Trump Aide Is Subpoenaed for Jan. 6 Grand Jury

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Trump Aide Is Subpoenaed for Jan. 6 Grand Jury

Federal prosecutors issued a subpoena to a personal aide to former President Donald J. Trump as part of the investigation into the events leading up to the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, people familiar with the matter said.

The move suggests that investigators have expanded the pool of people from whom they are seeking information in the wide-ranging criminal investigation into efforts by Mr. Trump and his allies to reverse his loss in the 2020 election and that agents are reaching into the former president’s direct orbit.

This week, F.B.I. agents in Florida tried to approach William S. Russell, a 31-year-old aide to Mr. Trump who served as a special assistant and the deputy director of presidential advance operations in the White House. He continued to work for Mr. Trump as a personal aide after he left office, one of a small group of officials who did so.

It was not immediately clear what the F.B.I. agents wanted from Mr. Russell; people familiar with the Justice Department’s inquiry said he has not yet been interviewed. But a person with knowledge of the F.B.I.’s interest said that it related to the grand jury investigation into events that led to the Capitol attack by Mr. Trump’s supporters.

That investigation is said to have focused extensively on the attempts by some of Mr. Trump’s advisers and lawyers to create slates of fake electors from swing states. Mr. Trump and his allies wanted Vice President Mike Pence to block or delay certification of the Electoral College results during a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6 to allow consideration of Trump electors whose votes could have changed the outcome.

A lawyer for Mr. Russell did not respond to a message seeking comment.

It was not immediately clear which of Mr. Trump’s other aides the Justice Department may be interested in interviewing. Last week, the former White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, and his former deputy, Patrick Philbin, testified before the grand jury investigating the fake elector scheme and related issues.

Both Mr. Cipollone and Mr. Philbin were present during key conversations in the White House as Mr. Trump sought to use the levers of the federal government to stay in office after his loss to Joseph R. Biden Jr.

That effort included legal challenges to the outcomes in a number of states, consideration of proposals to seize voting machines and pressure on the Justice Department to investigate baseless claims of election fraud. As Jan. 6 and the certification of the Electoral College vote neared, the effort focused on pressuring Mr. Pence to use his ceremonial role overseeing the joint session of Congress on that day to give Mr. Trump another chance to reverse the outcome — pressure that Mr. Pence rejected.

Thomas Windom, a federal prosecutor, is coordinating key elements of the Justice Department’s intensifying investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. So far, there are no clear signs that the department’s Jan. 6 investigation has reached a stage where officials would be close to deciding whether to charge Mr. Trump.

An F.B.I. spokesman in Florida did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

The Justice Department is pursuing the Jan. 6-related investigation as it investigates the handling of hundreds of classified documents that Mr. Trump took with him to Mar-a-Lago, his residence and private club in Florida, where Mr. Russell also works.

Last month, the F.B.I. and Justice Department executed a court-approved search warrant at the club, recovering scores of classified documents. On Monday, a federal judge in Florida approved of appointing an independent arbiter, known as a special master, to examine the government documents seized from the former president.

Source: New York Times

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