The investigation, initiated by the county’s newly elected Democratic prosecutor Fani Willis, is the second probe of the matter after the Georgia secretary of state’s office announced its own administrative inquiry on Tuesday. Willis’ letter to multiple state officials announcing the investigation, including Secretary Raffensperger, requested that they preserve certain documents related to the call and explicitly designate the inquiry as criminal in nature, writes the Times.
Fulton County covers most of Atlanta, an area of the state that leaned heavily in favor of Biden. But the probe by Willis avoids the obvious entanglements of the review initiated by the office of the secretary of state, which played a central role in Trump’s weeks-long pressure campaign to overturn the election.
The investigation also makes Georgia the second state in which Trump is facing a criminal probe after New York, where the Manhattan district attorney has been looking into potential tax fraud committed by Trump and his family business.
The recorded call to Raffensperger was just one of many times Trump tried to get Georgia officials to turn the election in his favor. Trump repeatedly pressed state officials in tweets and remarks, but he also placed personal calls to Gov. Brian Kemp and a state investigator, whom he urged to “find the fraud.”
When it comes right down to it, no president in modern American history has so flagrantly and overtly tried to engineer a different outcome to an election by fraudulent means. In so doing, Trump may have violated several state laws, including criminal solicitation to commit election fraud (punishable by at least a year in jail if prosecuted as a felony instead of a misdemeanor), a related conspiracy charge (which can similarly be prosecuted as a felony or misdemeanor), and a misdemeanor violation of intentionally interfering with another person’s “performance of election duties.”
Reprinted with permission of Daily Kos and authored by Kerry Eleveld.