

The Justice Department is also seeking information about the activities of the Save America political action committee, with which the former president raised funds to support his crusade after leaving office. The members of the congressional committee investigating the attack on Capitol Hill are also following the money trail and tracking the lawfulness of the fundraising effort by Trump and his supporters, who aimed to use it to fight an alleged fraud that they have never been able to prove.

Among the subpoenaed aides, there are some familiar faces for followers of the hearings of the January 6 Capitol assault investigation. These committee sessions began in early June and were interrupted in August (new hearings are scheduled to be held, but so far they have not been called). The most prominent aide is Dan Scavino, who caddied for Trump at the golf course and served as director of social media and digital communication for the White House, despite completely lacking experience in that job. Scavino was of the most loyal people to the former president, who seems to value that virtue above the rest, and has remained so after Trump left office.

Trump was in Washington on Monday for reasons that are not entirely clear. It is the second time he has visited the city since leaving the White House in January of last year. In July, he participated in a meeting of leaders of Republican Party in which he gave a speech where he once again hinted his intention to run in the 2024 elections. This week’s trip unleashed a wave of speculation. Trump explained on his Truth Social network that the reason was “work.”

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