December 2, 2022

SUPREMES NEXT: Appeals court rules Lindsey Graham must testify to Georgia grand jury

SUPREMES NEXT: Appeals court rules Lindsey Graham must testify to Georgia grand jury

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A federal appeals court ruled that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) can testify in Fulton County District Attorney’s investigation into ex-President Donald Trump. On Tuesday, the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s ruling that Graham’s testimony was not constitutionally protected by the Speech and Debate Clause, as the South Carolina Senator had claimed.

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According to CNN:

“(C)ommunications and coordination with the Trump campaign regarding its post-election efforts in Georgia, public statements regarding the 2020 election, and efforts to ‘cajole’ or ‘exhort’ Georgia election officials” are not legislative activities protected by the Speech and Debate Clause of the Constitution, the three-judge panel ruled.

DA Fani Willis has been like a dog with a bone since convening a special grand jury in her investigation into Trump and his allies’ attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Graham specifically made several calls to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, prodding the state’s top election official to throw out legally cast absentee ballots.

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Graham has maintained the conversation was in line with his duties as a United States Senator, but that’s been disputed. Despite attempts to avoid doing his legal duty, Sen. Graham’s claims of privilege and immunity have been debunked multiple times.

The appeals court said if there was a dispute over whether investigators’ questions about those calls related to the fact-finding he was doing for the certification vote, Graham could raise those issues when he is testifying. But the new ruling makes clear that the three other categories of conduct fall outside of the protections of the Speech and Debate Clause, which shields legislators from certain law enforcement activities connected to their duties as lawmakers.

The Atlanta area special grand jury has heard testimony from heavy hitters intimately involved in the 2020 election denying scandal – including Secretary Raffensperger, and several aides who were present on the infamous call where then-President Trump asked the uncooperative Secretary to “find” Trump 11,780 votes – just one more needed to overturn Biden’s win in the state.

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Former senior Trump aide Cassidy Hutchinson, former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, and ex-Senator Kelly Loeffler are also slated to testify. Graham will be in “good” company – minus the whole treason part, anyway.

Original reporting by Tierney Sneed at CNN. 

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Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxc

Ty Ross

News journalist for Washington Press and Occupy Democrats.

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