High-profile allies and advisers in the Gingrich, Giuliani, and Graham probes of the ‘anomalies’ of the 2016 Georgian election
They are just a few of the high-profile allies and advisers who have been summoned to testify. Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor and Donald Trump’s attorney, testified in August that he could face criminal charges in the investigation. Attorneys John Eastman and Kenneth Chesebro have also appeared before the panel. U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham’s attempt to fight his subpoena is pending in a federal appeals court. And paperwork has been filed seeking testimony from others, including former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.
The district attorney filed more court petitions in hopes of getting testimony from out-of-state witnesses in front of the grand jury in Atlanta.
During the heated Oval Office meeting, CNN previously reported, Flynn and Powell floated outrageous suggestions about overturning the election, three weeks after Trump pardoned Flynn.
Gingrich was also involved in a plan to have Republican fake electors sign certificates falsely stating that Trump had won the state and that they were the state’s official electors even though Democrat Joe Biden had won, the petition says.
Compelling testimony from people who don’t live in Georgia requires the court to get judges in states where the witnesses live to order them to appear. The petitions she filed Friday are essentially precursors to subpoenas.
During a hearing last month on whether to publicly release the report, Willis, a Democrat, suggested the special grand jury has recommended multiple indictments and said that her decision on whether to bring charges is “imminent.”
Flynn didn’t immediately respond to email and phone messages seeking comment, and his lawyer also didn’t immediately return an email seeking comment. Gingrich referred questions to his attorney, who declined to comment. Herschmann could not be reached immediately.
A Citizen’s View of Trump’s 2020 Campaign: The Flynn-Flynn Activist Says: “She Probably Could Easily Re-run an Election”
Willis has said she plans to take a monthlong break from public activity in the case leading up to the November midterm election, which is one month from Saturday.
Each of the petitions filed Friday seeks to have the potential witnesses appear in November after the election. The process of getting testimony from out-of-state witnesses can take a while, and so the wheels are in motion for activity to return after her self-imposed pause.
The judge who is overseeing the grand jury has signed off on the petitions certifying that every witness is a “necessary and material witness” for the investigation.
He and others associated with the Trump campaign were involved in the plan to run television ads that perpetuated false claims about fraud in the 2020 election, and encouraged members of the public to contact state officials to challenge the election results.
The petition seeking Flynn’s testimony says he appeared in an interview on conservative cable news channel Newsmax and said Trump “could take military capabilities” and place them in swing states and “basically re-run an election in each of those states.”
He also met with Trump, attorney Sidney Powell and others at the White House on Dec. 18, 2020, for a meeting that, according to news reports, “focused on topics including invoking martial law, seizing voting machines, and appointing Powell as special counsel to investigate the 2020 election,” Willis wrote.
Herschmann, who featured prominently in the House committee hearings on the Capitol attack, was a senior adviser to Trump from August 2020 through the end of his term and “was present for multiple meetings between former President Trump and others related to the 2020 election,” Willis wrote in the petition seeking his testimony.
She identified Penrose as “a cyber investigations, operations and forensics consultant” who worked with Powell and others known to be associated with the Trump campaign in late 2020 and early 2021.
He spoke with Powell and others about a proposal to hire an information solutions firm, SullivanStrickler, to copy voting system equipment data and software from other places, as well as in Coffee County, approximately 200 miles southeast of Atlanta. Penrose did not immediately respond to an email and phone message seeking comment.
Willis wrote in a petition seeking Lee’s testimony that he was part of an effort to pressure elections worker Ruby Freeman, who was the subject of false claims about election fraud in Fulton County. He could not be reached for comment.
The special grand jury is essentially “an investigative tool” and a “one-sided exploration,” McBurney said, designed to enable Willis to make her decision. McBurney released some of the information in the special grand jury report.
When its investigation is complete, the special grand jury issues a final report and can recommend action. It’s up to the district attorney to make a decision about asking a grand jury for an indictment.
The supreme court order gives Mr. Graham the chance to continue his strategy of delay by objecting to specific questions from the grand jury and seeking a court ruling.
He said that the senator is at risk because it could lead to public view of the grand jury and his refusal to answer questions.
