The Georgia district attorney investigating former President Donald Trump’s actions surrounding the state’s presidential election has hired a lawyer with expertise in racketeering cases, Reuters reported Sunday.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said last month prosecutors were launching a criminal investigation to determine whether Trump had illegally interfered in attempts to overturn his loss in the state.
Willis tapped John Floyd to assist in cases that involve racketeering, including the investigation into Trump, Reuters reported. The outlet said that Floyd has written a guide on prosecuting racketeering cases.
The investigation into Trump includes a phone call the then-president made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a recording of which was obtained by The Washington Post in January. During the call, Trump told Raffensperger to “find” the additional votes he needed to defeat Joe Biden in the state.
During the phone call, Raffensperger told Trump that the election was secure and that Trump’s data suggesting he had won was wrong, prompting Trump to push back.
“All I want to do is this,” Trump said. “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.”
In February, Willis sent a letter to Raffensperger, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, and other Republican officials asking them to save materials related to that phone call for an “investigation into attempts to influence the administration of the 2020 Georgia General Election.”
The letter listed racketeering as one of the possible violations being investigated, as well as soliciting election fraud, making false statements to government bodies, and violation of oath of office.
Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell introduced a bill Tuesday linking $2,000 stimulus checks to a repeal of Section 230 and a new commission to study election fraud, a move likely to doom the increased checks.
McConnell’s proposal came just hours after he blocked a House-passed bill that would have also boosted Americans’ stimulus payments, but without tackling the other items — both of which are top Trump priorities.
Trump and some Republicans have repeatedly railed against Section 230 — which shields internet companies from being sued over user-posted content — and made baseless accusations about election fraud, while Democrats have opposed them on both issues.
McConnell’s decision to tie increased stimulus checks to a Section 230 repeal and election fraud commission may sink the effort by pressuring Democrats to vote against the bill or help Trump notch three wins.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday introduced a bill tying $2,000 stimulus checks to unrelated items on President Donald Trump’s agenda: a full repeal of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and the creation of a new Congressional committee to further investigate the integrity of the 2020 US elections.
By linking the increased payments to measures that Democrats oppose, so-called poison pills, McConnell’s bill will likely sink efforts to get Americans additional COVID-19 relief.
McConnell’s move comes just hours after he blocked a separate attempt by Democrats to hold a vote on $2,000 checks that didn’t include language on the other two issues.
“Senator McConnell knows how to make $2,000 survival checks reality and he knows how to kill them,” Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a press release.
“If Sen. McConnell tries loading up the bipartisan House-passed CASH Act with unrelated, partisan provisions that will do absolutely nothing to help struggling families across the country, it will not pass the House and cannot become law – any move like this by Sen. McConnell would be a blatant attempt to deprive Americans of a $2,000 survival check,” Schumer added.
McConnell has repeatedly opposed additional direct COVID-19 relief payments to Americans, previously calling them “crazy policy.” But he has also faced pressure recently from Democrats, Trump, and even some Republicans – ahead of pivotal runoff elections in Georgia for control of the Senate – to raise the amount to $2,000 from the $600 that Congress and Trump signed off on earlier this week.
Trump had threatened to veto the stimulus bill, because the checks were not for $2,000, but he eventually singed the $900 billion relief package.
On Tuesday, following McConnell’s decision to block the House proposal that would have done exactly that, Trump lashed out again, while also pushing Republicans to link the increased payments to his crusades against the tech industry and the presidential election results.
“Unless Republicans have a death wish, and it is also the right thing to do, they must approve the $2000 payments ASAP. $600 IS NOT ENOUGH! Also, get rid of Section 230 – Don’t let Big Tech steal our Country, and don’t let the Democrats steal the Presidential Election. Get tough!” Trump tweeted.
By linking the $2,000 checks to Trump’s other demands – both of which Democrats have opposed – McConnell’s bill will likely pressure Democrats into voting down the measure, which in turn could give Republicans political cover to say they weren’t responsible for tanking the increased payments to Americans.
Trump has repeatedly railed against Section 230, a legal provision that shields internet companies from lawsuits over content posted on their sites by users and gives them the ability to regulate that content. Trump and some Republicans have mistakenly interpreted the law as requiring social media companies to be politically neutral, and have long complained – despite evidence to the contrary – that social media is biased against conservative viewpoints.