WASHINGTON – The top state election official in New Mexico has spoken with federal prosecutors as part of the special counsel’s probe into the 2020 election, the official's spokesman said Friday.
The meeting with New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver occurred sometime in the past few months, according to spokesman Alex Curtas, who declined further comment.
The Justice Department has spent months examining pressure campaigns by Trump associates aimed at getting battleground states won by Democrat Joe Biden to undo the results of their elections. Special counsel Jack Smith and his team have issued subpoenas to election officials in states that Trump disputed, seeking correspondence from Trump associates and campaign aides, and have also lined up interviews in recent months with state officials.
The communications with state officials are one prong of a much bigger probe by Smith and his team into efforts to block the transfer of power from Trump to Biden. It is not clear when Smith’s investigation into the run-up to the Jan. 6, 2021 riot might end or whether anyone might be charged.
A spokesman for Smith declined to comment on Friday.
CNN first reported the interview with the New Mexico secretary of state.
It’s unknown what questions were asked of Toulouse Oliver, a Democrat in her second term, about the 2020 election in New Mexico.
After Biden won the state by nearly 11 percentage points, Trump’s campaign briefly challenged the results in court before dropping the lawsuit. Republicans in the state submitted false Electoral College certificates declaring Trump the winner – though the fake electors added a caveat saying the certificates were submitted in case they were later recognized as duly elected, qualified electors.
Although Democrats control every statewide elected office in New Mexico, with majorities in the Statehouse, false claims of fraud and manipulation of voting machines in 2020 have resonated in some politically conservative communities, including Otero County, where commissioners in June 2022 initially refused to certify election results.
Former Otero County commissioner and Cowboys for Trump cofounder Couy Griffin was barred last year from holding public office for engaging in insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson have also spoken with officials from Smith’s office in recent months, according to their staffs.
Kathy Boockvar, the chief state election official in Pennsylvania during the 2020 election, said Friday she has not been asked for an interview.
It was not currently clear whether state officials overseeing elections in 2020 in Arizona, Nevada and Wisconsin – other states disputed by Trump -- have been interviewed. Claire Woodall-Vogg, the head of Milwaukee’s election commission, said in an email that she met virtually with investigators a month or two ago.
“I’m not sure what if any details I can divulge, so not much more to say,” she said.
Efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn his loss in Georgia are also the subject of a separate investigation in Atlanta's Fulton County with local prosecutors saying they expect a decision later this summer on next steps. It was in a Jan. 2, 2021, phone call that Trump suggested Raffensperger could help “find” the votes necessary to reverse Biden’s win.
Cassidy reported from Atlanta. Associated Press writer Morgan Lee in Santa Fe, New Mexico, contributed to this report.