According to legal experts, the case is serious and could pose a threat to Mr. Trump.
A group of Mr. Trump’s friends have been fighting in courts around the country, arguing that they shouldn’t have to. Their track record has been mixed so far.
A federal judge on Tuesday ordered Donald Trump adviser Kash Patel to testify before a grand jury investigating the handling of federal records at Mar-a-Lago, according to two people familiar with the investigation.
Judge Beryl Howell of the DC District Court has granted Patel immunity from prosecution on any information he provides to the investigation, the people said.
The decision of the court is under seal after a secret proceeding in which theJustice Department subpoenaed him to the jury. He wouldn’t answer questions by asserting his Fifth Amendment protection.
According to court records and sources, Patel is one of several advisers around Trump who may have legal risk associated with the Mar-a-Lago situation, but it is not clear if he is a target of the Justice Department probe.
He served as a national security and defense official during the Trump administration, and this summer became one of Trump’s designees to interact with the National Archives and the Justice Department as both agencies have tried to repossess classified records Trump kept from his presidency. He has claimed in conservative media interviews he personally witnessed Trump declassifying records before he left the presidency, and has argued Trump should be able to release classified information.
Trump and the Georgia Grand Jury: Report of the 2021 Phone Call from Trump to the Secretary of State in Mar-a-Lago
Other witnesses were subpoenaed to the grand jury looking at Mar-a-Lago over the past several months, including in a flurry of activity around the day of the FBI’s August search, one source said.
The grand jury met for about seven months in Atlanta and heard testimony from 75 witnesses, including some of Trump’s closest advisers from his final weeks in the White House.
McBurney made clear that the findings from the special grand jury will not be made public. Some of the people named in those recommendations may not have appeared before a grand jury.
The big question is whether the portions will include any bits of information that shed new light on what Trump himself did two years ago and whether the special grand jury concluded that the former president committed any crimes.
In 2020Trump lost to Joe Biden in Georgia. The former president insisted there was no problem with his activities during the election.
In document preservation requests to Georgia officials in February 2021, she told them that she was investigating possible crimes, including solicitation of election fraud, making false statements to government bodies, conspiracy, rackethood, violation of oath of office and violence or threats related to election administration.
Cunningham added to CNN that “there is no doubt that whatever (the report is) referring to is either conduct that was done directly by Donald Trump or done on his behalf.”
Some of what was done on the part of the former president to affect the election results was considered a crime by this cross section of citizens. “I think that’s terrifically significant.”
The Georgia probe was set off nearly two years ago by an hourlong January 2021 phone call from Trump to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger asking him to “find” the votes necessary for Trump to win the Peach State. Trump has referred to it as a “perfect” phone call.
The grand jury believed that perjury charges should be brought against some witnesses. The grand jury recommended multiple indictments but she did not provide names, according to The New York Times.
The final report will likely include summaries of the panel’s investigative work as well as any recommendations for indictments or conduct that led to the panel’s conclusions.
The Democrat who is in the investigation has not brought any charges at this time. During a hearing last month on whether to public release the report, she said that her decision to bring charges is imminent and suggested that the special grand jury had recommended multiple indictments.
“We find by a unanimous vote that no widespread fraud took place in the Georgia 2020 presidential election that could result in overturning that election,” it added.
The grand jury’s conclusions on the fraud matter is important because it once again establishes that Trump was attempting to overturn the results of a legitimate election. That could factor into charging decisions by state prosecutors, who are weighing whether to indict Trump and his allies with crimes related to 2020.
Perjury “may have been committed by one or more witnesses testifying before it,” according to portions of the report disclosed Thursday. The Grand Jury recommended that the District Attorney seek appropriate indictments for crimes where the evidence is compelling.
The pages released Thursday do not name any witnesses alongside that recommendation and do not provide any other details about the witness testimony the special grand jury heard.
Fulton County Sheriff’s Office Appropriations: Trump’s name is not mentioned, nor is he a candidate for the 2020 Presidential Campaign
The most pressing question surrounding the Fulton County investigation is whether or not Trump will be indicted. The excerpts of the report that came out Thursday did not move the ball forward to answer that question. Trump’s name – or the name of any subject of the investigation or witness – wasn’t mentioned.
