Georgia Call Triggers Debate On Criminal Penalties


Trump’s Georgia call triggers debate on criminal penalties

A leaked phone call in which President Trump can be heard cajoling, pressuring and vaguely threatening Georgia’s top elections official to “find” enough votes to reverse his election loss is raising questions about whether Trump should face criminal penalties.

Democratic lawmakers and a Georgia state elections official on Monday called for probes into whether Trump’s call amounted to an illegal effort to solicit Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) to engage in voter fraud by overturning President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the state.

It’s not clear yet if federal or state officials will heed the calls for investigations into whether the hourlong Saturday phone conversation violated federal or state statutes.

But even if prosecutors ultimately conclude that Trump could be charged, the decision over whether to proceed would likely involve weighing the interests of justice against the explosive political impact of prosecuting a current or recently sitting president.

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Legal experts on Monday appeared divided on the question. Some argued that prosecuting Trump is necessary to restore certain democratic norms that were shattered during Trump’s White House tenure, especially amid a tumultuous lame-duck phase that has seen Trump launch numerous failed lawsuits to challenge Biden’s win while repeatedly making claims that the election was subject to rampant voter fraud despite a lack of any evidence.

Other experts, however, said the appropriate remedy is political, not court-ordered.

“While President Trump may have engaged in criminal conduct in this phone call, I think the best interests of the nation would be to avoid traditional criminal prosecution, with the contemplation of imprisonment or something like that,” said Edward Foley, an election law expert and law professor at Ohio State University.

The Washington Post on Sunday published an audio recording of a phone call between Trump and Raffensperger that showed the president asking the secretary of state to “find” the votes needed to overturn the results of the election in Georgia.AMIBC® - VOTE! BE COUNTED! BE HEARD!


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