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Why Trump fired a federal prosecutor in Georgia last week

The White House fire a Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney in Georgia, and now we know why.
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NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 11: A US Department of Justice seal is displayed on a podium during a news conference to announce money laundering charges against HSBC on December 11, 2012 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Ramin Talaie / Getty Images

The controversy was soon overshadowed by the attack on the U.S. Capitol, but there was a striking series of events last week involving Donald Trump and Georgia. It started, of course, on Saturday, Jan. 2, when Trump told Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) he wanted someone to "find" enough votes to flip the state in his favor. A day later, the public heard a recording of the phone meeting.

But it was the next day -- Monday, Jan. 4 -- when Byung J. "BJay" Pak, a Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney in Georgia, unexpectedly parted ways with the administration.

The events are now starting to come into focus: the Wall Street Journal reported that Pak was pushed to resign because Trump expected Pak to chase his baseless voter-fraud conspiracy theories.

A senior Justice Department official, at the behest of the White House, called the Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney Byung J. Pak late on the night of Jan. 3. In that call the official said Mr. Trump was furious there was no investigation related to election fraud and that the president wanted to fire Mr. Pak, the people said.

Trump's Raffensperger call made clear that he was leaning on state officials. Indeed, that part of the story continues to produce new revelations, too: NBC News reported over the weekend that Trump also pushed Georgia's lead elections investigator in a phone call in December to produce evidence of fraud in the presidential race, telling the person to "find the fraud."

But the Pak resignation takes us further down the same road, offering evidence that Trump politicized federal law enforcement -- again -- and retaliated against a prosecutor for failing to play along with Trump's anti-election schemes.

It's against this backdrop that the Washington Post reported that U.S. Attorney Bobby Christine -- whom the White House tapped to succeed Pak -- "has brought to his new assignment two assistants previously tasked with monitoring possible election fraud, raising fears that he might be taking steps to lend credibility to Trump's baseless claims of electoral malfeasance, people familiar with the matter said."

Watch this space.