Sen. Lindsey Graham is asking the judge to vacate the Trump grand jury subpoena

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks during a news conference in response to President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021 on Capitol Hill Wednesday, April 14, 2021 in Washington, DC .

Kent Nishimura | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has asked a federal judge to vacate a subpoena for his testimony issued by a Georgia grand jury investigating possible criminal interference by former President Donald Trump in that state’s 2020 election.

Graham’s move to U.S. District Court in South Carolina came after an Atlanta judge signed Monday’s special subpoena from the Fulton County, Georgia grand jury to the Republican legislature.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney ordered Graham, a close Trump ally, to testify before the grand jury on Aug. 2. This jury is looking for evidence related to efforts by Trump and others to get Georgia officials to overturn the election won there by President Joe Biden.

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In the 13-page motion, which asked a federal court judge to vacate the subpoena, Graham’s attorneys wrote, “The speech or debate clause of the Constitution protects him from this trial” and that “sovereign immunity will allow the enforcement of state trial against him.” forbids”. a federal officer.”

The lawyers also argued that “there are no exceptional circumstances to compel his testimony”.

Graham said in a statement: “What I’m trying to do is get my daily work done. If we give county prosecutors the ability to call any member of the Senate based on an investigation they think is good for the country, we’re opening a Pandora’s box.

Shortly after the motion was made public, South Carolina Federal Court Judge Henry Herlong Jr. entered an order staying enforcement of the subpoena pending another court order. The judge has also scheduled a hearing on the motion for July 20.

The subpoena, issued to Graham on July 5, says he called Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his associates at least twice to “re-examine certain absentee ballots cast in Georgia to determine the possibility of a more favorable outcome.” for former President Donald Trump.”

Graham’s attorneys said last week that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who is investigating Trump, told them he was “neither a subject nor a target of the investigation, but merely a witness.” Willis petitioned the grand jury to subpoena Graham and other Trump allies.

In their filing, Graham’s attorneys wrote, “The district attorney’s attempts to compel Senator Graham to appear are an abuse of procedure. especially given the immunity and privilege conferred by the speech or debate clause and sovereign immunity.

CNBC has reached out to Graham’s attorneys and the DA’s office for comment.

The same grand jury that subpoenaed Graham has also issued subpoenas demanding testimony from Rudy Giuliani, the attorney who led Trump’s legal effort to overturn Biden’s election victory, and other attorneys assisting Giuliani in that work.

Trump is known to have called Raffensperger on January 2, 2021, two days before Biden’s victory was due to be confirmed by Congress.

In that call, Trump urged Raffensperger to “seek” him enough votes to overturn Biden’s victory in Georgia.

“All I want to do is this: I just want to find 11,780 votes,” Trump told him.

Trump’s team sought to reverse its popular vote losses in Georgia and several other swing states, won by Democrat Biden, in a bid to erase Biden’s electoral college lead. Sen. Lindsey Graham is asking the judge to vacate the Trump grand jury subpoena

Joshua Buckhalter

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