Screen Shot 2022-09-13 at 6.53.53 AM

9/13/2022 —DOJs Subpoena Storm Broadens Trump's Potential Legal Woes

(CNN) — A strikingly broad subpoena sweep against more than 30 former officials and campaign aides of ex-President Donald Trump represents the clearest sign yet of the seriousness of the Department of Justice's criminal probe into events surrounding the US Capitol insurrection.

The gambit, revealed on Monday, also shows that while Trump may succeed in slowing a separate investigation into the retention of classified information at Mar-a-Lago, his potential exposure to legal consequences is deep and threatening. Trump has not been charged with a crime in either probe.

But the subpoenas show that the DOJ's investigation, which has proceeded behind the scenes for months and caused Trump critics to express frustration with Attorney General Merrick Garland, is far more expansive than was previously known. And it appears to be intensifying, with investigators apparently narrowing their focus based on other subpoenas, evidence and witness testimony.

"This is the way classic investigations are conducted, moving up the chain so to speak," David Laufman, former chief of the Justice Department's Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, told CNN's Erin Burnett Monday.

"They are now encompassing individuals closer and closer to the President to learn more and more about what the President knew and when he knew it."

The twice-impeached former President has typically been successful at wriggling free of legal scrutiny and scandals that would long have ended the careers of conventional politicians. But it is clear that he is facing legal concerns on multiple fronts, some related to his attempt to overthrow the result of the 2020 election, and all in some ways arising from his view that as president, and even back in civilian life, his position granted him almost unlimited power free of scrutiny. 

New Indications Of The DOJ's Interest In Post-Election Intrigue —  News of the more than 30 new subpoenas for documents and some for testimony before a grand jury suggest the DOJ is investigating a scheme to create slates of fake electors to invalidate President Joe Biden's wins in swing states in 2020. There are also indications that prosecutors are looking at Trump's fundraising operation and the way that the ex-President's January 6, 2021, "Stop the Steal" rally was organized, according to new information reported by CNN, some of which was first revealed by The New York Times.

Screen Shot 2022-09-13 at 6.55.09 AM

The flurry of subpoenas in recent days came just ahead of a 60-day quiet period that the DOJ generally seeks to avoid the appearance of influencing elections with politically sensitive investigations. Midterm elections in November will decide the destiny of the Senate and the House of Representatives and multiple state and local positions. Trump, touting his false claims that he was illegally ejected from power in a fraudulent election, has been a key player in the 2022 campaign.

Trump acolytes who received subpoenas include his former campaign manager Bill Stepien and Sean Dollman, the campaign's former chief financial officer, sources familiar with the matter told CNN. Trump's former deputy chief of staff and social media guru Dan Scavino also received a subpoena, according to a source familiar with the matter. None of the three men responded to requests for comment. Brian Jack, the last White House political director under Trump, was subpoenaed as well, according to a source familiar with the situation. Jack also did not respond to CNN's requests for comment.

The revelation comes as the House select committee probing the January 6 insurrection meets on Tuesday to discuss next steps in its investigation and possible new televised hearings following a series of scripted sessions over the summer that painted a deeply damning picture of Trump's behavior following the last election. 

The committee is expected to discuss whether to invite Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence to appear. Committee members do not expect either man to testify, sources said, but some believe they should be asked for the record given the extraordinary circumstances of the former President's attempt to thwart the peaceful transfer of power after a democratic election.

This subplot is also playing out amid an investigation in Georgia into alleged attempts to try to get local officials to overturn Biden's victory in the critical swing state. 

Trump And DOJ Trade Blows In Classified Documents Case  — All these probes have in recent days been overshadowed by yet another legal duel over Trump's hoarding of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, which led to a prolonged standoff with the DOJ and eventually resulted in an FBI search of his property last month. 

Lawyers for the former President argued in a new filing in that case on Monday that a judge should reject the DOJ's attempt to continue to review classified material as part of its criminal investigation. The department says that the judge's original prohibition against it doing so effectively makes it impossible for the intelligence community to assess the potential damage from the former President's apparently lax handling of classified information and presents a grave risk to national security.

In a characteristically expansive interpretation of the position of president, Trump argued in a Monday filing that in his former position, he had broad authority to declassify records and that a former president, should have "absolute right of access" to presidential records -- whether they are classified or not. CNN has reported that multiple former senior national security officials dismiss the idea that the ex-President had some kind of scheme to declassify documents en masse. And even if he had, the Presidential Records Act states that presidential documents belong in the National Archives. 

