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Opinion: Trump’s major problem in Georgia election probe




Still, it seems the most powerful evidence is already on the public record: multiple recordings of Trump, in his own words, desperately trying to convince Georgia officials to throw elections in his favor.

District Attorney A’s exhibit A should be Trump’s now-famous December 2020 phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. In that named, Trump advised Raffensperger that “there’s nothing wrong with saying that, you know, you recalculated” and implored him to “find 11,780 votes, which is one more than us.”

Trump’s own words in this call convey his underlying intent: he asked Raffensperger not only to count all the votes and drop them wherever he wanted, but to “find” precisely enough votes to allow Trump to win Georgia with a only vote.

And now we have exhibition B: a six-minute recording December 23, 2020, phone call from Trump to Frances Watson, the chief investigator of the Georgia Secretary of State. In that call, Trump used known pressure tactics: he urged Watson to find “the right answer,” suggested he focus on the strong Democratic county of Fulton, and promised that if he does what he wants, “you’ll be praised. “.

It is inappropriate for the incumbent president to contact local and state elected officials (such as Raffensperger) to put pressure on them about an election; it is simply beyond clarity to try the same with respect to an unelected non-political state researcher like Watson. To his credit, Watson politely but firmly rebuked Trump’s corrupt pleas, assuring him that “we are only interested in the truth and finding the information that is based on the facts.”

Beyond his recorded calls to Raffensperger and Watson, Trump too contacted Georgia Governor Brian Kemp (asking him to convene a special session of the Georgian legislature to cancel the election) and the state attorney general Chris Carr (imploring him not to contest a legal effort to overturn Georgia’s election results). It’s hard to say what’s most surprising about Trump’s effort to steal Georgia: that he spent so much time begging, threatening, flattering, and dropping so many different officials, or that he really thought his gambit to steal the election would be successful.
The end result question under Georgia Law against electoral interference is this: Did Trump, truly believing that he won the election, just want local officials to count every vote and come to a fair result? Or did he try to convince those officials to cast votes he didn’t really receive, and the election itself, in his favor?

Trump’s own words about the two recorded phone calls make it increasingly clear that he is the last. Prosecutors (and jurors) can and should use basic common sense to interpret the words and actions of their subjects. Here, simply, there is no common sense way of interpreting Trump’s words as an innocent effort to make sure every last vote was counted fairly and accurately. That’s not what Trump really meant when he pointed Watson to Fulton County and pressured her to find “the right answer” or when he asked Raffensperger to “find” exactly 11,780 votes (inherently, he would only vote for Trump, because if any of those 11,780 votes were for President Joe Biden, Trump would still have lost the state).

Fulton County research is still in its early stages. But the most powerful evidence may already be right in front of you.

Now, your questions:

Ariel (New Jersey): Will cameras be allowed in the courtroom for the trial of former Minneapolis police chief Derek Chauvin for the alleged murder of George Floyd, and to what extent is it common or uncommon?

Yes, there will be cameras in the courtroom for the Chauvin trial and the trial itself will be broadcast live as it happens. Prosecutors had done it he argued against allowing cameras in the room, fighting that live coverage could compromise the privacy and security of witnesses and cameras could “create more problems than they solve.” But Judge Peter Cahill rejected that request and decided that the extraordinary national and international public interest in the proceedings, in addition to concerns about the overcrowding of the royal hall, given the Covid pandemic, weighed in favor of a live broadcast. This is so unusual: although the law on cameras in the courtroom varies from state to state, it will be the first time that a Minnesota state court has allowed cameras in the courtroom for a criminal trial.

Alex (Wisconsin): What is the process of the investigation into the allegations against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo?

New York Attorney General Letitia James has it now named two outside lawyers to lead the investigation into allegations of sexual harassment made publicly by former state employees and others against Cuomo. One of these outside attorneys, Joon Kim, is a former federal prosecutor. I worked with Kim in the southern district of New York (she was several years old for me) and Kim was deeply respected in the office for her work as a prosecutor. Anne Clark, an attorney with experience in labor litigation, will also lead the investigation. It’s important to note that Kim and Clark will have it citation power – which means the legal power to compel witnesses to testify or produce other evidence. Kim and Clark will regularly report on James about their findings and, at the end of the investigation, they will issue a final report, which will be available to the public.