Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, who like other Democrats in executive roles in that state was recently re-elected, received and complied with a subpoena from Special Counsel Jack Smith, who is leading the Justice Department’s investigation into Donald Trump’s handling of classified materials from his administration and his political schemes to stay in power.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Benson complied with the subpoena by the middle of December, providing materials including documentation of communications dealing with poll watchers for the then-upcoming 2020 elections. Some of the provided emails centered on planning a meeting with Trump campaign officials and others to discuss related rules. A separate report from CNN says that Benson’s team, besides more mundane materials like emails asserting voter fraud was present on which pro-Trump figures were copied, also gave Smith documentation of a call from someone claiming they were on Trump’s legal team and seeking access to election equipment. It’s unclear who might have placed that call.
“Included in the response from Michigan’s secretary of state is an email from a county official who was reporting two voicemails they received in December 2020 from individuals seeking access to voting equipment,” CNN explained, adding that the clerk credited one of the messages to someone claiming they worked for Trump. It could, in theory, be the case that the caller was lying, although Sidney Powell — who Trump himself once named as a member of his legal team after the 2020 election — was personally involved with pursuing data from election equipment in multiple states, including Michigan. Emails show she coordinated what was supposed to be payment for a tech firm pursuing such data in Wayne County, which includes the city Detroit. How that attempt turned out — including whether Powell and her associates successfully obtained that data they were after — wasn’t immediately clear in the reporting that revealed they pursued it at all first released last fall.
Elsewhere, Smith has also pursued information from local and state election officials in highly contested locales including Georgia and Nevada. In the latter, county officials in Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, provided Smith with communications from just days after the election in 2020 showing individuals credited as Trump lawyers pushing claims thousands improperly cast ballots despite moving out of Nevada. Trump’s team also sought the names of members of a county ballot tabulation board, a request that the local registrar was resistant to quickly fulfilling out of concern for these election workers’ safety. In Georgia, Ruby Freeman and her daughter Shaye Moss, who were election workers in the Atlanta area in 2020, are still — as recently as this week — facing conspiracy theories about their supposed involvement in imaginary 2020 fraud from Trump.