But in an audacious move, Trump's legal team sought to downplay the significance of the dispute. 

"In what at its core is a document storage dispute that has spiraled out of control, the Government wrongfully seeks to criminalize the possession by the 45th President of his own Presidential and personal records," Trump's legal team wrote to Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee who is presiding over the case as Trump seeks to have a third-party attorney known as a special master sift through the documents for privilege issues.

Each of the Trump team's claims is highly contentious and appear to conflict with most conventional readings of US law. The argument that Mar-a-Lago was a secure facility and that the evidence was kept in a locked room appears to ignore the fact that some of the 100 documents taken by the FBI from Trump's home bore the highest levels of classification of the US government and would normally be permitted to be viewed only by a select level of official in the most highly secured venues. And the Washington Post reported last week that the secrets of a foreign nation's nuclear program was among information the FBI took from his residence. Such intelligence would be among the most highly protected and restricted information in the government's possession.

Trump's arguments might appear in many cases to be outlandish. But they could also achieve something he wants -- delaying any potential formal legal moves against him for as long as possible by opening up even more appeals in layers of the court system. 

In the case of the classified documents drama, that could mean the case stretches well into the 2024 campaign when Trump is expected to mount a bid to win back the White House. The former President has already slammed the DOJ's action as an example of political persecution, a charge he would be certain to escalate during the heat of a run for the presidency.

But the new indications on Monday of the comprehensive nature of the investigations into the lead up to January 6 raise the question of just how long Trump can keep at bay the multiple investigations arising from his inability to accept his 2020 loss. 

CNN — Gabby Orr, Kristen Holmes, Sara Murray, Kaitlan Collins, Evan Perez, Katelyn Polantz and Zachary Cohen.

DOJ Open To One Of Trump's Candidates For Special Master Review

(CNN) — The Justice Department said it is open to a judge appointing one of the candidates that former President Donald Trump's legal team put forward as a special master to review the documents seized from Mar-a-Lago, according to a court filing Monday evening.

DOJ said senior Judge Raymond Dearie is acceptable, along with its two previously proposed selections: retired federal judges Barbara Jones and Thomas Griffith.

"Each have substantial judicial experience, during which they have presided over federal criminal and civil cases, including federal cases involving national security and privilege concerns," prosecutors wrote. 

Dearie, originally a nominee of former President Ronald Reagan, has served as a federal judge in New York since the 1980s. He retired in 2011 and is now a senior judge on the circuit. 

Dearie also served a seven-year term on the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or FISA court. He was one of the judges who approved an FBI and DOJ request to surveil Carter Page, a Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, as part of the federal inquiry into whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

It is unclear when US District Judge Aileen Cannon will decide who the special master is.

Cannon last week granted Trump's request for a third-party attorney outside of the government to review the seized materials and asked that each side submit proposed candidates. Cannon also ordered criminal investigators at the Justice Department to stop using the seized materials as part of their ongoing probe until the special master finishes his or her review.

Trump Opposes DOJ Nominees, But Didn't Say Why —  Earlier Monday, Trump said he opposes the Justice Department's two proposed candidates to be the special master, but didn't explain why.

"Plaintiff objects to the proposed nominees of the Department of Justice. Plaintiff believes there are specific reasons why those nominees are not preferred for service as Special Master in this case," the Trump lawyers wrote.

The Justice Department nominated Griffith, who served as a judge on US Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, DC, from 2005 to 2020, and Jones, a former federal prosecutor who has been a special master in several recent high-profile investigations.

The Trump team also has suggested lawyer Paul Huck Jr., a former partner at the Jones Day law firm. The Justice Department opposed Huck Jr., noting he "does not appear to have similar experience" to the three judges.

The Trump lawyers argued Monday that the court didn't ask for detailed reasoning, and they are trying to be "more respectful to the candidates from either party."

"Plaintiff also submits it is more respectful to the candidates from either party to withhold the bases for opposition from a public, and likely to be widely circulated, pleading," Trump's lawyers wrote. "Therefore, Plaintiff asks this Court for permission to specifically express our objections to the Government's nominees only at such time that the Court specifies a desire to obtain and consider that information."

Trump and the Justice Department have also disagreed on other key aspects of the special master's responsibilities, including how long the review should take, who is responsible for paying the special master, and what type of documents are subject to review.

In a nod to the government's hope for a speedy review of the thousands of documents seized by the FBI, the Justice Department wrote that "in selecting among the three candidates, the government respectfully requests that the Court consider and select the candidate best positioned to timely perform the special master's assigned responsibilities."

STOREI Copyrighted