Arizona investigators issue grand jury subpoenas as state’s 2020 Trump election probe accelerates

This is a sign that the attorney general of the state will soon decide whether or not to file criminal charges.

Arizona prosecutors issued grand jury subpoenas in recent weeks to several people connected to Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign. This marked a significant acceleration in their criminal investigation of efforts to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in Arizona.

First reported here, the new steps are a sign of Attorney General Kris Mayes’, a Democrat decision to charge Trump allies, including GOP activists that falsely posed in December 2020 as presidential electors.

Six people who wish to remain anonymous have been granted permission to discuss the details of an ongoing investigation.

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The Attorney General’s Office declined to comment.

Mayes has not made it clear if she is preparing charges against Trump’s campaign officials or if her investigation will remain focused on Arizona GOP officials and activist who helped Trump in his bid to reverse the presidential election results of the state. Mayes said to CNN in November that the investigation was “robust.”

Mayes investigators are examining the “alternate voters” who falsely signed documents claiming Trump won the state. Georgia, Michigan and Nevada prosecutors have brought charges against fake Trump electors.

Mayes’ team also questioned people about Trump, former White House Chief-of-Staff Mark Meadows, and Trump attorneys John Eastman & Kenneth Chesebro.

Chesebro pleaded guilty in Georgia for his role as an architect in Trump’s plan to create false slates of electors, in six states that Biden won. He has also cooperated with investigators from Nevada, Michigan, and Wisconsin. He also agreed to talk to Arizona prosecutors late last year.

Kelli Ward was among the 11 activists in Arizona who posed as fake voters. Jake Hoffman and Anthony Kern are both state senators.

Trump focused his efforts on the state to undermine Biden’s win, presenting some of the first, loudest, and most flimsiest allegations of election fraud.

Trump tried to get Rusty Bowers, the then-state House Speaker and Gov. Doug Ducey was asked to assist him. They were able to scuttle Trump’s plans by opposing them and putting themselves at odds with Ward, and other leaders of the party who supported Trump’s radical approach.

Mayes may be the last prosecutor to file charges against Trump for his efforts to contest the results of the 2020 elections. Jack Smith, a federal special counsel, has accused Trump of a conspiracy to disenfranchise thousands of voters. In Georgia, state prosecutors have charged the former president with 18 of his cronies for a racketeering plot to interfere in the Georgia election.

Attorneys general from Michigan and Nevada also filed charges against Republicans who falsely claimed that they were the presidential electors of their respective states.

George Terwilliger said, when asked about the escalation in the Arizona investigation, that federal elections are federal issues. “As the Supreme Court has made clear again with the Trump v. Anderson ruling, federal elections and federal matters. Georgia’s fiasco shows what happens when state officials try to police federal issues.

Terwilliger was making reference to the Supreme Court decision of Monday, which prevented states from removing Trump’s name from their ballots for 2024 under the Constitutional insurrection clause.

Ward and other false Arizona voters joined a lawsuit filed in late 2020 to press then Vice President Mike Pence into asserting the power to stop Biden’s win on Jan. 6, when he was to preside over the electoral votes count at Congress. Smith’s Washington, D.C. indictment against Trump included that lawsuit, noting that Trump had “berated Pence” for opposing it.

Ward invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when the select committee of Jan. 6, 2006, attempted to subpoena Ward’s testimony regarding these incidents. Ward also fought a committee attempt to get her phone records but lost in the Supreme Court.

Arizona has been a Republican stronghold for years. This is changing. Biden was the first Democratic candidate for president to win in 2020 since 1996. In 2022, Mayes was elected attorney general with just 280 votes. In 2024, the state will host a highly competitive Senate race where Rep. Ruben Galego (D-Ariz.), one of Trump’s most ardent allies, takes on Kari Lake.