Senator Lindsey Graham will not comply with subpoena in Georgia election probe

South Carolina senator’s attorneys claim he cannot be compelled to testify before the grand jury became of limited immunity granted to members of the House and Senate

Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger talks about the phone call he got from Trump

Attorneys for Senator Lindsey Graham say he will not comply with a subpoena issued to him as part of a Fulton County, Georgia grand jury investigation into former president Donald Trump’s push to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory in the Peach State.

In a statement provided to The Independent, attorneys Bart Daniel and Matt Austin say Fulton County investigators have told them Mr Graham is “simply a witness” and “neither a subject nor target of the investigation” but dismissed the investigation being overseen by Fulton County DA Fani Willis as “all politics”.

The attorneys further accused Ms Willis of conducting a “fishing expedition” and “working in concert with the January 6 Committee in Washington”.

“Any information from an interview or deposition with Senator Graham would immediately be shared with the January 6 Committee,” the attorneys said, though they offered no evidence to support their claims. By law, grand jury investigations are considered secret and prosecutors can face heavy penalties if they disclose information under unauthorised circumstances.

“Senator Graham was well within his rights to discuss with state officials the processes and procedures around administering elections,” they said. “Should it stand, the subpoena issued today would erode the constitutional balance of power and the ability of a Member of Congress to do their job”.

They added that Mr Graham “plans to go to court, challenge the subpoena and expects to prevail”.

It’s unclear on what grounds Mr Graham could challenge the grand jury subpoena, which was approved by a Georgia judge who found that Mr Graham made a December 2020 phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, during which the South Carolina senator asked Georgia’s top elections official about “reexamining certain absentee ballots cast in Georgia in order to explore the possibility of a more favorable outcome” for Mr Trump, the first Republican candidate to lose the Peach State’s electoral votes since then-Arkansas governor Bill Clinton defeated George HW Bush in the 1992 presidential election.

Although the US Constitution’s “speech or debate” clause — which says members of the House and Senate “shall not be questioned in any other place” for “for any speech or debate in either house” — has been interpreted to give members and their staff immunity from prosecution or civil lawsuits for acts undertaken as part of their official duties, Mr Graham’s call to Mr Raffensperger was not made in any official capacity.

Spokespersons for Ms Willis and for the House January 6 select committee did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Independent.

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