Trump Pressured Georgia Elections Investigator in Potential Act of Obstruction

Trump Pressured Georgia Elections Investigator in Potential Act of Obstruction

In addition to pressuring Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to overturn that state’s presidential vote count in a phone call earlier this month, President Trump also called Georgia’s chief elections investigator in December and told him to “find the fraud,” according to the Washington Post.

Some legal experts believe such an attempt to interfere with an ongoing investigation could be considered obstruction of justice or other criminal violations.

From the story:

“Oh my god, of course that’s obstruction — any way you cut it,” said Nick Akerman, a former federal prosecutor in New York and a onetime member of the Watergate prosecution team, responding to a description of Trump’s conversation with the investigator.

Akerman said he would be “shocked” if Trump didn’t commit a crime of obstruction under the Georgia statutes. He said the fact that the president took the time to identify the investigator, obtain a phone number and then call “shows that he’s trying to influence the outcome of what’s going on.”

But cases of this sort can be difficult to prove, experts also warned. Without audio of the call, the tone Trump used cannot be known, which could work to the president’s advantage.

Trump’s call to Raffensperger, of which there is an audio recording, was cited in an early draft of articles of impeachment circulated among House leaders as an example of “prior efforts to subvert and obstruct” the democratic process in the wake of the deadly Capitol riots by Trump supporters.

William Vaillancourt

William Vaillancourt

William Vaillancourt is a writer and editor from New Hampshire whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Progressive, Slate and Areo Magazine, among other places. He holds a BA in Political Science and History from Boston University.