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New subpoenas signal intensifying Justice Dept. probe into Jan. 6

When federal officials conduct this much “court-authorized law enforcement activity,” all on the same day, it's evidence of an intensifying investigation.


The number of entities investigating Team Trump’s fake elector scheme has grown over time. The list includes the National Archives, state attorneys general, as well as the Jan. 6 committee.

But looming overhead is the Justice Department’s investigation, which has unfolded relatively quietly over the course of several months, but which is clearly the most serious probe, with the potential of being highly consequential for those involved.

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco confirmed months ago that the Justice Department is “looking at” the matter, as part of an “ongoing” investigation. According to a New York Times report from last month, federal investigators have “stepped up” their criminal probe of the fake electors’ gambit. The Washington Post reported earlier this month, meanwhile, that the Justice Department “has sent subpoenas and sought interviews with some of the 15 people around the country who were slated to be Trump electors but were replaced on the day of the electoral college vote.”

It was against this backdrop that the Post advanced the story further, reporting that federal agents yesterday “dropped subpoenas on people in multiple locations,” widening the scrutiny of the plot.

Agents conducted court-authorized law enforcement activity Wednesday morning at different locations, FBI officials confirmed to The Washington Post. One was the home of Brad Carver, a Georgia lawyer who allegedly signed a document claiming to be a Trump elector. The other was the Virginia home of Thomas Lane, who worked on the Trump campaign’s efforts in Arizona and New Mexico.

According to the Post’s reporting, which has not been independently verified by MSNBC or NBC News, David Shafer, the chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, who served as a Trump elector in that state, also received a subpoena.

Around the same time, The New York Times added that Shawn Flynn, a Trump campaign aide in Michigan, also received a federal subpoena from the Justice Department, while the CBS affiliate in Las Vegas reported that FBI agents served a search warrant on Nevada Republican Party Chairman Michael McDonald, also as part of the fake elector scheme.

The same report from KLAS in Nevada, which also has not been independently verified by MSNBC or NBC News, added that James DeGraffenreid, another top official in the state GOP, was confronted with a federal search warrant yesterday. DeGraffenreid was one of the Republicans who signed his name to the forged election materials.

To be sure, it’s likely that these names are not widely familiar to a national audience. But let’s not miss the forest for the trees: For months, more than a few political observers have wondered aloud whether the Justice Department is fully engaged in investigating alleged crimes surrounding the plot to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

But when federal law enforcement agents conduct this much “court-authorized law enforcement activity,” all on the same day, as part of the same investigation, it’s evidence of an intensifying investigation.

Given what we’ve learned of late, this isn’t encouraging news for those who were responsible for concocting the fake electors scheme.

The House Jan. 6 committee is holding its fifth public hearing on Thursday, June 23 at 3 p.m. ET. Get expert analysis in real-time on our liveblog at