Graham, Giuliani Now Part of Georgia Criminal Investigation
Donald Trump’s weeks-long pressure campaign to overturn Georgia’s presidential election vote now is being investigated as a criminal racketeering conspiracy, with Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) and Rudy Giuliani in the crosshairs along with Trump himself.
Fani Willis, the district attorney for Fulton County, Ga., disclosed this week that she had begun a criminal probe of the Jan. 2 “find 11,780 votes” phone call during which Trump repeatedly tried to get Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to flip the election results in his favor. The sitting president encouraged Raffensperger to commit election fraud, telling him “there’s nothing wrong with saying that, you know, um, that you’ve recalculated” the state’s presidential vote total. Trump also made multiple phone calls after the election to Gov. Brian Kemp in a concerted effort to get him to refuse to certify election results in favor of Joe Biden.
The disclosure that Graham and Giuliani are being investigated signals a significant expansion of the criminal election fraud investigation.
In an interview with the New York Times Willis, whose jurisdiction encompasses most of Atlanta, said, “An investigation is like an onion. You never know. You pull something back and then you find something else. Anything that is relevant to attempts to interfere with the Georgia election will be subject to review.”
Willis said her office is investigating a November phone call in which Graham asked the secretary of state how he could throw out thousands of legally cast mail-in ballots. Her probe also includes the circumstances behind the abrupt removal of Byung J. Pak, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia who drew Trump’s ire for failing to investigate what the president said were voting irregularities in the state.
Giuliani is being investigated for allegedly making numerous false statements to state legislative committees and other officials about the number of dead people who cast votes. At a Dec. 30 hearing the former president’s lawyer claimed that 10,315 votes were cast by the deceased. By that time the state already had determined that there were only two instances in which votes were cast in the names of people who had died.
Georgia law prohibits “the making of false statements to state and local governmental bodies. Willis said racketeering charges are being considered because they apply to anyone who uses a legal entity, in this case Trump’s public office as president, to conduct overt acts for an illegal purpose.