AP said that “Willis said her team is making solid progress, and that she’s leaning toward asking for a special grand jury with subpoena power to aid the investigation.”
“I believe in 2022 a decision will be made in that case,” Willis told AP. “I certainly think that in the first half of the year that decisions will be made.” But Willis cautioned that she had set no deadlines for her team. “We’re going to just get the facts, get the law, be very methodical, very patient and, in some extent, unemotional about this quest for justice.”
On Monday evening, Rachel Maddow dropped another bombshell in an exclusive report: “We can report exclusively tonight that attorneys for former President Donald Trump have now met in person with the Fulton County district attorney’s office in Georgia.”
That meeting occurred a month ago. Within days, Trump had his spokesperson send a rather bizarre tweet. The defeated former guy complained: “All the Democrats want to do is put people in jail…. They are destroying people’s lives, which is the only thing they are good at.” Trump went on to whine that district attorneys, attorneys general, and “Dem Law Enforcement” are “out of control.”
Interestingly, Trump decided Tuesday to issue a statement in which he once again made the baseless claim that the election in Georgia was stolen from him and that Biden actually “lost BIG” in the state.
In her column, Rubin noted that “unlike the federal case concerning the instigation of a violent insurrection, Trump’s direct participation is not at issue in Georgia.”
The potential smoking gun in the Georgia case is the taped Jan. 2 phone call in which Trump sought to pressure Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” 11,780 votes—just enough to give the former president a victory in Georgia. On the tape, Trump also implicitly threatened Raffensperger and his lawyer by saying their failure to find the extra votes would be “a criminal offense” and “a big risk.” Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Trump’s lawyers were also on the call, and could be subpoenaed by a grand jury.
Willis confirmed to AP that the investigation’s scope also includes—but is not limited to—a November 2020 phone call between U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Raffensperger; the abrupt resignation of the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, Byung J. Pak, on Jan. 4, 2021; and comments made during the December 2020 Georgia legislative committee hearings on the election.
The key issue in making a case against Trump is whether the prosecutor can prove intent—that Trump was not seeking an accurate vote count, but a count that would make him the winner. Rubin turned to an opinion previously expressed earlier this year by Harvard constitutional law professor Lawrence H. Tribe about the Trump-Raffensperger phone call:
“It’s very hard to understand that conversation any other way when he says ‘you and your lawyer’ are going to be in basically criminal trouble if you don’t somehow, ‘find’ one more vote than the number by which I lost to Biden, according to your count.” Trump’s demand, Tribe says, was “really strong-arming extortion, a violation of the election laws.”
In February, Willis sent a letter to Raffensperger, Gov. Brian Kemp, and other Georgia state officials asking them to preserve documents related to her investigation “into attempts to influence” the administration of the state’s 2020 presidential election.
“The 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 government bodies, conspiracy, racketeering, violation of oath of office and any involvement in violence or threats related to the election’s administration,” the letters said.
Willis told AP she had received threats from people unhappy that she is considering possible criminal charges against Trump who have “expressed their frustration in a way that is so irrational that I believe that they would do me harm.”
But she said that she is undeterred. As a long-time prosecutor in the Fulton County District Attorney’s office, she said threats are nothing new. “They are truly wasting their time. It is not going to deter me from doing my job, period,” she said. “I’m not going to do any less or more because, you know, you try to offend me because I’m Black or female or of a political party. We were elected to do a job and that’s what I’m going to sit here and do.”