Graham files motion to vacate subpoena in Georgia Trump investigation

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina filed a motion Wednesday in federal court in an effort to avoid testifying in Georgia about former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 state election.

Earlier this month, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis Graham and several other Trump allies were quoted seeking to force them to testify before a special grand jury this summer. The others subpoenaed included former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and campaign attorneys Cleta Mitchell, Kenneth Chesebro and Jenna Ellis.

Prosecutors alleged in Graham’s subpoena that he spoke with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger after the 2020 election and questioned him “about re-examining certain absentee ballots cast in Georgia to explore the possibility of a more favorable outcome.” favorable” for Trump.

President Joe Biden won Georgia by just under 12,000 votes, or 0.5%. Graham acknowledged the phone calls in the past and dismissed any allegations of wrongdoing. Saying “Face the Nation” in January that he “asked about how the system worked as far as voting by mail, voting.”

Graham’s attorneys argued in their motion that his talks with Raffensperger fall within the “legislative sphere” because his calls relate to his responsibilities as then-chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R.C., listens during a hearing on the fiscal year 2023 budget for the FBI in Washington, on May 25, 2022. / Credit: Ting Shen / AP

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R.C., listens during a hearing on the FY2023 budget for the FBI in Washington, on May 25, 2022. / Credit: Ting Shen / AP

“Senator Graham has been concerned about election security and ensuring absentee voting procedures are secure well in advance of the 2020 election,” Graham’s attorneys wrote.

The lawyers maintained that Graham “did not become involved in the Georgia electoral process and never tried to alter the outcome of any election.”

“The conversation was about absentee ballots and Georgia procedures,” Graham’s attorneys wrote.

The subpoena calls for Graham to be available to testify from Aug. 2-31. His attorneys argued that he cannot be available during that time because it would interfere with his role in the Senate. They said his role as senator gives him “sovereign immunity” to testify.

Willis’ office has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Trump called Raffensperger on January 2, 2021, asking him to “find” 11,780 votes, or enough to make him the winner of the state. “The people of Georgia are angry, the people of the country are angry,” Trump can be heard saying in the audio recording of the call, obtained by CBS News. “And there’s nothing wrong with saying that, you know, um, that you’ve recalculated.”

Raffensperger testified before the January 6 committee of the House of Representatives on June 21, 2022. The White House, including Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, called and texted Raffensperger’s office 18 times to schedule a call, Raffensperger said.

Raffensperger said Trump also called the state’s lead investigator for the secretary of state who was overseeing the election audit and told her “when the right answer comes out, you’ll be commended.” That call, like Raffensperger’s, was set up by Meadows.

Graham Kates contributed reporting to this story.

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