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Justice Department subpoenas two Arizona state senators in Jan. 6 inquiry

The Justice Department has subpoenaed two Republican Arizona state senators for information related to possible correspondence with lawyers for President Donald Trump amid attempts to overturn the results of the presidential election in 2020 were underway.

Karen Fann, President of the Arizona Senate, and Sen. Kelly Townsend received subpoenas last week, according to Kim Quintero, spokesperson for Senate Republicans in Arizona. The subpoenas came as the Justice Department deepened its investigation into the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol to include key Republican players in battleground states. Fann and Townsend are the first known state lawmakers to receive subpoenas in connection with the push.

Jan. 6 investigation expands with new subpoenas in multiple states

The Yellow Sheet Report, a political advice sheet, first reported the news. Lawmakers received the subpoenas at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix. Federal agents attempted to deliver Townsend’s to her home, she said; she invited them to the state house, where she worked.

The subpoenas came the same week Arizona House Speaker Russell “Rusty” Bowers (right) testified before the US House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack. Bowers testified to efforts by Trump and his allies to undo the former president’s loss in Arizona.

Bowers told the Washington Post on Friday that he had not been subpoenaed and was not aware of any members of the Arizona House who had been subpoenaed.

Fann and Townsend are complying with the request, Quintero said, and staff members have already identified tens of thousands of voter and other records that may match what is widely requested. The subpoenas are identical and ask for emails and text messages, Quintero said.

“They’re asking for texts and emails from a list of people, whose identities I can’t divulge, because they told us not to tell the media about it,” she said.

Before Townsend took office in the state Senate in 2021, she served on the Arizona House and chaired the Elections Committee.

She was among Republican lawmakers who pressed state legislative leaders to help name an Arizona alternate voter list more favorable to Trump, despite his small loss. Townsend also attended a Nov. 30, 2020, event in downtown Phoenix with Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and other Trump allies where they falsely claimed widespread fraud tainted the election.

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“As chairman of the elections committee, we were trying to hold a committee and do investigations,” Townsend said in a Friday interview with The Washington Post. “Because it was at issue, we wanted to have an alternate list in case a fraud was uncovered and found.”

She said an initial review of records in response to the subpoena retrieved 50,000 documents, almost all from voters. Townsend said state Senate staffers asked the Justice Department to restrict his request.

Fann was among state lawmakers who attended a Dec. 1, 2020, meeting with Giuliani, attorney Jenna Ellis and others who requested a formal legislative hearing to raise the fraud charges.

The hearing never took place, but Fann, on behalf of the state Senate, launched a month-long review of 2.1 million ballots cast by voters in Arizona’s Maricopa County. The review was widely criticized as falling short of election auditing standards. Ultimately, he found no evidence of widespread fraud, but cited flaws in the election process.

Here’s what you need to know about the Arizona Ballot Review Final Report

The review concluded that Democrat Joe Biden won by a margin slightly larger than the official election results.

The two senators are the latest Republican figures from Arizona whose activities around the 2020 election are being monitored by federal law enforcement.

Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward and her husband, Michael, who served as alternate voters, received Justice Department grand jury subpoenas earlier this month. So did two GOP activists who served as surrogate voters, Nancy Cottle and Loraine Pellegrino, people familiar with the matter said.

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