Lindsey Graham and Rudy Giuliani subpoenaed in Georgia probe of Trump election schemes

The Fulton County, Georgiagrand jury investigating former president Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory has issued subpoenas to South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, former Trump attorney Rudolph Giuliani, and several other attorneys who played roles in Mr Trump’s scheme.

In addition to Mr Graham and Mr Giuliani, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the 23-person special grand jury has also moved to compel attorneys John Eastman, Cleta Mitchell, Kenneth Chesbro, and Jenna Ellis, as well lawyer and podcast host Jacki Pick Deason to give evidence in the probe of efforts by Mr Trump’s associates to pressure Georgia officials into taking illegal actions to reverse Mr Biden’s win after he became the first Democrat to carry the Peach State since then-Arkansas governor Bill Clinton defeated then-president George HW Bush in 1992.

The grand jury is looking into whether Mr Trump or any of his GOP allies violated Georgia laws by attempting to push Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Governor Brian Kemp to refuse to certify Mr Biden’s win, or by advocating for Georgia legislators to illegally ignore the will of voters by appointing pro-Trump electors who would have then voted for Mr Trump when the US electoral college met on 14 December 2020.

One subpoena recipient, Mr Eastman, has also been the subject of the year-long investigation conducted by the House January 6 select committee, which found that the former Chapman University law professor pressured then-vice president Mike Pence to violate the law by unilaterally disregarding electoral votes from swing states won by Mr Biden during the 6 January 2021 session at which Congress certified his electoral college win over Mr Trump.

Earlier this year, a California federal judge found that Mr Eastman and Mr Trump “more likely than not … dishonestly conspired to obstruct” that joint session, which was briefly suspended when a riotous mob of Mr Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol in what was the worst attack on America’s legislature since Major General Robert Ross ordered British troops to set it ablaze during the War of 1812.

Mr Eastman also pressured Georgia legislators during a post-election hearing in which he claimed there was “more than enough” evidence that Mr Biden’s victory was so tainted that it should be rescinded by legislators.

Both Mr Trump and Mr Graham placed separate calls to Mr Raffensperger in the days after the 2020 election to pressure him to find a way to throw out absentee votes for Mr Biden or somehow discover enough votes to make Mr Trump the victor in the Peach State.

According to a copy of the subpoena viewed by The Independent, the Georgia judge who signed off on the document found that Mr Graham “questioned Secretary Raffensperger and his staff about reexamining certain absentee ballots cast in Georgia in order to explore the possibility of a more favorable outcome for [Mr Trump” and “made reference to allegations of widespread voter fraud in the November 2020 clection in Georgia, consistent with public statements made by known affiliates of the ‘Trump Campaign” during “at least two telephone calls to [Mr Raffensperger] and members of his staff in the weeks following the November 2020 election”.

Ms Mitchell, who served as a lawyer for Mr Trump’s campaign, also participated in the phone call between Mr Trump and Mr Raffensperger, during which the then-president implored the election official to “find 11,780 votes” — a number that would have erased Mr Biden’s winning margin.

The same judge who approved the subpoenas against the other Trump allies found that Ms Mitchell “made allegations of widespread voter fraud in the November 2020 election in Georgia and pressured [Mr Raffensperger] to take action in his official capacity to investigate unfounded claims of fraud” during Mr Trump’s now-infamous call with Georgia’s top elections official.

The Georgia investigation is being overseen by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who launched it in early 2021 after a recording of Mr Trump’s call with Mr Raffensperger was made public by The Washington Post, and later expanded it to include Mr Giuliani and Mr Eastman’s pressure campaign against Georgia lawmakers.

Although the special grand jury cannot issue indictments, it is authorized to meet through May 2023 and can issue a report recommending that Ms Willis seek criminal charges.

Some of Mr Trump’s targets, including Mr Raffensperger and Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, have already given evidence in closed sessions before the panel.

A spokesperson for Mr Graham did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment from The Independent. A text message to Mr Giuliani seeking comment was also not immediately replied to.

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