- Georgia prosecutors have begun a criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump.
- The inquiry involves his pleas with GOP officials to invalidate Joe Biden’s victory in the state.
- The investigation was opened in Fulton County, an overwhelmingly Democratic jurisdiction.
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Prosecutors in Georgia’s most populous county have launched a criminal investigation into Donald Trump’s monthslong pressure campaign as president to invalidate his loss in the state,The New York Times and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday.
Trump’s efforts notably included a phone call in which he urged the state’s top election official, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, to “find” just enough votes to ensure Trump would win.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, a Democrat, sent a letter to Raffensperger, Gov. Brian Kemp, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, and Attorney General Chris Carr, all Republicans, asking them to retain sensitive materials that are related to Trump’s phone call, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution report.
“This letter is notice that the Fulton County District Attorney has opened an investigation into attempts to influence the administration of the 2020 Georgia General Election,” the letter said. “This investigation includes, but is not limited to, 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.”
The letter continued: “This matter is of high priority, and I am confident that as fellow law enforcement officers sworn to uphold the Constitutions of the United States and Georgia, our acquisition of information and evidence of potential crimes via interviews, documents, videos and electronic records will be cooperative.”
The Times reported that Willis had been mulling over the decision to launch an investigation after the roughly hourlong January 2 phone conversation in which Trump implored Raffensperger to “find” the nearly 12,000 votes that he needed to surpass Joe Biden’s statewide tally.
Wednesday’s news came after Raffensperger announced that his office would launch an administrative inquiry into Trump’s phone call.
The Georgia investigation will be based in a heavily Democratic jurisdiction that includes the city of Atlanta and overwhelmingly voted for Biden in the 2020 election.
In December, Trump also pleaded with Kemp to call a special session in an attempt to overturn the election results by having the GOP-controlled legislature install pro-Trump presidential electors. Kemp balked at the request, which caused Trump to attack him in the press and on social media for weeks.
The Georgia Republican Party has been embroiled in turmoil for months.
In November, Biden became the first Democratic presidential nominee to win Georgia since Bill Clinton in 1992, a huge blow for the party, and was followed by last month’s US Senate runoff victories of the Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff over the GOP incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue.
Trump also faces a criminal investigation in New York, where Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance is looking into possible financial crimes.
Last year, New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, launched a separate civil fraud investigation into Trump and his businesses, which is ongoing.
At the time of publishing, Willis’ office had not responded to a request for comment from Insider.