The office of the secretary of state of Georgia is opening an inquiry into whether or not former president Donald Trump broke state laws when he tried to overturn the election results there, The New York Times reports.
At the heart of the inquiry are a series of phone calls Donald Trump made to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Gov. Brian Kemp and other officials to find (or manufacture) evidence of voter fraud. The inquiry is “fact-finding and administrative in nature,” and is a typical first response to complaints about election issues, Raffensperger’s office said in a statement. The findings will be brought before the GOP-controlled state board of elections, which will then determine whether to refer what they find to the state attorney general or another state agency. Keep in mind that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is considering a criminal inquiry of her own.
Here is more from The Times:
“The Secretary of State’s office investigates complaints it receives,” Walter Jones, a spokesman for the office, said in a statement on Monday. “The investigations are fact-finding and administrative in nature. Any further legal efforts will be left to the Attorney General.”
David Worley, the sole Democrat on the state elections board, said Monday that administrative inquiries by the secretary of state’s office could result in criminal charges.
“Any investigation of a statutory violation is a potential criminal investigation depending on the statute involved,” he said, adding that in the case of Mr. Trump, “The complaint that was received involved a criminal violation.”
Mr. Worley said that now that an inquiry had been started by the secretary of state’s office, he would not introduce a motion at Wednesday’s state board of election meeting, as he had originally planned to do, in an effort to refer the case to the Fulton County district attorney’s office.
Though Raffensperger was seen as a noble Republican for repudiating Trump’s fraud claims, Stacey Abrams has made clear that he and Kemp are not allies of voter rights.
“Lionizing Brad Raffensperger’s a bit wrong-headed,” the voting rights activist and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate told Stephen Colbert last month. “This man is not defending the right of voters. He’s defending an election that he ran.”
Also, he blamed Abrams for Trump not conceding because she refused to concede after Kemp stole the election from her in 2018. Republicans gon’ Republican, I guess.
President Joe Biden won the state by roughly 12,000, the first time a Democrat captured Georgia since Bill Clinton in 1992. Black Lives Matter activists on the ground and Abrams’ activism are largely responsible for turning the state blue for the first time in nearly 30 years, something many political observers thought was impossible until Abrams’ run for governor in 2018.