Donald Trump is facing a criminal investigation in Georgia into his call to its secretary of state asking him to ‘find’ votes to overturn the election, it emerged Wednesday.
Newly-elected Fulton County prosecutor Fani Willis, a Democrat, sent a letter to state leaders, state officials telling them to save records related to the call, state officials with knowledge of the letter told The New York Times.
Specifically, the criminal investigation is looking into the then-president’s questionable January 2 call with Georgia’s Secretary of State where Trump told Brad Raffensperger to ‘find’ enough votes to reverse his loss to Joe Biden in the Peach State.
The letter does not specify what crimes are being investigated but experts have suggested that Trump could have committed conspiracy to commit election fraud, which can carry felony charges and a sentence of up to a year in prison on conviction. A Trump aide dismissed the move as a stunt by Democrats on day two of the impeachment trial.
In the letter, Willis reveals the request to officials, including Raffensperger, to preserve documents is related to a criminal investigation into Trump.
News of the latest probe into the former president comes on the heels of the Senate’s decision Tuesday that impeachment trial against Trump is constitutional and will move forward this week.
‘The timing here is not accidental given today’s impeachment trial,’ Trump’s senior advisor Jason Miller told DailyMail.com.
‘This is simply the Democrats’ latest attempt to score political points by continuing their witch hunt against President Trump, and everybody sees through it,’ he added.
Fulton County Prosecutor Fani Willis opened a criminal investigation Wednesday into Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the election in Georgia
The criminal probe will specifically focus on Trump’s phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in January where he urged him to ‘find’ the votes needed to overturn his loss in the southern state
The upper chamber is moving forward Wednesday afternoon with the second day of its impeachment against Trump after the former president’s legal team faced public mocking from Republican senators and the Twittersphere.
Jurors in Fulton County, which encompasses the blue area of Atlanta, are unlikely to be kind to Trump.
Trump is also already facing a criminal investigation in New York.
Raffensperger also announced Monday his office is opening a separate administrative inquiry into the phone call.
Walter Jones, a spokesman for the Secretary of State confirmed the investigation.
‘The Secretary of State’s office investigates complaints it receives,’ Jones said. ‘The investigations are fact-finding and administrative in nature. Any further legal efforts will be left to the Attorney General.’
Trump had refused to accept his loss to Democrat Joe Biden and focused much of his attention on Georgia, a traditionally red state that he very narrowly lost.
Raffensperger’s office announced Monday it is opening its own administrative inquiry into the call between the secretary of state and then-president
During the phone call, Trump pushed that Raffensperger had the power to change the certified results in Georgia, despite the secretary of state firmly and repeatedly rejecting this claim.
‘All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,’ Trump said. ‘Because we won the state.’
Miller told DailyMail.com there was nothing unusual about the call, suggesting there is no need for an investigation.
‘There was nothing improper or untoward about a scheduled call between President Trump, Secretary Raffensperger and lawyers on both sides,’ Miller said.
‘If Mr. Raffensperger didn’t want to receive calls about the election, he shouldn’t have run for Secretary of State,’ he continued. ‘And the only reason the call became public was because Mr. Raffensperger leaked it in an attempt to score political points.’
The secretary of state’s office investigation stems from a complaint by George Washington University Law School professor John Banzhaf III, according to the investigative case sheet.
In an emailed press release sent January 4, Banzhaf said he had filed a complaint with the secretary of state’s office requesting ‘that this matter be fully investigated, and action be taken to the extent appropriate.’
The complaint suggests Trump may have committed one or more violations of Georgia law, including conspiracy to commit election fraud, criminal solicitation to commit election fraud and intentional interference with the performance of election duties, the release says.
Investigators will present their findings to the state election board, which will then decide how to proceed.
If the board believes there’s evidence that a crime occurred, it could take action ranging from issuing a letter of reprimand to referring the case to Georgia’s attorney general.