COLUMBIA, SC (AP) — US Senator Lindsey Graham on Friday after a lower court instructed her to testify before a special grand jury in Georgia investigating whether then-President Donald Trump and others tried to illegally influence the country. He asked the US Supreme Court to intervene. 2020 elections in the state.
In a filing filed with the court, lawyers for Trump’s biggest ally, Graham, sought to halt his possible testimony as he continued to challenge his order to appear before a Fulton County special grand jury.
Graham’s office described the South Carolina Republican’s application as an attempt to “defend the Constitution and the corporate interests of the Senate.” Graham’s office said the lower court’s decision would “significantly affect the ability of senators to gather information while doing their jobs.”
The legal move is the latest in Graham’s ongoing struggle to block the former president’s testimony in a lawsuit that has trapped his allies and associates. Some, including former New York mayor and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani – who were said to face criminal charges in the investigation – appeared before special grand juries, including attorneys John Eastman and Kenneth Chesebro, and former White House attorney Pat Cipollone.
Documents have been filed seeking testimony from others, including former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Graham, a four-term senator, most recently re-elected in 2020, was first subpoenaed by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis in July. was offered to the public. In that call, Trump suggested he “could find” the votes needed to reverse Raffensperger’s narrow loss to Democrat Joe Biden.
Willis wants to question Graham about his two phone calls with Raffensperger and his team in the weeks after the election.
During these calls, Graham, in a petition seeking to challenge his testimony, called for “a reexamination of some absentee votes cast in Georgia to explore the possibility of a more positive outcome for former President Donald Trump.”
Graham also wrote that “consistent with public statements made by known affiliates of the Trump Campaign, he referred to widespread allegations of voter fraud in the November 2020 election in Georgia.” He said at a hearing last month that Graham could provide insight into the extent of any coordinated effort to influence the results.
Raffensperger said he took Graham’s question about the excuse votes as a proposal to overturn the legally cast votes. Graham called this comment “ridiculous”. Graham also argued that the call was retained, as she asked questions to inform her decisions on voting to approve the 2020 election and future legislation.
Graham challenged the subpoena in federal court, but a judge refused to dismiss him. Graham later appealed to the 11th U.S. Court of Appeals, and a panel of three judges ruled in Willis’ favor on Thursday. Graham can appeal in full court.
Graham’s lawyers argued that the Constitution’s speech or debate clause, which protects members of Congress from answering questions about legislative action, protects him from testifying.
Graham is represented by former White House attorney Don McGahn, who was involved in a lengthy court battle over a congressional subpoena for his own testimony regarding special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election. After years of discussion, the two sides came to an agreement, and McGahn answered the investigators’ questions in a special session.
Graham’s filing Friday was directed to Justice Clarence Thomas, who handled emergency appeals from Georgia and several other Southern states. Thomas can act on his own or refer the matter to full court.
Trump’s lawyers recently filed a Supreme Court appeal against Thomas, asking the Supreme Court to take up a legal challenge over classified documents seized during the FBI’s search of Trump’s Florida property.
Thomas was previously under scrutiny for his vote in a different Trump documents case, January 6, 2021, where he was the only court member to vote against allowing the House committee investigating the Capitol riot to retrieve Trump records held by the United States. National Archives and Records Administration.
Thomas’ wife, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, is a conservative activist and staunch Trump who attended the January 6 “Stop Playing” rally at the Ellipse and wrote to Meadows in the weeks after the election, encouraging her to work to overthrow Biden’s rule. supporter. victory and keeping Trump in office.
He also contacted lawmakers in Arizona and Wisconsin in the weeks after the election, but no evidence emerged of him making contact with Georgia officials. Thomas was recently interviewed by the House committee investigating the January 6 uprising and stood by the false allegation that the 2020 election was rigged, despite numerous federal and local officials, a long court list, senior ex-campaign and ex-campaign officials. Even Trump’s own attorney general said there was no evidence of mass fraud.
Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP.
Mark Sherman in Washington contributed to this report.