Federal investigators in Trump’s mock voter investigation interview Republicans in two states

In one case, FBI agents asked a prominent Georgia Republican if he had had direct talks with Trump.

“They just asked who spoke to me. If anyone from the Trump campaign has been in touch with me. Has Giuliani spoken to me? Has Trump spoken to me?” said Patrick Gartland, who was due to serve as a voter but dropped out. He recounted how two FBI agents visited his home in Marietta, Georgia, a few weeks ago.

Investigators sought answers this month from Gartland and others associated with the Republican Party in Georgia and Michigan — both in FBI interviews and in grand jury subpoenas for documents and testimony. Investigators are looking into whether the Trump campaign played a role in providing fraudulent election certificates, according to people contacted by the Justice Department.

The aggressiveness of the federal investigation in the warring states over the voter issue has not previously been reported. The Justice Department has charged hundreds of rioters who stormed the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, and in recent months, investigators have expanded the scope of their work, looking for information about people in circles more closely connected with politics.

Searching for documents in Georgia

Subpoenas issued to Gartland and others in Georgia seek to communicate with “any member, employee, or agent of Donald J. Trump or any organization that supports Donald J. Trump’s 2020 re-election,” including his official campaign.

The subpoenas also seek any contacts with more than two dozen Trump campaign officials, lawyers and voters in Georgia. CNN reported Wednesday that a recent subpoena related to alternative voters requested contact with Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, Trump campaign attorney Justin Clark, right-wing attorney John Eastman, and others.

The question hanging over Georgia’s Republican Party and Trump’s campaign was whether voters made fake lists to fraudulently circumvent Biden’s victory in the Electoral College, or if they believed they were submitting alternative lists if Trump’s legal challenges were successful. No court has allowed Trump to annul the election results.

A Trump spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

No one has been charged with a crime in connection with the alternative voter lists. A spokesman for the US Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C., which is overseeing the Justice Department’s Jan. 6 investigation, declined to comment.

A special grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia is also investigating Trump’s efforts to nullify the 2020 election, including fraudulent voters. This is separate from the federal investigation.

Federal subpoenas were issued to Republicans with one common denominator: the people who were appointed as Trump voters in 2020 but eventually backed out.

Gartland was an elector for the state, until he became an official on the Board of Elections in 2020 and relinquished the position of elector because there was a potential conflict of interest. The FBI asked Gartland about the episode.

He told the FBI that he had no direct contact with anyone in the Trump campaign. “But hey, I’m no one,” he joked in an interview with CNN.

FBI agents also spoke with Jason Shepherd, another former Georgia Republican Party official, several times this month, asking him if he had any conversations with Trump campaign officials after the election.

Gartland asked Shepherd to fill his place as an elector, but Shepherd ultimately did not serve in the role. He said he also received a subpoena for documents dating back to October 1, 2020, and to testify before a federal grand jury this month.

“They were asking about the campaign and the list in Georgia, trying to figure out what I might have had access to and what I was special about,” Shepherd told CNN.

Shepherd said he didn’t have any documents to hand, but encouraged federal investigators to summon other party officials in the state. He said voters who served the service may have thought they were helping the Trump administration and the Republican Party.

“The devil has to be really in the details and the details,” Shepherd said.

Three more Georgia Republicans dropped off the list before Jan. 6 last year — plus Shepherd and Gartland. They either did not respond to CNN’s inquiries or declined to comment.

He said Shepherd was not specifically asked about contacts with Trump, adding that he had nothing to report anyway.

FBI interview in Michigan

In Michigan, Republican federal investigators with similar roles followed up in 2020 to share information about the regulation of Trump’s voter lists.

Gerald Wall, a longtime Republican official in rural northern Michigan, said about two weeks ago that he arrived home to find two men in black suits outside his garage.

He said one was an FBI agent, and the other was from the National Archives. “Instead of standing in the garage, I invited them into the house,” Wall said.

Federal agents spoke to Wall for 45 minutes, asking him about the voter list for Trump in Michigan in 2020, which was presented to the federal government despite Biden’s victory there.

Wall, 85, says he was battling severe coronavirus in the 2020 election, which made it impossible for him to be a voter at the time. He was replaced by another GOP member as a voter.

“I have nothing to do with signing the certificates,” Wall told CNN on Friday. He said investigators “just asked me how I felt about it. I said yes, there were wrongdoings in Michigan.”

Before leaving, he said, agents handed Wall a subpoena to testify before the grand jury. But he told them he would not be able to travel yet and had nothing to share. “I told them in my form that I wasn’t going to Washington,” Wall said.

This title and story were updated with additional reporting on Friday.

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