Impeachment is not the only thing Donald Trump needs to be worried about. ABC News recently reported that Georgia election officials have launched an investigation into his phone calls to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. While Raffensperger sensed problems with Trump’s call would occur and recorded it, he cannot on his own start an investigation. There must first be a formal complaint filed, which came courtesy of John F. Banzhaf, a George Washington University law professor. Banzhaf believes that Trump violated three Georgia laws: conspiracy to commit election fraud, criminal solicitation to commit election fraud, and intentional interference with performance of election duties. Too bad Raffensperger did not record Lindsay Graham, as that conversation seems to fall under the “intentional interference” law.
Walter Jones of the Secretary of State’s Office told ABC News that all investigations are “fact finding and administrative in nature,” and the results will be turned over to the attorney general. ABC News, however, said that any criminal referral could be sent to either the attorney general or the district attorney, Fani Willis, who won her seat over Paul Howard last year. She has publicly referred to Trump’s call to Raffensperger “disturbing,” so we already know how she feels. When the news first became public, Willis said that if the case is referred to her, she will “pursue it aggressively.” Just what Donald Trump needs: another Black woman in power who wants to put him in jail, especially since she has already hinted at conducting her own investigation.
The one Democrat on the Board of Elections, David Worley, told ABC News that he is “very happy” that the investigation has been opened and that after he reviews the report, he would have no problem turning the case over to Willis. Banzhaf believes that chances are good that a criminal complaint will come out of the investigation because “many prominent and knowledgeable attorneys” with whom he spoke believes that the evidence supports the crimes. ABC News revealed that anyone can file a complaint, but the evidence must be “deemed credible” to trigger an investigation, indicating that Professor Banzhaf is correct.
A criminal investigation into Trump would be great, as it is doubtful that 67 Senators will vote to convict him of inciting the insurrection on January 6. It is interesting, however, that six Republicans (Cassidy, Collins, Murkowski, Romney, Sasse, and Toomey) voted with Democrats to uphold the constitutionality of the impeachment trial. Constitutionality is neither here nor there; Trump was impeached while in office. Saying that he cannot now be tried on the charges is like letting a murderer free because of the amount of time that has passed between his crime and his capture. The House needed time to gather their evidence, and it was apparently enough to convince six Republican Senators. Cassidy told USA Today that the “House managers were focused and organized” while Trump’s team “did everything they could but talk about the question at hand.” That behavior is not at all unusual when one represents a guilty client.
Shirley is a former entertainment writer and has worked in the legal field for over 25 years