Donald Trump launched an angry public diatribe on his Truth Social platform this week over recent developments in the Georgia criminal investigation into his election meddling and the work of the House committee investigating the Capitol riot.
The riot committee secured an agreement for Trump-era White House counsel Pat Cipollone to provide testimony following a subpoena, and Trump claimed on Truth Social that Cipollone testifying could set a precedent under which presidents feel less open to speak candidly with White House lawyers. His ranting seems to reveal that he’s anxious about what Cipollone might reveal. A key difference between now and any future scenario involving the pursuit of a former White House counsel for testimony is the basis for this investigation: Trump’s attempt to corruptly hold onto the presidency is out-of-the-ordinary. Thus, it’s not a given that there will ever even be an exactly similar scenario. The Capitol was attacked; taking perceptibly extraordinary investigative steps directly mirrors the seriousness of what occurred.
“Why would a future President of the United States want to have candid and important conversations with his White House Counsel if he thought there was even a small chance that this person, essentially acting as a “lawyer” for the Country, may some day be brought before a partisan and openly hostile Committee in Congress, or even a fair and reasonable Committee, to reveal the inner secrets of foreign policy or other important matters. So bad for the USA!” Trump ranted late Wednesday.
Trump also complained about a criminal investigation in Georgia by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis into attempts by him and certain allies of his to undercut Biden’s win in the state. Recently, Rudy Giuliani, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John Eastman, and other allies of the former president were issued grand jury subpoenas for testimony in the Willis probe, and the district attorney subsequently indicated a subpoena for Trump himself isn’t out of the question.
“BOTH of my phone calls to Georgia were PERFECT,” Trump claimed Thursday. “I had an absolute right to make them &, in fact, the story on the one call was given a retraction, or apology, by the Washington Post because they were given terribly false information about it, & when they heard the actual call, they realized that their story was wrong. Thank you to the W.P. I, as does anyone else (just look at the Democrats!), have the absolute right to challenge the results of an Election.This one, CORRUPT, RIGGED, & STOLEN!”
The Washington Post never retracted a story about a call Trump made in this context. As reported here, he’s referencing a conversation with Georgia elections investigator Frances Watson; initial reporting from The Washington Post misrepresented a couple of quotes as direct quotes from Trump’s remarks on the call, but the misrepresented quotes — which were actually more like paraphrases — were not dramatically different in meaning from what Trump was later revealed to have actually said, and the Post corrected its reporting. The other referenced call was to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. It’s the infamous call on which Trump unsuccessfully pressured the official to “find” enough votes to flip Georgia from Biden.
“I did NOTHING wrong in Georgia, but others did. They CHEATED in the 2020 Presidential Election, and those are the ones that should be investigated (and prosecuted)! Letter to follow,” Trump continued on Thursday. Obviously, there remains no real-world evidence of the kind of election fraud Trump claims cost him the election. Raffensperger testified in public to the riot committee about how expansive and rigorous his team’s investigations of potential problems really were — and they found no systematic fraud.