A criminal investigation of former President Donald Trump led by Atlanta-area District Attorney Fani Willis has been moving ahead, according to a new report from The Daily Beast. The investigation centers on efforts by Trump and certain allies of his to undercut Joe Biden’s presidential election victory in Georgia. Those efforts were broad and included a phone conversation in which Trump, while president, spoke directly with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, promoting his false claims that fraud had somehow been responsible for Biden’s win. Now, Willis’s team has interviewed a number of witnesses and obtained documents relevant to the case.
Raffensperger himself confirmed to The Daily Beast that investigators from Willis’s office have been moving forward with the probe. As he explained it, referring to the investigators:
‘They’ve asked us for documents, they’ve talked to some of our folks, and we’ll cooperate fully.’
Raffensperger himself, although he’s a Republican and supported Trump in the 2020 election cycle, has consistently spoken out against false notions that systematic fraud affected the outcome of the 2020 presidential race. Raffensperger also resisted efforts by the then-president to pressure him into orchestrating a change to the presidential election outcome in Georgia. Specifically, Trump — who, again, was president at the time, meaning that a certain level of pressure went along with his request — pleaded with Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to deliver a Trump victory in Georgia. No matter Trump’s fraud claims, carrying out his request would have itself required fraudulent meddling with the results.
Now, The Daily Beast explains that Willis’s team has “interviewed at least four officials at the secretary of state’s office, asking questions that show a particular interest in Raffensperger’s separate phone conversations with Trump and U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham.” Raffensperger has revealed that Graham spoke with him on the phone after the election and inquired about the possibility of disqualifying all mail-in ballots from counties where high rates of mismatches between submitted signatures and those on-file were recorded. Those who’ve been interviewed about these and related matters by Willis’s team include Ryan Germany, who works as a lawyer for Raffensperger’s office; “communications director Ari Schaffer, chief operating officer Gabriel Sterling, and the external affairs director who oversees the agency’s outreach programs, Sam Teasley,” The Daily Beast says. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution adds that Raffensperger himself had not been interviewed as of this Tuesday.
The next steps for the investigation aren’t immediately clear, since for starters, Willis’s office did not confirm any details to The Daily Beast about any cooperation with the probe by Raffensperger’s office. The publication, however, has previously reported that prosecutors have been contemplating charging longtime Trump ally Rudy Giuliani with making false statements in connection to his theatrical attempts to convince state legislators that systematic election fraud had been present. Giuliani spoke on these matters — and committedly lied — amid formal legislative proceedings in the state.