Walking Through A DOJ January 6 Investigation Subpoena And What It Means.
A Federal grand jury sent a subpoena to Kelly Townsend of Arizona. She is likely a bit player in this story, and reviewing the subpoena, I think she is just a witness and not a likely target or subject of the investigation. She made false allegations of election fraud, and supported the ridiculous Cyber Ninjas audit in Arizona. She was not one of Arizona’s fake electors. You can view the subpoena HERE.
In walking through this seven page subpoena I’ll divide it into relevant sections.
THE COVER LETTER
Page 1 is a cover letter signed by the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia. He rather directly advises (in its very first words) that the subpoena is “pursuant to a criminal investigation.” No surprise there. Criminal investigations are what grand juries do. They are not for civil, or administrative matters. They are for criminal matters.
That this is one of many such subpoenas means the criminal investigation is widespread and that it is almost certain the grand jury will be handing down indictments. As to who those indictments might be against, we will get to that.
The second paragraph advises that in lieu of appearing before the grand jury she can simply produce the requested documents. Thus, Ms. Townsend, at this time, is just being asked to produce documents, and not to testify. A subpoena, as it always does, compels appearance. In this case appear and produce the documents (see p. 2). However, page 1 makes clear if you just produce the documents you don’t have to actually appear in D.C. A nifty incentive to produce the documents.
The third, and final paragraph, also has some standard language. “Although you are not required to do so, you are requested not to disclose the existence of this subpoena.” Again standard stuff. While they can’t prohibit you from disclosing the subpoena, they can ask you to not do so, and they did. So the DOJ would prefer that you have never seen what we are discussing. Townsend had to produce it due to an Arizona Open Records Act request.
From page 3 to near the bottom of page 6 is administrative stuff defining terms used in the production request and providing instructions on how to produce the documents. Boilerplate.
THE MATERIAL TO BE PRODUCED
Starting at the bottom of page 6 we get to the interesting stuff, the specifics of what documents the DOJ is compelling Ms. Townsend to produce. We start with:
“all documents and communications . . . Relating to the signing or mailing of any document purporting to be a Certificate certifying Elector votes in favor of Donald J. Trump and/or Michael R. Pence . . . Relating to any effort, plan, or attempt to serve as an Elector in favor of Donald J. Trump and or Michael R. Pence.”
A more clear statement that the investigation includes the fake electoral college certificates is not possible. The word “mailing” is significant as it suggests the investigation includes mail and wire fraud. That’s significant because mail/wire fraud is a predicate offense to prosecution under the RICO statute. The DOJ may be setting up a prosecution that this is part of a broad criminal enterprise implicating RICO.
What comes next is a request for documentation related to any communications, about anything, at any time, with a long list of people and organizations. There are many familiar names on that list. I’m just going to screenshot it.
Please note, that any member of the Executive Branch would include Donald Trump. It would also include Mark Meadows, Trump’s Chief of Staff and anyone else in the Administration. Of course, it’s much broader to include the Legislative Branch, thus any members of Congress. The next provision includes any member of the Trump Campaign.
There is then a list of specific names, long associated with this issue, that includes Rudy Giuliani, and a whole bunch of other Trump lawyers associated with the coup. More on that in a minute.
Then there is a second list of names for a narrower time frame:
That last name on that list is the ONLY thing redacted in this subpoena. This second list does include all the fake electors who signed the fraudulent certificates and a couple of more. Notably, they have also been separately subpoenaed.
Here is what I will tell you about the names on these two lists. If I was an attorney representing any name on that list I would advise my client that we have to assume they are at least a subject, and likely a target of the grand jury. Being a subject means they are investigating you for potential indictment. Being a target means the grand jury intends to indict you before it is done. If I were representing any name on either of those lists I would tell them that we have to assume they will be indicted and to prepare for that.
I believe this grand jury will hand down indictments. It’s what grand juries do. That the grand jury has also been taking direct testimony from high level people like former Vice President Pence’s Chief of Staff suggests this grand jury is not just going through the motions.
Future indictments will likely include many on the lists above, and more. The question, in my view, is not if, it is when. With Garland’s reminder to avoid political sensitive charges in an election year, much of this may wait until after the November election. Others, such as Giuliani, and all those lawyers, are not involved in an election, so might come sooner.