News Roundup: Trump Investigations

The Georgia investigation into former President Trump’s election-overturning efforts has reportedly broadened to include activities that took place in other states.

  • According to the Washington Post, in recent days Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis “has sought information related to the Trump campaign hiring two firms to find voter fraud across the United States and then burying their findings when they did not find it.”

Special Counsel Jack Smith at the U.S. Justice Department is also investigating the former president’s efforts to overturn his election loss.

  • The New York Times reported this week that Smith’s team has subpoenaed Trump White House staffers who may have been involved in the firing of Chris Krebs, the administration’s top cybersecurity official who had refuted Trump’s claims of a “rigged” election.
  • Krebs was fired as director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in November 2020, after his office published a statement rejecting Trump’s claims.
  • We filed a FOIA request for related records and in January 2021 DHS told us that it had no records of communications between the White House and agency officials about the firing.

That’s not the only federal investigation Trump is facing. Smith is also overseeing the investigation of Trump’s potential mishandling of classified documents.

  • Smith has reportedly obtained a recording from 2021 in which Trump appears to brag about having kept a classified defense document about a potential attack on Iran.
  • “The recording indicates Trump understood he retained classified material after leaving the White House,” reported CNN. According to CNN’s sources, “On the recording, Trump’s comments suggest he would like to share the information but he’s aware of limitations on his ability post-presidency to declassify records.”
  • Prosecutors are also looking into whether Trump or his aides interfered with the government’s attempt to get security footage from Mar-a-Lago, where he kept the trove of classified documents.

On the Records

Kari Lake Trial Witness Worked on Cyber Ninjas ‘Audit’
A witness who testified on behalf of Kari Lake in the former Arizona gubernatorial candidate’s election lawsuit was also involved in the “audit” of votes in Maricopa County.

  • As the Arizona Republic reported last week — based on documents released through American Oversight’s and the newspaper’s litigation for “audit” records — Erich Speckin frequently texted with former Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan. 
  • Speckin took part in examining ballot images for the sham “audit,” with records revealing that Logan asked Speckin about “potential fraudulent ballots” and whether those ballots might have “[favored] Biden.” According to the Republic, Speckin told the court that he was neither working for Cyber Ninjas nor was the firm working for him. 

Other Stories We’re Following

Election Denial and Threats to Democracy
  • Republicans try to put rampant voter challenger on Fulton election board (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
  • Nevada becomes latest to enhance penalties for election worker intimidation after statewide exodus (NBC News)
  • With new voting bills, Texas Legislature targets elections in Democratic stronghold (New York Times
  • Tussle in Texas over how elections are run could spread to other states (Stateline)
  • 18 Pa. candidates who spread election misinformation are poised to oversee local voting in 2024 (Spotlight PA/Votebeat)
  • NC lawmakers expected to roll out major election law changes, with input from former Trump lawyer (WRAL Raleigh)
  • After harassment, Arizona county official won’t run for reelection (Washington Post)
  • Hobbs vetoes bill that would have removed Arizona from voter-registration program (Associated Press)
  • Kentucky eyeing exit from bipartisan voter data partnership hit by conspiracy theories (Lexington Herald-Leader)
  • GOP-led states plan new voter data systems to replace one they rejected. Good luck with that. (NC Newsline)
In the States
  • Six Texas AG employees take leave of absence to defend Ken Paxton at impeachment trial (Texas Tribune)
  • Abbott taps John Scott, former Texas secretary of state, as interim attorney general (Texas Tribune)
  • New Florida law shields billionaire-owned space companies from being sued (Florida Today)
  • Ron DeSantis’ security becomes a flashpoint for Florida’s top police agency (NBC News)
  • Florida elections officials quietly made it easier for Ron DeSantis to fund his 2024 bid (NBC News)
  • Judge rules Missouri AG had no authority to order end of school mask mandates (Missouri Independent)
  • Arizona Senate Covid hearing light on facts, heavy on misinformation (Arizona Mirror
Jan. 6 Investigations
  • Jan. 6 rioters are raking in thousands in donations. Now the U.S. is coming after their haul (Associated Press)
  • Jan. 6 sentences are piling up. Here’s a look at some of the longest handed down. (Politico)
  • Two Oath Keepers sentenced for roles in Jan. 6 seditious conspiracy (New York Times)
  • Ex-Trump White House official Peter Navarro to go on trial in September in Jan. 6 contempt case (Associated Press)
National News
  • Right-wing think tank Family Research Council is now a church in eyes of the IRS (ProPublica)
  • Pentagon is blocking U.S. cooperation with international investigations of war crimes in Ukraine (NBC News)
  • Texas bans civics lessons involving student interactions with elected officials (Truthout
  • Texas lawmakers pass ban on DEI programs at state universities (New York Times)
  • Cost of Arizona’s private school voucher program expected to balloon to $900 million in next year (Arizona Republic)
  • Christopher Rufo launched the Critical Race Theory panic. He isn’t done. (Mother Jones
  • ‘Mass confusion.’ Rule threatening Missouri library funding over ‘obscene’ books takes effect (Kansas City Star
Civil Rights
  • ​Tennessee law sows fear among drag performers ahead of Pride month (New York Times)
  • Anti-trans laws are targeting autistic youth and those with mental health conditions (19th News)
  • New York City jails no longer announcing deaths behind bars, angering watchdogs (The City)
  • Bill to require 25 feet between police and public advances to Louisiana Senate (Louisiana Illuminator)
Abortion Rights
  • Oklahoma high court strikes down 2 abortion bans; procedure remains illegal in most cases (Politico)
  • In rare move, Nevada’s Republican governor strengthens abortion rights protections (CBS News)
  • Indiana medical board reprimands doctor who publicly discussed providing abortion services to 10-year-old Ohio rape victim (CNN)
  • Three GOP lawmakers make a new attempt to amend Wisconsin’s 1849 abortion law to exempt pregnancy complications (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
  • U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz to retire in June, opening key vacancy (CBS News)
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection investigation finds multiple failings in the death of 8-year-old girl in federal custody (Texas Tribune)
  • Trump vows to end birthright citizenship for children of unauthorized immigrants if he wins in 2024 (CBS News
  • Virginia, West Virginia latest to send National Guard to Texas border (Axios)
  • Why Florida’s new immigration law is troubling businesses and workers alike (NPR)