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Criminal Inquiry Into Trump’s Georgia Election Interference Gaining Momentum

Donald Trump is facing intensifying legal scrutiny in the crucial battleground state of Georgia over his attempt to sway the 2020 election there, and that heat is now overlapping with investigations in Congress looking at his efforts to subvert American democracy. A criminal investigation into Trump’s call on January 2nd where he pushed and prodded Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, to “just find” him 11,780 votes to block Joe Biden’s win in the state is making headway. The Georgia district attorney running the inquiry is now also sharing information with the House committee investigating the January 6th attack on the Capitol in Washington DC.

Meanwhile, a justice department task force investigating threats to election officials nationwide has launched inquiries in Georgia, where election officers and workers received death threats or warnings of violence, including some after Trump singled out one official publicly for not backing his baseless fraud claims.

ATLANTA, GA – NOVEMBER 06: Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger holds a press conference on the status of ballot counting on November 6, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. The 2020 presidential race between incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden is still too close to call with outstanding ballots in a number of states including Georgia. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

Despite these investigations, Trump is still pushing bogus fraud claims in Georgia. Trump wrote to Raffensperger in September asking him to decertify the election results, which is impossible, and with an eye on the 2022 elections is trying to oust Raffensperger, as well as the state’s governor, Brian Kemp, and other top Republicans who defied his demands to block Biden’s win.

Former justice department officials and voting rights advocates say Trump’s conspiratorial attacks on Georgia’s election results, and the threats to public officials, need to be investigated diligently, and prosecuted if warranted by law enforcement, to protect election integrity and public officials. The same experts say the criminal inquiry launched by the Fulton County district attorney, Fani Willis, into Trump’s call to Raffensperger and other efforts Trump made to overturn the Georgia results, seems well-grounded, with ample public evidence. But they said it will probably take some time before Willis decides whether to bring charges. To further the Georgia inquiry, Willis reportedly has in recent weeks turned to the House select committee looking into the 6 January attack on the Capitol to share documents and information that could assist her work.

The district attorney’s progress was legitimized by Raffensperger telling The Daily Beast in August that Fulton county investigators had “asked us for documents, they’ve talked to some of our folks, and we’ll cooperate fully”. According to the news outlet, at least four people in Raffensperger’s office have been interviewed, including attorney Ryan Germany and the chief operating officer, Gabriel Sterling.

On another legal front, the FBI has begun interviews in recent weeks with several Georgia election officials about death threats and other dangerous warnings they received in the months after the election from Trump backers suggesting falsely that Georgia officials were involved in election rigging. Richard Barron, who heads the Fulton county board of elections, told The Guardian he was interviewed by two FBI agents in early September and informed them about two death threats he received, including one in the summer “full of white supremacist language” which warned he would be “served lead”.



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