Jack Smith reveals sweeping scope of bid to debunk Trump election machine claims

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Special counsel Jack Smith on Saturday sharply rejected former President Donald Trump’s contention that foreign governments may have changed votes in the 2020 election, laying bare new details about his team’s extensive probe of the matter and its access to a vast array of senior intelligence officials in Trump’s administration.

In a 45-page filing, Smith’s team describes interviewing more than a dozen of the top intelligence officials in Trump’s administration — from his director of national intelligence to the administrator of the NSA to Trump’s personal intelligence briefer — about any evidence that foreign governments had penetrated systems that counted votes in 2020.

“The answer from every single official was no,” senior assistant special counsel Thomas Windom writes in the filing.

The filing was part of the special counsel’s opposition to a bid by Trump to access a broad swath of classified intelligence as part of his defense against charges that he conspired to subvert the 2020 election and disenfranchise millions of voters, culminating in the violent Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Trump has argued that foreign governments fueled his supporters’ concerns about election integrity and that some classified evidence revealed potential meddling that justified his own professed fears about fraud.

But prosecutors say Trump’s new legal effort is just an extension of his election lies — and that, in fact, intelligence officials unanimously rejected the idea that foreign governments penetrated any systems that counted votes or could have altered the election tally itself. Rather, they said, intel officials documented some breaches of state voter registration databases that permitted various influence campaigns but were not capable of causing the vote-stealing scheme of which Trump has long sought to convince his followers.

Trump, Windom writes, tries to create a “false impression” and “manufacture confusion” by citing these “irrelevant network breaches” and conflating them with potential changes to the vote total.

To rebut these claims, Windom indicates that prosecutors asked Trump’s “former DNI, former acting secretary of DHS, former acting deputy secretary of DHS, former CISA director, former acting CISA director, former CISA senior cyber counsel, former national security adviser, former deputy NSA, former chief of staff to the National Security Council, former chairman of the Election Assistance Commission, presidential intelligence briefer, former secretary of Defense and former DOJ leadership” for any evidence of that foreign or domestic actors flipped a single vote from a voting machine in 2020.

They offered none, he says.

Windom also contended that Trump’s repeated effort to describe partisan bias in intelligence about the election belied that those making the assessments were his own appointees, buttressed by conclusions at a slew of intel agencies. Windom also specified that one noted instance of bias was allegedly committed in Trump’s favor by his own acting DNI.

Trump himself declared the election “virtually impenetrable” to foreign interference just days after the vote, before shifting his rhetoric, Windom notes. This view was shared by “every other knowledgeable official” in his administration, prosecutors say.

The filing also includes a more detailed breakdown of Smith’s broader investigation than previously known, an effort to counter Trump’s contention that he needs access to a much wider swath of evidence than the millions of pages prosecutors have provided.

For example, Windom describes subpoenaing materials and witnesses from the Secret Service and the CISA. That evidence includes phones from Secret Service officials that prosecutors sought to mine for evidence only to find that none was “recoverable.” Prosecutors also emphasized that no current senior Justice Department officials are expected to be  witnesses in Trump’s trial.

Saturday’s filing adds to a collection of data points that reveal the extraordinarily wide aperture of Smith’s investigation.

In addition to the officials described in the new filing, Smith has interviewed nearly every senior official in Trump’s West Wing, from Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone to Vice President Mike Pence. He has also obtained records from the National Archives, state governments and dozens of GOP leaders and activists who were involved in Trump’s effort to send slates of fraudulent presidential electors to Congress.

Prosecutors also revealed they had provided Trump extensive details about the deployment of the National Guard on Jan. 6, including timelines of action that may not all have been made public.

Prosecutors also used the filing to push back on Trump’s contention that the charges against him contradict the case the Justice Department has made against Jan. 6 rioters. There’s nothing contradictory, they say, about prosecutors claiming a Jan. 6 rioter was responsible for his or her own criminal actions while noting that they took their cues from Trump.

And they opposed Trump’s bid for details about undercover agents or informants at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

“The defendant’s effort to blame law enforcement for the riot of which they were victims,” Windom writes, “fares no better than the attempt of a bank robber to blame security guards who failed to stop his crimes.”