Fulton County District Attorney Opens Criminal Investigation Into Trump's Efforts to Overturn Georgia Election

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a homecoming campaign rally at the BB&T Center on November 26, 2019 in Sunrise, Florida.
Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images (Getty Images)

Prosecutors in Fulton County, Ga., are opening a criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump’s efforts to reverse the election results in the state, with a focus on his phone calls to several elected officials, The New York Times reports.

This news comes as House Democrats in Washington, D.C., are presiding over a Senate impeachment trial of Trump to determine if he incited the attempted coup on Jan. 6. Democratic Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, the first African-American woman to hold the position, sent a letter to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and other state officials asking that they keep documents related to “an investigation into attempts to influence the administration of the 2020 Georgia General Election.”

The Times, which obtained the letter, said it doesn’t mention Trump by name but it is connected to his actions to pressure officials into overturning the state’s election results.

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“This investigation includes, but is not limited to, potential violations of Georgia law prohibiting the solicitation of election fraud, the making of false statements to state and local governmental bodies, conspiracy, racketeering, violation of oath of office and any involvement in violence or threats related to the election’s administration,” the letter states.

By the way, here is a transcript of the phone call Trump made to Raffensperger trying to pressure him and his colleagues into finding fraud that they made clear did not exist. He also called Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp in December and try to get him to call a special legislative session to reverse his election defeat. That same month, Trump called a state investigator and pressed him to “find the fraud.”

Georgia will become the second state in which Trump faces criminal charges; New York state has been on him for several years.

Here is more background on the stakes for Trump, per the Times:

The Georgia investigation comes as Mr. Trump is also facing an ongoing criminal fraud inquiry into his finances by the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., and a civil fraud inquiry by the New York attorney general, Letitia James.

The mere beginning of an investigation into the polarizing former president could be a career-defining moment for Ms. Willis, who took office in January. She is the first African-American woman to hold the job in Georgia’s most populous county, and has already faced some daunting challenges: Atlanta is coming off a year with a high number of homicides, and Ms. Willis has promised an ambitious set of changes to the office, as well as a review of her predecessor’s controversial handling of the police shooting of a Black man, Rayshard Brooks, in June.

If Mr. Trump were to be convicted of a state crime in New York or Georgia, a federal pardon would not be applicable. In Georgia, Mr. Trump cannot look to Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, for a state pardon, and not just because the two have a fractured relationship. In Georgia, pardons are granted only by the state board of pardons and paroles.

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But here is my question: Who is Trump going to hire to defend him in Georgia? If they sound anything like the folks defending him at his impeachment hearing, he’ll need to pray for all of the white privilege and white indifference he can muster because he is fighting criminal charges on multiple fronts.

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My pessimism tells me that America is too racist to make this man pay for his crimes, but my faith tells me to sit back and let it all play out. This man has too many battles going on and one has to wonder if his cash flow to defend himself will run out.

Terrell Jermaine Starr is a senior reporter at The Root. He is currently writing a book proposal that analyzes US-Russia relations from a black perspective.

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DISCUSSION

MrMcGeein3D

With the second impeachment going on, my question is this:

Does being convicted of a state crime bar Trump from running for election in 2024? Because I fucking hope so.