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Justice Department intensifies its criminal probe into actions on Jan. 6


The Justice Department has issued new subpoenas in the January 6 investigation.


The New York Times and CNN are reporting the subpoenas went to dozens of people in former President Trump's circle. Investigators seem to be digging into Trump's post-election fundraising and other actions as he tried to stay in office after his election defeat.

MARTÍNEZ: Zachary Cohen is a national security reporter for CNN. Zachary, the Justice Department has subpoenaed more than 30 people with close connections to the former president. Who's among them?

ZACHARY COHEN: Yeah, that's right. This is really a big group. You know, it includes top officials from Trump's political fundraising and former campaign operation. You know, some of the bigger names include Bill Stepien, Trump's former campaign manager. He was really the center of Trump's orbit during that latter part of 2020 as, you know, the attempt to overturn the election was happening. You have Sean Dollman, who worked for Trump's 2020 presidential campaign as the chief financial officer, and then, of course, Dan Scavino, who was Trump's former deputy chief of staff. Now, you'll remember Scavino - the January 6 committee wanted Scavino to come in and talk to them. Ultimately, he refused, and the Justice Department decided not to hold him in contempt. But Scavino is among those who, our sources say, received a subpoena. And really, at the end of the day, this is just the latest sign that the Justice Department's probe into January 6 and efforts to overturn the 2020 election is intensifying.

MARTÍNEZ: So what kind of information - specific information - is the DOJ trying to find out?

COHEN: Some of the subpoenas were really broad in scope. But at a core level, they're looking for documents and, in some cases, testimony before a grand jury in Washington, D.C. Now, as far as the kind of information they're looking for, it's really a range of issues. The Justice Department, in some of these subpoenas, wants information about, you know, the effort to put forth slates of fake electors in key battleground states. Some of the subpoenas want information about Trump's primary fundraising and political vehicle, the Save America PAC, the organizing of the Trump rally on January 6, and any communication with a broad list of people who worked to overturn the 2020 election results. So really covering a lot of ground there in these subpoenas in really a broad scope.

MARTÍNEZ: What do you make of the timing of these latest subpoenas? Because I know we're very close to the midterm elections, and typically the DOJ tends to kind of keep it on the DL when it comes to this kind of stuff, especially this close to an election.

COHEN: That's right. This activity really came in the days just before the Justice Department starts what is really its preelection quiet period. And that's a 60-day period before the midterm election. You know, the department generally seeks to avoid taking overt investigative action in politically sensitive investigations to really avoid the appearance of trying to affect the election. So this is really a flurry of activity before that 60-day period is expected to begin.

MARTÍNEZ: What does, then, this suggest about where this investigation is now heading?

COHEN: Well, based on the topics in the subpoenas and the kind of information they're looking for, it really does look like the next step in trying to get information about just about everything related to efforts to overturn the 2020 election, as well as any potential connections to the fundraising efforts of the Trump campaign and the political operation and potentially connecting to the violence on January 6. So it really looks like the DOJ is still covering a very broad scope as far as its investigations are concerned. So we'll have to see how that plays out going forward.

MARTÍNEZ: What about for former President Trump? What could this mean for him?

COHEN: It really remains to be seen. It's - again, they're really covering a broad scope here. But there's been several people really in his inner orbit that received subpoenas recently. So we'll have to see if they go in and they speak to the grand jury or they hand over the information the DOJ is looking for.

MARTÍNEZ: All right, CNN national security reporter Zachary Cohen. Zachary, thanks.

COHEN: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.