U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks during the third day of Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings on Judge Jackson’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 23, 2022.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina will challenge a grand jury subpoena seeking his testimony as part of an investigation into possible criminal interference in Georgia’s 2020 election by former President Donald Trump and his allies, the lawmaker’s attorneys said Wednesday,
Fulton County, Georgia, investigators have told them that Graham, an ally of Trump’s, is “neither a subject nor target of the investigation, simply a witness,” his attorneys said.
They claimed that if the subpoena for Graham is upheld, it will erode the constitutional balance of power and affect his ability to do his job as a member of Congress.
“This is all politics. Fulton County is engaged in a fishing expedition and working in concert with the January 6 Committee in Washington,” Graham’s lawyers, Bart Daniel and Matt Austin, said in a statement.
A Fulton County judge on Tuesday signed off on subpoenas issued by a special grand jury in Atlanta to Graham and six attorneys — including former New York City mayor and former federal prosecutor Rudy Giuliani — who worked directly for or informally advised Trump’s presidential campaign in its effort to overturn President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory in Georgia.
Trump has falsely claimed since late 2020 that Biden won Georgia’s election, and that of other swing states, as a result of widespread ballot fraud. Trump and his allies have defended their conduct in Georgia as a legitimate response to such purported fraud.
The subpoena issued to Graham said he made at least two calls to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his staff about “reexamining certain absentee ballots cast in Georgia in order to explore the possibility of a more favorable outcome for former President Donald Trump.”
In their statement Wednesday, Graham’s lawyers said that as the then-chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, “Graham was well within his rights to discuss with state officials the processes and procedures around administering elections.”
“Should it stand, the subpoena issued today would erode the constitutional balance of power and the ability of a Member of Congress to do their job,” the lawyers said. “Senator Graham plans to go to court, challenge the subpoena, and expects to prevail.”
The Fulton County district attorney opened a criminal investigation last year after it was revealed that Trump had called Raffensperger on Jan. 2, 2021, while he was still president, and asked him to “find” him enough votes to overturn Biden’s win.
“All I want to do is this: I just want to find 11,780 votes,” Trump told Raffensperger.
That call occurred four days before the U.S. Congress began meeting in a joint session to confirm the Electoral College victory of Biden.
A special House committee is investigating the riot at the U.S. Capitol that began that day, which for hours interrupted the joint session’s work.