Milwaukee, Dane County election officials subpoenaed by DOJ regarding communication with Trump

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Dane and Milwaukee County election officials were issued subpoenas by the U.S. Department of Justice regarding communications they had with former President Donald Trump and his allies related to the 2020 presidential election.

Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell and Milwaukee County Clerk George Christenson confirmed with CBS 58 they were both issued subpoenas by Jack Smith, the DOJ special counsel recently hired by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to review the Jan. 6 attack and Trump's criminal probe regarding classified documents found at his Mar-a-Lago home.

The subpoenas request records of any communications with 19 officials, including John Eastman, a former legal advisor to Trump who pushed and failed to convince Assembly Speaker Robin Vos to decertify the 2020 results, and James Troupis, a lawyer hired by the Trump campaign to oversee recounts in Dane and Milwaukee County. 

McDonell said he had contact with Troupis regarding the recount in Dane County, but "no one else on the list."

Christenson also confirmed he had communication with Troupis and added he doesn't believe any records he has will reveal any new information. 

"I don't believe there will be any smoking gun," said Christenson. "I think they are still on a fact-finding mission to determine what, if any, laws have been broken."

Both recounts in Dane and Milwaukee confirmed Biden's victory over Trump by more than 20,000 votes. In the end, Biden's lead grew by 87 votes in Wisconsin. 

The other name that stands out to Christenson and McDonell on the list is John Eastman, who tried and failed to convince Assembly Speaker Robin Vos to decertify the 2020 election -- a move that is legally not possible.

Both clerks tell CBS 58 they don't remember having any direct contact with Eastman but believe DOJ investigators are trying to connect Eastman with his involvement in the fake slate of electors scheme. 

"I don't think there isn't anything new, but perhaps there's some linkages between other states they can put together that I don't know about," McDonell said.

The subpoenas, first reported by the Washington Post, ask Christenson and McDonell to send over documents by Friday. It also requests depositions on Friday, Dec. 9 at 9 a.m. in Washington, but both clerks said they were told they do not need to appear in person and can send records electronically.

Smith also subpoenaed local officials in Arizona and Michigan -- two states the Trump campaign filed lawsuits in seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 election, efforts that failed.

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