The implications of Willis’ decisions couldn’t be higher. The 2024 presidential campaign is already kicking into gear, and Willis’ decision on charging Trump could potentially scramble the Republican primary field.
Trump did not testify before the panel. His campaign claimed in Thursday’s statement that he did nothing wrong.
The grand jury reviewed physical and digital evidence, as well as testimony from investigators and input from a team of assistant district attorneys who outlined for them the applicable statutes and procedures.
The still-secret report also includes footnotes where the grand jurors had the chance to clarify their votes the various recommendations, according to the public excerpts. The conclusion of the grand jury’s report was made public and it stated that members of the jury were not experts in criminal or election law.
“The majority of this Grand Jury used their collective best efforts, however, to attend every session, listen to every witness, and attempt to understand the facts as presented and the laws as explained,” the excerpts said.
The Special Purpose Grand Jury voted to recommend the final report be published before it was dissolved. It says that the Special Purpose Grand Jury did not recommend a time or manner for such publication.
Totaling just nine pages – three of which contained no substantive information – the portions released Thursday were short and didn’t provide extensive information on the investigation’s findings.
On the Atlanta Grand Jury’s Recommendation of Indictments in Attempts to Overturn the 2020 Election, Commented CNN Emily Kohrs
The foreperson of the Atlanta-based grand jury that investigated former President Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election told CNN on Tuesday that the panel is recommending multiple indictments and suggested “the big name” may be on the list.
Emily told CNN that it would be difficult to do this for eight months and not have a whole list of recommended indictments. It isn’t a short list. It is not.
She continued, “There may be some names on that list that you wouldn’t expect. The big name that everyone keeps asking me about, I do not think you will be surprised.
The grand jury had 24 people, including alternates, but they never heard witness testimony together. Only Kohrs has spoken publicly so far.
Asked by CNN’s Kate Bolduan on “Erin Burnett OutFront” whether the number of people was “more than a dozen,” Kohrs replied: “I believe so. That is probably a good assumption.
Do you think Donald Trump is politically biased? The case against Willis and his team in a Georgia grand jury investigation, CNN reported in the phone interview
Trump, who has launched his 2024 campaign for the White House, denies any criminal wrongdoing. He has claimed that Willis, a Democrat, is politically biased, and still regularly promotes the false claim that he actually won the election in Georgia.
She said that she had heard the president speak on the phone more than once. CNN previously reported that at least one additional call by Trump to a Georgia state official was part of the investigation.
Despite Trump’s claims that the prosecutors are liberal zealots on a “witch hunt,” Kohrs said she believed Willis and her team acted in a non-partisan fashion and tried to keep the proceedings fair.
“I don’t believe there was bias on the part of the DA’s team,” she told CNN in the phone interview. They were very worried about accidentally coloring their opinions one way or the other, I know for a fact. We were told that they didn’t want their opinions to affect us or our knowledge.
“Personally, I hope to see her take almost any kind of decisive action, to actually do something,” Kohrs said. There have been a lot of times in recent history, where someone has been called out for something and nothing ever happens.
“How often does something actually happen? I would like to see something happen. Don’t make me feel bad about the system. If this whole thing just disappears, that’s the one thing I would be most disappointed in. That is the only thing that would make me sad.
The Fore Person Of The Grand Jury: Michael Flynn, Mark Meadows, Mike Pence’s Supersensor, Marc Short, and Other Possible Indictments of Donald Trump
The fore person told CNN that she was surprised by the politeness of witnesses such as Michael Flynn, a former White House security adviser, even though they invoked privilege and declined to answer questions.
“Some of those people fought not to be there, but once they were there, they were willing to have a conversation, and I respect the hell out of that,” Kohrs said. Flynn was very nice in person. He was a very nice man. He was intriguing. But I don’t recall him saying anything earth-shattering.”
Using the Fifth Amendment or citing various legal privileges was a strategy that the grand jury saw from several of the most prominent witnesses, including Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, according to Kohrs.
Separately, a source familiar with the matter confirmed Mike Pence’s former chief of staff Marc Short appeared before the special grand jury under subpoena. His appearance was previously reported by The Associated Press.
