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Arizona GOP chair subpoenaed in federal investigation of fake electors

<i>Ralph Freso/Getty Images</i><br/>Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward and her husband
Getty Images
Ralph Freso/Getty Images
Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward and her husband

By Sara Murray, CNN

Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward and her husband, Michael Ward, were both subpoenaed Friday as part of the federal investigation into fake slates of electors, a source familiar with the matter tells CNN.

The investigative move is just the latest sign of the widening probe that stemmed from the January 6 insurrection. Federal investigators are pursuing information in all seven battleground states that former President Donald Trump lost and where his campaign convened fake electors, a person briefed on the matter told CNN.

The fake certificates were sent to the National Archives in the weeks after the election and had no impact on the electoral outcome.

Both of the Wards acted as so-called alternate electors in Arizona. The source also confirmed that two others involved in the effort, Nancy Cottle and Loraine Pellegrino, also received subpoenas.

Alexander Kolodin, an attorney for the Wards, told CNN: “This is an investigation based on allegations that our clients engaged in core First Amendment-protected activity, specifically, petitioning Congress for redress of grievances.”

Earlier this week, investigators subpoenaed Georgia Republican Party chairman David Shafer for information related to the fake elector scheme there. The focus on Shafer came as sources told CNN the Justice Department subpoenaed Trump electors this week in Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

The new round of subpoenas represented an escalation of a criminal probe that had previously approached lower-level Republicans. All along, however, federal investigators have pursued information about political figures higher up, including at the top of the Trump campaign.

The scheme has also been a target of the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection. The committee unveiled new information during its fourth public hearing Tuesday highlighting the role that Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson played in pushing “fake” electors for Trump on January 6, 2021.

Multiple witnesses also told the committee that Trump was personally involved in the effort to put forward slates of fake electors in key battleground states. CNN has previously reported on the role that key Trump allies, including his former attorney Rudy Giuliani, played in overseeing the effort, but witnesses revealed new details Tuesday about how the former President himself was not only aware of the push, but seemingly endorsed it.

This story has been updated with additional details.

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CNN’s Shawna Mizelle contributed to this report.

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