Ga. prosecutors launch criminal probe of Trump’s efforts to overturn election

Prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia, have opened a criminal investigation into former President Trump’s efforts to pressure Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) to “find” enough votes to reverse his 2020 electoral loss in the state, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.

Fulton County’s new district attorney, Fani Willis, sent a letter to state officials on Wednesday asking them to retain documents regarding a Jan. 2 phone call Trump made to Raffensperger, in which the now-former president pressed the state’s top elections official to “find” 11,780 votes, enough to hand him a victory over President Biden in Georgia.

The decision to launch a criminal investigation into Trump’s conduct comes two days after the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office announced that it had opened up a probe into the former president’s efforts to overturn the election results. 

But unlike the secretary of state’s investigation — which was described as a “fact-finding and administrative” inquiry — the Fulton County district attorney’s probe involves a criminal matter that could expose him to potential felony charges. 

Trump is also facing a criminal investigation in New York related to his business dealings.

That Fulton County prosecutors had begun moving forward with a criminal probe of Trump’s efforts surrounding the 2020 presidential election was first reported by the Times. The Hill has not yet independently confirmed the investigation.

In the weeks and months following his electoral loss to Biden, Trump repeatedly and aggressively sought to sow doubt in the election results, spreading baseless claims that the election had been “stolen” from him and that the outcome had been tainted by widespread voter fraud and systemic irregularities.

While his efforts to reverse his loss encompassed several states, Georgia emerged at the center of those attempts after it was revealed that Trump had encouraged Raffensperger in a phone call to “find” the votes needed to reverse Biden’s victory in the state.

During that phone call, Trump repeated several false claims about the election in Georgia — that illegally cast ballots were counted, among other allegations — before insisting that Raffensperger could “find” additional ballots cast for Trump. 

“All I want to do is this,” Trump said. “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have because we won the state.”

Trump’s aides and allies have defended his call with Raffensperger, arguing that the former president did not say anything improper during the conversation. 

Trump is currently facing an impeachment trial in the Senate over allegations that he incited the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. The impeachment article makes note of Trump’s “prior efforts to subvert and obstruct the certification of the results of the 2020 Presidential election,” specifically mentioning his Jan. 2 call to Raffensperger.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Trump adviser Jason Miller accused Democrats of using the criminal investigation in Georgia to “score political points” amid the former president’s ongoing impeachment trial.

“The timing here is not accidental given today’s impeachment trial,” Miller tweeted. “This is simply the Democrats’ latest attempt to score political points by continuing their witch hunt against President Trump, and everybody sees through it.”

Tags 2020 election Brad Raffensperger District attorney Donald Trump Fani Willis Fulton County DA Georgia election Investigation Joe Biden

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