Racketeering sounds like just one of the charges that might apply. And not just to Trump.
Sen. Lindsey Graham called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Nov. 13 and asked him to illegally invalidate votes in counties where there were high numbers of mail ballots for Joe Biden. “We have laws in place,” said Raffensperger.
On Nov. 30, Donald Trump took to Twitter to blast Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp for not using “his emergency powers, which can be easily done, to overrule his obstinate Secretary of State” and simply hand the election to Trump. This came after two recounts in the Peach State failed to find the votes Trump wanted to reverse the results of the election.
On Dec. 23, Trump called Frances Watson, the lead investigator for voter fraud at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and told her she could be a “national hero” if only she just happened to find some fraud that justified overturning the statewide vote. The call, which including both flattery and threats, came in the middle of an audit of mail-in ballot signatures in Cobb County—an audit requested by Trump’s campaign. Recordings of that call have now been obtained by The Wall Street Journal. After a rambling call that went from flattery to warnings and back again, Watson’s response to Trump was just as succinct as what he had received from others: “I can assure you that our team and the GBI, that we are only interested in the truth and finding the information that is based on the facts.” Trump continued to insist that he won the state and that Watson needed to come up with “the right answer.”
On Dec. 30, an aide to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows called Georgia Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs. That content of that discussion isn’t yet known, but it happened as Trump was making a new series of statements attempting to bully Kemp and Raffensperger into taking action.
On Jan. 2, Trump called Raffensperger directly to say, “Look, all I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.” Trump went on to threaten the secretary, telling him that failing to falsify the outcome of the election would result in Raffensperger being charged with “a criminal offense.” Raffensperger refused to hand over fake votes. In fact, on Feb. 10, prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia, did open a criminal investigation … into Trump’s call.
As more information was breaking on the case, one of the men who attempted to turn this all to his advantage is also under fresh scrutiny. As NPR reports, two whistleblowers have stepped up to charge that positions inside the Justice Department were being illegally filled by acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Clark. The claims indicate that Clark was ignoring the department’s rules about experience and time in the Department of Justice to elevate people who volunteered to defend “controversial” positions supported by Trump.
Clark would also be the man who colluded with Trump on a scheme to remove acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, then use the power of the Department of Justice to block the approval of electoral votes, sue the state of Georgia, and pressure Georgia state legislators into reversing the outcome of the election. The plan was so outrageous that even the Trump-loyalist Rosen erupted in anger after Clark explained how Rosen could stay on as his deputy after Rosen was installed as the new attorney general.
Even then, the plan was still moving forward when it was derailed after a member of Raffensperger’s staff released recordings of Trump’s call—because Trump could not stop himself from making more attacks on Raffensperger on Twitter.
Two things are absolutely clear at this point:
1. Georgia officials should have no problem making a case against Trump, Graham, and others.
2. Merrick Garland should immediately open a federal investigation, because Clark, Meadows, and everyone involved in this scheme to extort election “victory” needs to be fully prosecuted.