Georgia election officials have opened up an investigation into former President Donald Trump’s January phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which Trump urged him to “find” votes so he could overturn the result of the state’s presidential election.
“The investigation was prompted by a complaint from George Washington University law professor John Banzhaf III,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. “By opening the inquiry, the secretary of state’s law enforcement investigators will be looking into allegations involving Raffensperger, who is their boss. Election investigations can take months or years before they’re referred to the State Election Board, where Raffensperger is the chairman.”
Walter Jones, a spokesperson for Raffensperger, said in a statement:
The secretary of state’s office investigates complaints it receives. 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, responded to the news in a statement, claiming that the results of the investigation could potentially result in criminal charges.
The investigation “comes as Fani Willis, the Democratic district attorney of Fulton County, which encompasses much of Atlanta, is weighing whether to begin a criminal inquiry of her own,” the Times reported. “A spokesman for Ms. Willis declined to comment on Monday.”
Jason Miller, a senior adviser to Trump, said in a statement:
There was nothing improper or untoward about a scheduled call between President Trump, Secretary Raffensperger and lawyers on both sides. If Mr. Raffensperger didn’t want to receive calls about the election, he shouldn’t have run for secretary of state.
The news comes as the president’s second impeachment trial kicks off Tuesday in response to allegations from Democrats that he incited the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.
Trump’s impeachment trial comes after 45 out of 50 Republican senators already voted against holding an impeachment trial for the former president, likely signaling that they will not vote to convict him.
Trump’s impeachment defense team is set to argue the following seven points in their defense of the former president:
1. The Senate of the United States lacks jurisdiction over the 45th President because he holds no public office from which he can be removed, and the Constitution limits the authority of the Senate in cases of impeachment to removal from office as the prerequisite active remedy allowed the Senate under our Constitution.
2. The Senate of the United States lacks jurisdiction over the 45th President because he holds no public office from which he can be removed rendering the Article of Impeachment moot and a non-justiciable question.
3. Should the Senate act on the Article of Impeachment initiated in the House of Representatives, it will have passed a Bill of Attainder in violation of Article 1, Sec. 9. Cl. 3 of the United States Constitution.
4. The allegations in the Article of Impeachment are self-evidently wrong, as demonstrated by the evidence including the transcript of the President’s actual speech, and the allegations fail to meet the constitutional standard for any crime, let alone an impeachable offense.
5. The House of Representatives deprived the 45th President of due process of law in rushing to issue the Article of Impeachment and by ignoring its own procedures and precedents going back to the mid-19th century. The lack of due process included, but was not limited to, its failure to conduct any meaningful committee review or other investigation, engage in any full and fair consideration of evidence in support of the Article, as well as the failure to conduct any full and fair discussion by allowing the 45th President’s positions to be heard in the House Chamber. No exigent circumstances under the law were present excusing the House of Representatives’ rush to judgment, as evidenced by the fact that they then held the Article for another 12 days.
6. The Article of Impeachment violates the 45th President’s right to free speech and thought guaranteed under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
7. The Article is constitutionally flawed in that it charges multiple instances of allegedly impeachable conduct in a single article.
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