In addition, Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith is investigating Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election, his role in the January 6, 2021, insurrection, and his possible mishandling of classified material. In New York, a criminal probe led by the Manhattan district attorney is still underway, and Trump’s namesake business is fighting a civil fraud lawsuit from the state attorney general.
The American judicial system has allowed a woman who has described herself as between customer service jobs and who said she did not vote for a president in 2020 to play a significant role in the potential indictment of a former president.
The investigation was dismissed by Trump in a social media post. “Now you have an extremely energetic young woman, the (get this!) The person of the racism d.a.’s grand jury was doing a Media Tour revealing their inner workings.
Kohrs is cagily answering questions, teasing that the special grand jury may have recommended charges for Trump and saying she hopes something comes of it all.
Investigating the Oasis of the Special Grand Jury: Michelle Kohrs Explains What Happened to a Former US Attorney
She has done interviews with several news organizations in addition to the AP, who first revealed her identity.
The former US Attorney Harry Litman said on CNN on Wednesday that prosecutors have got to be “consternated” that a potential jury pool could be contaminated by Kohrs’ “odd 15-minute PR tour.”
“In terms of magnitude, I’m straining for the right adjectives, but it’d be the biggest thing that’s happened in the criminal law perhaps in American history, right? This is the first time that it has happened to a former president.
McBurney also pointed out that what the special grand jury saw was not a trial where a defendant presents his or her side of a case, but was instead “largely controlled by the District Attorney.”
Anthony Michael Kreis, assistant professor of law at Georgia State University, told Murray that while the media tour was odd, it was within her rights to speak about the case as long as she didn’t jump to conclusions.
“She didn’t do anything violative of her obligations,” Kreis said. “I don’t think she did anything that jeopardized Fani Willis’ strategy or her ability to bring her case.”
Kohrs told reporters McBurney gave the jury instructions, and she seemed to consider exactly how far she could go before answering reporters’ individual questions – though she also seemed to enjoy the opportunity to dish about the grand jury proceedings.
On the other hand, Kohrs’ simple act of publicly embracing the role is a fascinating example of the US justice system, which ultimately relies on everyday people.
Here are some of the main points from the interview with CNN. I’ve paraphrased Bolduan’s questions and have noted Kohrs’ responses in italics.
Grand Jury Emirily Kohler What Matters: a Brief History of the Lorentzian DA and a New Look at the DA’s Report
I think if you look at the page numbers of the report, there’s about six pages in the middle that got cut out. Allow for spacing, it’s not a short list.
I will tell you that it was a process where we heard his name a lot. We heard a lot about the man, and had a lot of discussion in the room. And I will say that when this list comes out, you wouldn’t – there are no major plot twists waiting for you.
The judge consciously chose not to release something at this point and I don’t want to speak out on that. I don’t know if I would interfere with the DA’s investigations. I don’t know if I would interfere with procedures in some way. I don’t want to cross that line.
That wouldn’t be what I would say. It was included because it was less pointed than the other things the judge chose to keep away from the public.
I will say that I thought it was important to keep it separate as well, at least in my opinion, not anybody else’s but mine. There’s a difference between the crimes we were called to investigate and crimes that were committed in the room.
Is Impaneling Regular People a Good Voucher of Democracy or What I’ve Learned about Politics, if You’ve Read It, I’m sure You aren’t
I’ve loved being a part of this process. I think it’s amazing to actually be able to be a part of this process for once. I think it is a honor to be part of the system and make it work.
This has been fascinating to get this peek into the world of politics and of all these different – of government and of all these different things and have the curtain lifted just a little bit and let us peek in as regular people has been amazing. And I’m so glad that I did it.
I think it’s the opposite. I think that the grand jury chose to avoid politics by impaneling regular people, because they wanted to remove bias from the question. Because they chose to get, instead of anyone else, they chose to get 16 random people.
I am not. I am cautious about my personal safety. I am aware of my safety, but not worried. I don’t think I should be – I don’t think I did or any of the jury members did anything that says we believe one way or the other about politics, about any of these issues.
We did our best to find and share the facts that we found with the district attorney and her office, I believe.