While it comes as no surprise that today’s Democratic Party would pursue a former Republican president after he leaves office, it’s another thing to see a GOP official go after now private citizen Donald Trump.
On Monday, Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, launched an investigation into the former president leaning on him to look into allegations of voter fraud.
Walter Jones, a spokesman for Raffensperger, justified the “administrative” action by saying the office looks into complaints made.
“The secretary of state’s office investigates complaints it receives,” Jones said. “The investigations are fact-finding and administrative in nature. Any further legal efforts will be left to the attorney general.”
Walter Jones, spokesperson for Sec. of Raffensperger told CNN in a written statement “The Sec of State’s office investigates complaints it receives. The investigations are fact-finding & administrative in nature. Any further legal efforts will be left to the Attorney General.”
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) February 8, 2021
NBC News reported that the Georgia attorney general’s office did not respond to a request for comment Monday night.
The network said that once the investigation is completed, the findings will be made available to the State Election Board, which is made up of two Republicans and two Democrats — chaired by Raffensperger, the board could dismiss the case, reprimand Trump or refer the case to prosecutors.
The timing of the investigation comes one day before Senate Democrats begin their impeachment trial, an attempt to remove Trump from an office he no longer holds — a trial that may very well be unconstitutional.
The probe was prompted by a complaint from George Washington University law professor John Banzhaf III, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, citing the case initiation document provided by the secretary of state’s office.
It will center on Trump’s January 2 phone call with Raffensperger, as he pushed the Georgia official to pursue claims of voter fraud, and do a signature audit of votes, to overturn the state’s November election results.
“All I want to do is this: I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state,” the former president told Raffensperger on the call.
“It is more illegal for you than it is for them, because you know what they did, and you’re not reporting it. That’s a criminal, that’s a criminal offense,” he added. “And you can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you.”
Trump senior adviser Jason Miller dismissed concerns about the call in a statement.
“There was nothing improper or untoward about a scheduled call between President Trump, Secretary Raffensperger and lawyers on both sides,” the statement read. “If Mr. Raffensperger didn’t want to receive calls about the election, he shouldn’t have run for Secretary of State. And the only reason the call became public was because Mr. Raffensperger leaked it in an attempt to score political points.”
— Alli Hedges Maser (@AllisonLHedges) February 9, 2021
Raffensperger, who said last month it’s unlikely his office would investigate Trump’s phone call, reportedly leaked audio of the call, resulting in the media claiming Trump “pressured” Raffensperger to “find” the votes necessary for him to win the state.
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