Georgia prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results, including a call to the state’s top election official last month in which Trump pressured him to reverse President Joe Biden’s win.
As Washington prepared for the second day of Trump’s second impeachment trial, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis sent letters to several Georgia officials Wednesday instructing them to preserve all documents related to any attempts to influence an election official.
During a phone call on Jan. 2, Trump pushed Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, to “find” votes to overturn Biden’s win. Trump’s demand alarmed Raffensperger’s office, which released audio of the call to the media after the then-president made misleading comments about their conversation.
Raffensperger, Gov. Brian Kemp (R), Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan (R) and Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr are four of the officials who received letters from Willis on Wednesday, the district attorney’s office said.
The investigation was first reported by The New York Times. The district attorney’s office later confirmed the probe to HuffPost.
Raffensperger’s office announced Monday that it had initiated an investigation into the Trump call.
Trump now faces criminal probes in two states. New York has been investigating whether he committed financial crimes.
In her letter to officials Wednesday, Willis, a Democrat, stated that the probe involves “potential violations of Georgia law prohibiting the solicitation of election fraud, the making of false statements to state and local governmental bodies, conspiracy, racketeering, violation of oath of office and any involvement in violence or threats related to the election’s administration.”
Willis noted that her office has no reason to believe any Georgia official is the target of the investigation. A grand jury is expected to convene next month and the district attorney’s office will begin requesting subpoenas then, Willis wrote.
During the phone call, Trump appeared to threaten Raffensperger and Ryan Germany, the top lawyer in the secretary of state’s office, with criminal prosecution if they didn’t overturn the election.
“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,” Trump said. “And flipping the state is a great testament to our country because, you know, this is — it’s a testament that they can admit to a mistake or whatever you want to call it.”
“If it was a mistake, I don’t know,” he continued. “A lot of people think it wasn’t a mistake. It was much more criminal than that. But it’s a big problem in Georgia, and it’s not a problem that’s going away. I mean, you know, it’s not a problem that’s going away.”
Raffensperger told Trump repeatedly during the call that he was “wrong” about the election results and stood by Biden’s win.