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As pressure mounts, Trump clearly has Georgia on his mind

Why is an agitated Donald Trump pushing so many lies about Georgia's 2020 election? Because the Republican seems genuinely afraid of a possible indictment.


On Tuesday morning, Donald Trump apparently received an update on the criminal investigation he’s facing in Georgia. I can say this with some confidence because the former president used his social media platform that morning to publish a series of hysterical tirades about the probe, including this gem:

“My phone call to the Secretary of State of Georgia, and a second call which the Marxists, Communists, Racists, and RINOS don’t even want to talk about, were ‘PERFECT’ calls. Many people, including lawyers for both sides, were knowingly on the line. I was protesting a RIGGED & STOLEN Election, which evidence proves it was. I won Georgia by a lot, but only needed a small number of votes from that total number. They cheated in many ways including STUFFING Ballots, ALL CAUGHT LIVE ON TAPE...”

In follow-up items, the Republican insisted he had “a clear right” to “protest” the election results, and he has “evidence” that Georgia’s elections were “rigged and stolen.”

Yesterday, Trump — who’s had related breakdowns before — published a couple of additional items, complaining about crime rates in Atlanta. The former president didn’t come right out and say this, but the intended message seemed to effectively be, “Local prosecutors should focus less on my alleged wrongdoing and more on others’ alleged wrongdoing.”

To the extent that reality is still relevant amidst all of this nonsense, Trump’s post-election call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger was anything but “perfect.” What’s more, Republican election officials in the state have repeatedly concluded that Trump lost Georgia in 2020, fair and square, and though the former president has had more than two years to present evidence to the contrary, he’s offered nothing but discredited attacks against Ruby Freeman.

Literally no wrongdoing from Georgia’s 2020 election has been “caught on tape.”

As for why, exactly, the Republican is having a meltdown, my colleague Jordan Rubin, writing from MSNBC’s new legal blog, explained this week:

For those eager to get their hands on the Georgia special grand jury report, I have some bad news: The judge didn’t rule on the issue at Tuesday’s hearing. It’s unclear how and when he will. But for those eager to see Donald Trump and others charged in the Peach State for crimes stemming from their attempt to overturn the 2020 election, I have some interesting news from the hearing: Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said decisions are “imminent.”

Let’s pause to review how we arrived at this point.

The trouble appeared to start in earnest on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021, when Trump told Raffensperger 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, Raffensperger recorded the call, offering the public the opportunity to hear 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 no sane measure was this a “protest”: It was instead 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.”

Prosecutors in Georgia started thinking along the same lines: Willis opened a criminal investigation into alleged violations of state election law — which seemed quite sensible, since trying to interfere with the lawful administration of an election is a crime — a special grand jury was soon empaneled.

That probe appears to be nearing the point at which charges are a distinct possibility. This week, the local district attorney surprised some observers when she asked to keep the grand jury report in this case secret, for now, though as Rubin’s report explained, that suggested she’s “gearing up to bring criminal charges.”

That’s because Willis pressed Judge Robert McBurney to consider the rights of future defendants — that’s defendants, plural — who could be implicated by the report. So, it’s a little more than a hint that the DA’s imminent decision could include criminal charges against multiple people, though against whom wasn’t specified at Tuesday’s hearing.

Is it any wonder why Trump seems so agitated and is lying about Georgia with such reckless abandon?