Justice Department is reportedly suing dozens of Trump associates in apparent escalation of investigation

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WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has issued dozens of subpoenas to Donald Trump’s associates and associates for information about the 2020 election and the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol, according to The New York Times and CNN.

The flood of subpoenas suggested that the investigation, which is separate from the seizure of Trump administration documents from Mar-a-Lago, is gaining momentum.

According to the Times, at least two Trump operatives, Boris Epshteyn and Mark Roman, had their phones seized as evidence. Epshteyn declined to comment.

The subpoenas seek information about the Trump campaign’s plan to organize alternative voter lists in the states that President Joe Biden has won. Epshteyn had copied emails from Trump attorney John Eastman in late 2020, who developed the plan.

President Donald Trump addresses his supporters at a rally against the certification of Joe Biden’s electoral college as president in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021.

Eastman has already been subpoenaed and his phone has been seized. Eastman previously declined to answer questions from the House panel investigating the attack on the Capitol or a grand jury in Georgia based on his Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination.

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Another subpoena recipient was Bernard Kerik, the former New York City Police Commissioner, who coordinated the investigation into voter fraud claims with Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani.

Kerik’s attorney, Timothy Parlatore, told USA TODAY that Kerik was willing to testify before federal investigators, as he had already done before the House committee. Kerik had already handed over examples of potential electoral fraud cases to the Justice Department for further investigation by the end of 2020, Parlatore said.

Former Attorney General Bill Barr has testified before the House panel that the department has found no evidence to support the Trump campaign’s claims of widespread fraud.

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Parlatore said the department’s latest subpoena read as if the current investigation had no focus and asked Kerik about names he didn’t recognize.

“The normal DOJ subpoena looks like gunshots,” Parlatore said. “This looks like a whole series of shotgun explosions, almost like a spray-and-pray mentality.”

The latest subpoenas include one against Dan Scavino, Trump’s former social media director, according to the Times. Trump promoted his fundraising to fight the results of the 2020 election and his rally on the morning of January 6 via social media. Scavino’s attorney, Stanley Woodward Jr., declined to comment.

Others subpoenaed include former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien and Sean Dollman, the campaign’s chief financial officer, according to CNN.

The Justice Department declined to comment on the subpoenas.

White House official Dan Scavino, right, and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, left, walk with President Donald Trump on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington toward Marine One on Tuesday, September 22, 2020.

White House official Dan Scavino, right, and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, left, walk with President Donald Trump on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington toward Marine One on Tuesday, September 22, 2020.

The investigation is unrelated to the seizure of Trump administration documents, including dozens of classified documents, from Mar-a-Lago. In that investigation, federal investigators said they were looking for evidence of Espionage Act violations for mishandling national defense documents or obstruction of justice.

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The study is also separate, but overlaps with a local study in Fulton County, Georgia. District attorney Fani Willis has convened a special grand jury to investigate false voters and other possible voter fraud by Trump and his campaign. The grand jury has subpoenaed Eastman and Giuliani, among others.

The Justice Department previously declined without explanation to press charges against Scavino or former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows for defying subpoenas from the House committee investigating the attack. But the department charged Trump’s political strategist Steve Bannon, who was convicted of contempt, and former trade adviser Peter Navarro, who is awaiting trial.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Dozens of Trump employees subpoenaed in DOJ probe of January 6 Capitol attack