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Special counsel Jack Smith’s team has quietly withdrawn a second subpoena for records pertaining to then-President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign, according to a report published late last week.
The New York Times said that the subpoena was initially “part of their investigation into whether Mr. Trump’s political and fund-raising operations committed any crimes as he sought to stay in power after he lost the election, according to two people familiar with the matter.”
The Times continued, “The decision to effectively kill the subpoena to the Trump campaign came on the heels of the withdrawal of a similar subpoena to Save America, the political action committee that Mr. Trump’s advisers formed shortly after he lost the election in 2020.”
The outlet went on to speculate that the withdrawal of the two subpoenas seeking records from Donald J. Trump for President Inc. and the Save America PAC indicated that Smith was either slowing his probe into whether Trump’s political operations violated any laws by claiming the 2020 election was rife with fraud. The withdrawal could also indicate that Smith’s team is closing that aspect of the months-long investigation.
The Washington Post was the first to report that the subpoena for records from Save America was withdrawn.
The Times adds:
For more than a year, Mr. Smith’s team, following a path first taken by the House select committee that investigated what led to the events of Jan. 6, 2021, has been trying to determine whether Mr. Trump and his aides violated federal wire fraud laws in their fund-raising.
The former president’s team raised nearly $250 million with widespread claims that the election had been rigged against Mr. Trump, even though he had been told several times that there was no substantial evidence the vote results had been marred by cheating.
Trump’s team had long maintained that language used in fundraising materials is often exaggerated and bombastic. They note that the First Amendment protects such language, though Smith’s team drilled down deeper into those materials to see if the campaign or Save America had violated any laws.
According to the Post, Smith is reducing the number of subpoenas he issued in an attempt to learn whether or not Trump tried to profit from spreading false rumors that Joe Biden stole the 2020 election.
According to two sources familiar with the situation, Smith’s demand was dropped while Save America was in the midst of compiling responsive documents. Representatives for both Save America and the Office of the Special Counsel were unavailable for comment.
While it is not uncommon for federal investigations to have a wide scope, Smith’s apparent hesitation to continue that aspect of his case suggests he is growing wary of allegations that Trump pressured state officials to accept slates of alternate delegates and challenged the tabulation of votes by voting machines, all of which involve Trump and his powerful fundraising machine. Save America is not named as a co-conspirator in the original indictment against Trump.
Meanwhile, the federal judge overseeing Trump’s classified documents case handed Smith and his team another setback last week.
Smith and his prosecutors had requested to keep documents seized during the FBI’s August 2022 raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in a private facility outside of the Florida district where the case was filed, but U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, whom Trump appointed, refused to allow it.
Cannon ordered Smith to share the documents in a location convenient for Trump’s legal time, within the South Florida district.
“The parties advised the production of classified discovery to defense counsel is deemed timely upon placement in an accredited facility in the Southern District of Florida, not in another federal district,” Cannon wrote. “It is the responsibility of the Office of the Special Counsel to make and carry out arrangements to deposit such discovery to defense counsel in this District.”
The ruling is another that is favorable to Trump, as it builds on a previous decision over the summer denying Smith’s request to hide his list of 84 witnesses from Trump’s legal team.