DOJ Collects Trump Flacks' Phones Just Because They Admitted They Were Doing Crimes, WITCH HUNT!
File:Epshteyn Boris.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

The Justice Department is tightening the vise in its investigation of Donald Trump's interference in the 2020 election, issuing 40 subpoenas and seizing the phones of two top MAGA lackeys, the New York Times reported last night. The query is focused on the plot to substitute fake electors for the swing state slates on January 6, 2021, either ensuring Trump's victory outright or at least blocking Joe Biden's certification.

The Times reports that the FBI seized phones belonging to Trump advisor Boris Epshteyn, who ran point for the campaign on the electors scheme, as well as his assistant Mike Roman, a former Koch brothers-funded oppo researcher who worked in the White House as a loyalty enforcer. And thanks to a story from the same paper in July — credit to Maggie Haberman where it's due — we can make a pretty good guess as to why Roman and Epshteyn might have found themselves in the DOJ's crosshairs.

Epshteyn exchanged emails about the plot with a team of lawyers including Jenna Ellis, the campaign's Pennsylvania counsel Bruce Marks, the campaign's Wisconsin counsel James Troupis, Roman's deputy Gary Michael Brown, and Christina Bobb, who was simultaneously "reporting" for One American News and now finds herself at the center of the Mar-a-Lago stolen document debacle. Unbelievably, these dipshits seem to have admitted among themselves in writing that what they were doing was totally illegal.

“We would just be sending in ‘fake’ electoral votes to Pence so that ‘someone’ in Congress can make an objection when they start counting votes, and start arguing that the ‘fake’ votes should be counted,” Jack Wilenchik, a Phoenix-based lawyer who helped organize the pro-Trump electors in Arizona, wrote in a Dec. 8, 2020, email to Boris Epshteyn, a strategic adviser for the Trump campaign.

In a follow-up email, Mr. Wilenchik wrote that “‘alternative’ votes is probably a better term than ‘fake’ votes,” adding a smiley face emoji.


Epshteyn was also a key point of contact between the campaign and attorney John Eastman, who emailed on Christmas Eve 2020 to suggest that perhaps it was time for Trump to start mobilizing his supporters for a little direct action, wink wink.

“Thought I’d forward this," he said of an attached email from a coup fan. "74 Million strong. Let’s figure out a targeted way to deploy them. Rolling thunder? One legislature at a time? The others can see it coming.”

And as we said at the time, "Let's take a wildass guess that if Maggie Haberman and Luke Broadwater have these hilariously incriminating campaign emails, so does Attorney General Garland." And now he's got their phones, too. Hooray!

Yesterday's article has such MAGAworld luminaries as Dan Scavino and former New York police commissioner and Trump pardon recipient Bernie Kerik joining the subpoena club. And unlike with the House January 6 Select Committee, they're not going to be able to just abstain courteously.

It also appears that Trump's Save America PAC is getting some attention from a federal grand jury in DC, as was confirmed by recent AP reporting, including an article this morning describing the fundraising juggernaut, which is currently sitting on almost $100 million in cash. As the AP notes, Trump has been tightfisted with some of the political candidates he dragged across the finish line (cough, cough Blake Masters), but has used the donated PAC money to cover millions of dollars in legal fees for his pals. Hey, remember during the Mueller investigation when literally everyone in Trumpland was in a joint defense agreement? Ah, memories.

Trump also made a million dollar donation from the PAC to Mark Meadows's employer, the Conservative Partnership Institute, less than a month after Meadows blew off the January 6 Select Committee. Cool timing, bro.

As the AP reports, Trump's three appointees to the Federal Election Commission have effectively deadlocked the body, refusing to investigate Republicans, particularly the Trump campaign, for campaign finance violations. But that won't stop the Justice Department.

“He has nothing to fear from the Federal Election Commission until either its structure is changed or there is turnover among the FEC Commissioners,” said Brett G. Kappel, a longtime campaign finance attorney who works at the Washington-based firm Harmon Curran and has represented both Republicans and Democrats. “That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have anything to fear from the Justice Department, which is already apparently investigating Save America. From what I can see, there are multiple wire fraud allegations that could be the subject of a Justice Department investigation.”

There are a lot of balls in the air, here, and any one of them could do a fair bit of damage if it landed on Trump's head. This is causing great upsetment to Jeff Clark, the coup plotting former Justice Department lawyer who also recently had his phone seized by the FBI.

And since we've been talking so much about special masters, it's worth pointing out that the Justice Department is going to have to take special precautions when dealing with communications by and between so many lawyers. We know from the warrant to seize Eastman's phone that the Justice Department contemplated imaging the device to capture its contents and then seeking further judicial review before looking at them. So put a pin in that one, because you can bet your bottom dollar that these guys are going to scream holy hell about attorney-client privilege, and probably executive privilege, too.

In summary and in conclusion, LOCK HER UP, Uncle Merrick, please and thank you.

[NYT / NYT / AP]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.


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