Georgian Foreign Secretary Brad Raffensperger speaks during a press conference on election results in Atlanta, Georgia, December 2, 2020.
Elijah Nouvelage | Reuters
The Fulton County, Georgia state attorney has opened a criminal investigation into a phone call made by then-President Donald Trump to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in January asking the officer to “find” enough votes for him to undo his loss of the election to Joe Biden.
Fulton District Attorney Fani Willis said in a letter to Raffensperger and other government officials that “this matter is a high priority” and that her office would begin moving subpoenas to be issued by the next grand jury in the county when the meeting starts March.
These subpoenas can be testimony or documents and other evidence.
Willis’ letter asked officials to keep documents related to Trump’s most unusual phone call.
Raffensperger’s office confirmed to CNBC that it received the letter on Wednesday but declined to comment.
The letter comes as the Senate is conducting impeachment proceedings against Trump that could end with the ex-president being banned from ever running for the White House again.
The letter stated that the request is part of a criminal investigation that includes “potential violations of Georgian law, including soliciting electoral fraud, false testimony to state and local government agencies, conspiracy, extortion and violations, however.” is not limited to the oath of office and any involvement in violence or threats in connection with the election administration. “
The letter was sent two days after Raffensperger’s office opened its own investigation into Trump’s January 2 phone call to the Secretary of State.
This Wednesday, August 24, 2016, Fulton County’s Assistant District Attorney Fani Willis presents her final arguments during a trial in Atlanta.
John Bazemore | AP
On that call, Trump said to Raffensperger, “I just want to do this: I just want to find 11,780 votes.”
That was the number of votes Trump needed to overtake Biden’s leadership in Georgia, one of several states where Trump had to reverse his loss to the electoral college.
At the time, Trump and his allies were promoting a number of unfounded claims that he lost the election due to widespread electoral fraud in states like Georgia.
The government advocacy group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, announced Wednesday that it had filed a criminal complaint with the DA office last month for calling for the presidential election. “
“You are doing just that now,” said CREW President Noah Bookbinder.
“Trump’s behavior is not only against the law, but also against the foundations on which our democracy is built,” said Bookbinder. “He may have been able to evade criminal charges as President, but is no longer President. We applaud Fulton District Attorney Willis for opening this investigation and showing that no one is above the law.”
The call to Raffensperger came four days before Trump, at a rally near the White House, urged supporters to help him battle the election results by getting Congress or Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to award Biden’s victory to confirm.
After that rally, thousands of Trump supporters gathered outside and then inside the U.S. Capitol, where Congress met in a joint session to confirm the results.
Five people died in connection with the riot, including a Capitol police officer.
Trump was charged by the House of Representatives with inciting insurgency.
His Senate trial began Tuesday with a debate on whether a former president could be tried after he left office.
Evidence for the case is presented today.
– Hannah Miao contributed to this report.