US Sen. Lindsey Graham questioned in Georgia election probe

Nov 22, 2022, 1:16 PM | Updated: 1:32 pm
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., walks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022. (AP Photo...

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., walks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

ATLANTA (AP) — U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham testified Tuesday before a special grand jury that’s investigating whether President Donald Trump and others illegally meddled in the 2020 election in Georgia.

The South Carolina Republican’s appearance before the panel came after a drawn-out legal fight that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court as Graham tried to avoid testifying. He had argued that his position as a senator shielded him from questioning. The courts rejected his assertion but did rule that prosecutors and grand jurors could not ask him about protected legislative activity.

Graham’s office said in a statement that he spent just over two hours with the special grand jury and “answered all questions.”

“The senator feels he was treated with respect, professionalism and courtesy,” the statement said.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis launched the investigation early last year. It is considered one of the most significant potential legal threats to the former president, who last week announced a third run for the White House. Graham is one of a number of high-profile Trump allies whose testimony has been sought.

When Willis filed paperwork in July seeking Graham’s testimony, she wrote that she wanted to ask him about a phone call he made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger shortly after the election.

Raffensperger has said Graham asked whether he could reject certain absentee ballots, which the secretary of state said he interpreted as a suggestion to throw out legally cast votes. Graham has called that idea “ridiculous.”

Willis said in August that she hoped to be able to send the special grand jury home by the end of the year. But that timeline could be complicated by the fact that some of the testimony she’s seeking is tied up in appeals.

For witnesses who live outside of Georgia, Willis has to rely on a process that involves getting a judge in the state where a potential witness lives to order that person to travel to Atlanta to testify.

Michael Flynn, a retired lieutenant general who served briefly as national security adviser under Trump, had been ordered to testify Tuesday, but a Florida judge issued a provisional stay of that order after Flynn appealed. Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich had been ordered by a Virginia judge to testify Nov. 29, but that has been stayed pending appeal. And an appeal of former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows’ order to appear on Nov. 30 is pending before the South Carolina Supreme Court.

Former Meadows aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who previously testified before the U.S. House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, answered questions from the special grand jury last week.

Special grand jury proceedings are secret, but some related public court filings have shed light on the scope of the investigation.

From the start Willis has said she was interested in a Jan. 2, 2021, phone call between Trump and Raffensperger. The Republican president urged the state’s top elections official to “find” the votes needed to reverse his narrow loss in the state to Democrat Joe Biden.

It has also become clear that she is interested in several other areas, including: the submitting of a fake slate of Republican electors from Georgia who falsely declared that Trump won the state; false statements about the election made by former New York mayor and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and others to state lawmakers; efforts to pressure a Fulton County elections worker to admit wrongdoing; breaches of election equipment in rural Coffee County; the abrupt departure of the U.S. attorney in Atlanta in January 2021.

Willis has notified Giuliani, who testified before the special grand jury in August, and the Georgia fake electors that they could face criminal charges in the investigation.

Special grand juries in Georgia are generally used to investigate complex cases with many witnesses. They can compel evidence and subpoena testimony from witnesses, but they cannot issue indictments. Once its investigation is complete, a special grand jury can recommend action, but it remains up to the district attorney to decide whether to then seek an indictment from a regular grand jury.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

India’s G-20 energy meet to balance renewables, fossil fuels

BENGALURU, India (AP) — Over 500 energy industry heavyweights and 30,000 participants will descend on the southern Indian city of Bengaluru on Monday to discuss the future of renewables and fossil fuels at India Energy Week — the first big ticket event of the country’s presidency of the Group of 20 leading economies. Speakers, including […]
21 hours ago
FILE - Mega Millions lottery tickets and a wager slip are displayed, Friday, Jan. 6, 2023, in Derry...
Arizona Sports

Drawing nears for $700M Powerball prize, 10th biggest in US

Another huge lottery jackpot will be on the line Saturday for players willing to put up $2 vs. daunting odds of actually winning the prize.
21 hours ago
Chinese spy balloon flies above in Charlotte NC, United States on February 04, 2023. The Pentagon a...
Associated Press

US downs suspected Chinese spy balloon off the Carolina coast

The United States on Saturday downed a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the Carolina coast after it traversed sensitive military sites.
21 hours ago
A man works at an avocado orchard in Santa Ana Zirosto, Michoacan state, Mexico, Thursday, Jan. 26,...
Associated Press

Route to Super Bowl dangerous for Mexico’s avocado haulers

SANTA ANA ZIROSTO, Mexico (AP) — It is a long and sometimes dangerous journey for truckers transporting the avocados destined for guacamole on tables and tailgates in the United States during the Super Bowl. It starts in villages like Santa Ana Zirosto, high in the misty, pine-clad mountains of the western Mexico state of Michoacan. […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Iraqi currency crash halts after meeting with U.S. official

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq’s currency ended its nosedive after a meeting between the Iraqi Central Bank head and a top U.S. Treasury official. Under Secretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence Brian E. Nelson said in a statement Saturday that he had met with Central Bank of Iraq Governor Ali al-Allaq in Istanbul […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Gas prices dip in NJ, around nation as cold weather returns

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Gas prices dipped in New Jersey and around the country at large as cold weather descended on parts of the nation following an unusually warm January. AAA Mid-Atlantic says the average price of a gallon of regular gas in New Jersey on Friday was $3.42, down three cents from last week. […]
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Fiesta Bowl Foundation

Celebrate 50 years of Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade magic!

Since its first production in the early 1970s, the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe has been a staple of Valley traditions, bringing family fun and excitement to downtown Phoenix.
(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
US Sen. Lindsey Graham questioned in Georgia election probe