It's not every day that state prosecutors launch a criminal investigation into a former president's efforts, but as NBC News reported this morning, that's precisely what's happening now in Georgia.
Fulton County prosecutor Fani Willis sent a letter Wednesday to state government officials, including [Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger], requesting that their offices preserve documents related to the call, according to a state official with knowledge of the letter. NBC News verified the contents of the letter, which explicitly states the request is part of a criminal investigation into several charges ranging from false statements to "any involvement in violence or threats related to the election's administration."
If this sounds familiar, it's not your imagination. The New York Times reported a few weeks ago that prosecutors in Georgia "appear increasingly likely to open a criminal investigation" into the former president's efforts, and the Fulton County district attorney "is already weighing whether to proceed."
We now know Fani Willis has stopped "weighing" and started investigating.
For those who might need a refresher, the trouble started in earnest on Saturday, Jan. 2, when Trump told Georgia's Republican secretary of state that he wanted someone to "find" enough votes to flip the state in the then-president's favor, the will of the voters be damned.
As we discussed soon after, the public heard a recording of Trump, desperate to claim power he didn't earn, exploring ways to cheat, begging others to participate in his anti-democracy scheme, and even directing some subtle threats at the state's top elections official. By some measures, it was among the most scandalous recordings ever made of an American president.
It wasn't long before some observers questioned whether such efforts were legal. Politico published a report noting that Trump's antics "could run afoul of federal and state criminal statutes, according to legal experts and lawmakers."
Evidently, there are some prosecutors in Georgia thinking along these same lines.
Note, these developments are separate from the investigation Raffensperger's office has opened into Trump's efforts. They're also distinct from the criminal investigation into Trump's alleged misdeeds in New York, the criminal investigation Trump faced as part of the Russia scandal, and the multiple criminal investigations into many insiders on Team Trump.
The fact that this guy picked "law and order" as a campaign theme continues to be one of the most ironic things I've ever seen.
Just yesterday, CNN reported that the former president "has been asking aides and associates about his potential exposure to criminal prosecution after his impeachment trial is completed." The report added, "Trump has reached out to advisers to gauge whether he could face charges on matters unrelated to the Capitol siege on Jan. 6, the source said."
It appears he has reason to be concerned.