It has been almost two years since Donald Trump lost his bid for re-election, refusing to acknowledge and launching an all-out campaign to stay in the White House instead.
Since then, numerous investigations and public hearings have been conducted to prove the crime, including hearings by the House Committee of Inquiry into the U.S. Capitol attack, and the activities of the then president and his party.
But far from the bright light of that hearing and the dramatic live broadcast, a potentially more important investigation is underway in Georgia – which could provide the best opportunity to bring criminal charges against the former president.
This week, a special grand jury investigating possible criminal interference in Georgia’s 2020 presidential election results subpoenaed key players in the legal team that advised Mr. Trump. The group included Trump’s personal lawyers Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Cletta Mitchell, Kenneth Chesapeake and Jenna Ellis. Trump’s ally, Senator Lindsay Graham, was also included.
The lawsuit filed in court alleges “a multi-state, integrated plan of the Trump campaign to influence the outcome of the November 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere.” A 23-person grand jury was impeached in May and has already heard from numerous witnesses.
Although the subpoenas do not necessarily indicate that the recipients are the subject of an investigation, they do represent the closest criminal investigation into electoral interference that has reached Mr. Trump and his inner circle.
The investigation from which they arose was initiated in February 2021 by Fulton County District Attorney Fanny Willis. It marks Trump’s attempt to overturn Georgia’s election results, an attempt that included his infamous Jan. 2 phone call with Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, where he told her to “find” 11,000 votes.
According to Norman Eisen, a former special counsel to the House Judiciary Committee during Donald Trump’s first impeachment and a senior fellow at Governance Studies in Brookings, this week’s subpoenas are still the clearest sign that the investigation is moving forward.
“I think it’s a sign that the prosecutor is moving fast, he’s driving hard and there are a lot of legal risks for Trump and his associates,” he said. Freedom.
He added that the Georgia investigation was “the single biggest legal threat” to Mr. Trump and his entourage.
“Having a prosecutor who has the most appropriate state law, has some of the best evidence, including tape of a January 2 smoking gun, and who actually has the character and experience to sue the president. So, yes, I think, ”he added.
The investigation could have a profound effect on the future of the United States, not just Mr. Trump and his allies. Mr. Trump has indicated he plans to run again in 2024 and will likely win the Republican nomination. One thing that could ruin these plans is the criminal charge for interfering in the election.
Democrats and supporters of democracy have been frustrated with the judiciary and Attorney General Merrick Garland for failing to move fast enough with an investigation into the 2020 election interference. The department gave no public indication that it was considering a lawsuit against Mr. Trump.
The results of the January 8 committee have added to that frustration. But Mr. Garland, a former federal judge who promised to restore the independence of the judiciary after four years of instability under the Trump administration, was cautious.
Mrs. Willis, who is leading the Georgia investigation, did not face the same consideration. On Wednesday, he refused to cancel the subpoena to Mr. Trump.
“Anything is possible,” he said NBC NewsHe added that the Atlanta Grand Jury would issue additional subpoenas to more of Trump’s associates.
He continued: “I think people thought we came into it as a kind of game. It’s not a game at all. What I’m doing is very serious. It’s very important work. And we’re going to do our best and make sure we don’t sue.” I am looking in all directions. ”
The grand jury heard testimony from a number of witnesses who had direct contact with Trump and his allies after the election, according to Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Which first reported subpoenas. Among those witnesses was Brad Raffensperger, who was the main target of Mr. Trump’s pressure campaign.
Trump’s allies subpoenaed this week that everyone played a role in that campaign. Mr Giuliani pushed for the snatching of “suitcases” of ballots by election workers to testify before Georgia legislators in late 2020 and the fraudulent demand for rigged election machines.
The subpoena issued to him said he “possesses unique knowledge about communication between himself, former President Trump, the Trump campaign and other known and unknown individuals involved in the multinational, coordinated effort to influence the outcome of the November 2020 election in Georgia. And elsewhere.”
Perhaps most relevant to the possible criminal charges against Mr. Trump is the subpoena issued to Cletta Mitchell, an attorney who sat down with Mr. Raffensperger in a January 2021 phone call.
His subpoena said: “During the telephone call, witnesses and others complained of widespread voter fraud in Georgia’s November 2020 election and pressured Secretary Raffensperger to take action in his official capacity to investigate baseless allegations of fraud.”
Lindsay Graham, a Republican senator from South Carolina, called Mr. Raffensperger and his staff twice to re-examine some of Georgia’s missing ballots.
Mr Graham’s attorneys Bert Daniel and Matt Austin said in a statement shared with news outlets on Wednesday that the Republican senator was “planning to go to court, challenge Subpona and hope to win.”
“It’s all politics. Fulton County is engaged in fishing expeditions and is working closely with the Jan. 6 committee in Washington,” they wrote.
“As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Graham was in a position to discuss with state officials the procedures and procedures surrounding the conduct of the election.”
Mr Eisen said subponas could release new information about attempts to overturn the 2020 election.
“There is still a lot to learn from the amount that some subpona recipients choose to contribute. See the January 6 committee. They listened after listening with startling new revelations. I don’t think there is any information about the conspiracy to attack the 2020 election, how it was uncovered, and in particular how it hit Georgia, “he said in a statement. Freedom On the phone this week.
Auna Dennis, executive director of the nonprofit Common Cause Georgia for Democracy, said she was “encouraged” by the progress of the grand jury.
“The concerted efforts of former President Donald Trump and his allies to waive and ignore the will of Georgian voters during the 2020 election cannot be reversed,” he said. Freedom Via email this week.
“Georgia cannot be a testing ground for provocative campaign efforts designed to deter voters from the ballot box. We need to hold accountable those who have violated our law in dangerous attempts to stay in power. The transparency of this investigation into possible criminal activity There will be a trial in the end, ”he added.
Wherever Subponas leads, the latest legal developments seem to have bothered Mr. Trump.
“I did nothing wrong in Georgia, but others did. They cheated in the 2020 presidential election, and they should be investigated (and prosecuted)! Letters to follow,” he wrote on his Truth social network on Thursday.