The ongoing US investigation into the 2020 election appears to be closing in on Trump

by Gabriel Martinez
2020 election investigation

Donald Trump has received a target letter, indicating that the broad Justice Department inquiry into efforts to overturn the 2020 election may be focusing on him. This comes after more than a year of conducting interviews with top aides of the former president and state officials across the nation.

The federal prosecution has cast a broad dragnet, probing witnesses in recent months regarding a tumultuous White House meeting which included talks of commandeering voting machines, and about the involvement of lawyers in plans to obstruct the power transfer. This information comes from individuals who are familiar with the investigation. Discussions have taken place with witnesses regarding strategies by Trump associates to mobilize Republican decoy electors in battleground states won by Democrat Joe Biden. The prosecution also interviewed state election officials who underwent an intense campaign regarding the election results in the days preceding the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

The duration of special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation is still uncertain. However, the seriousness of the investigation was demonstrated on Tuesday when Trump revealed he had been notified by the Justice Department that he was a target of the investigation. Letters like this often precede criminal charges, and Trump received one before his indictment last month on charges of unlawfully storing classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago property in Florida.

The charges Trump or others could face in relation to the election investigation are unknown, yet the scale of the inquiry significantly contrasts with Smith’s more focused classified documents investigation. The extensive list of witnesses underscores the chaotic two months between Trump’s electoral defeat and the Capitol insurrection, where some lawyers and advisors supported his vain efforts to remain president while many others urged him to concede or were relentlessly pressured to assist in altering the results.

Smith’s spokesperson has refrained from commenting on the target letter or the interviews conducted by prosecutors.

Even prior to Smith taking on the election interference investigation last November, Justice Department investigators had interviewed multiple Trump administration officials, including former Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff and former top White House lawyers. They examined post-election fundraising and collected cellphones from numerous lawyers and officials as potential evidence.

Smith’s team has since interrogated high-level administration officials, including Pence, before the grand jury in Washington. They have also voluntarily interviewed a broad spectrum of witnesses both inside and outside the federal government. This includes election officials from states where Trump associates futilely attempted to reverse the results in favor of the Republican incumbent.

Secretaries of State from Georgia, Michigan, and New Mexico, who all had interactions with Trump’s efforts, have been interviewed by Smith’s team according to their representatives. Election leaders from Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and Madison have been in touch with federal investigators. Arizona’s former Republican Governor Doug Ducey, who declined a call from the Trump White House while publicly certifying Biden’s narrow victory in the state, has been reached out to by Smith’s team, a spokesperson stated on Tuesday.

The investigation has consistently been interested in the role Trump’s lawyers played in assisting him in holding onto power, according to sources familiar with the matter. Witnesses have been questioned about a tense meeting held at the White House on Dec. 18, 2020, where the notion of commandeering voting machines was raised. The investigation by the House Jan. 6 committee has already featured this meeting prominently.

Rudy Giuliani, a Trump lawyer present at the meeting and who led legal challenges to the election results, was questioned about that meeting during a voluntary interview with Smith’s team. Giuliani has not received a target letter.

As prosecutors investigate efforts by Trump allies to undermine Biden’s victory, they have concentrated on the enlistment of decoy electors from crucial states won by Biden by Trump and his allies.

Smith’s team is also looking into Trump’s efforts to punish members of his administration who contradicted his false election fraud claims. An instance of this was when Chris Krebs, who was fired by Trump from his role as director of the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity agency after defending the integrity of the 2020 vote, was interviewed by prosecutors a couple of months ago concerning the apparent retaliation for his stance.

Prosecutors have also shown interest in the hardship faced by Ruby Freeman, a Georgia election worker who, along with her daughter, shared with the House Jan. 6 committee their experience of how their lives were thrown into chaos when Trump and his allies used surveillance footage to falsely accuse them of voter fraud.

Contributors to this report include Big Big News writers Christina A. Cassidy in Atlanta, Scott Bauer in Madison, Wis., Jonathan J. Cooper in Phoenix, and Jill Colvin in New York.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about 2020 election investigation

What is the target letter Donald Trump has received related to?

The target letter Donald Trump has received is related to a broad Justice Department investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election. This suggests that the probe is focusing on him.

Who is conducting the investigation into the 2020 election?

The investigation into the 2020 election is being conducted by the Justice Department under the supervision of special counsel Jack Smith.

What is the scope of this investigation?

The scope of this investigation is extensive and wide-ranging, looking into the efforts to overturn the 2020 election. This involves interviewing numerous witnesses, both inside and outside the federal government, and examining the involvement of lawyers and officials in these efforts.

What charges could Donald Trump face as a result of this investigation?

As of now, it’s unclear what charges Donald Trump or others could face as a result of this investigation.

What role do the interviews play in the investigation?

The interviews with various officials, aides, and election officers form a crucial part of the investigation. They provide insights into the strategies employed to potentially overturn the election results and help investigators understand the depth and extent of these efforts.

How are Trump’s lawyers implicated in the investigation?

The investigation has shown consistent interest in the role Trump’s lawyers played in assisting him to hold onto power. Lawyers like Rudy Giuliani and others have been questioned regarding their roles in key meetings and strategies aimed at overturning the election results.

Are there any parallel investigations taking place?

Yes, there are parallel investigations taking place, including the House Jan. 6 committee’s probe into the Capitol insurrection.

More about 2020 election investigation

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BillyBob_2023 July 19, 2023 - 7:17 am

trump always seems to b in the spotlight doesn’t he, good or bad he sure knows how to make headlines.

SandyPearce July 19, 2023 - 9:37 am

Its about time, Hope justice is served and we get some closure!!

MikeD July 19, 2023 - 9:05 pm

cant believe this is happening, thought this whole election stuff was done & dusted. Guess not…

Tommy87 July 20, 2023 - 2:38 am

They’ve been dragging this thing out for way too long, can we just move on pls? just seems like a witch hunt to me…

Jenn_L July 20, 2023 - 3:24 am

interesting! looking forward to see how it all pans out. never a dull moment in politics, eh?


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