Trump allies launch efforts to recall Fulton County DA Fannie Willis

Trump allies launch efforts to recall Fulton County DA Fannie Willis

Trump allies launch efforts to recall Fulton County DA Fannie Willis

Allies of Donald Trump in Georgia are mounting a campaign to impeach Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis over her investigation into the then-president’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election and are seeking to recruit high-dollar donors to fund it, according to known sources. with the effort.

Campaign organizers admit the hurdles for a successful recall in Georgia are high, making the chances of getting a recall vote on the ballot before Willis decides whether to indict Trump and his associates at best.

But a source involved in the effort told Yahoo News that the goal is to use the recall campaign as a way to politically damage the Democratic district attorney by portraying her as a partisan actor who is ignoring Atlanta’s rising crime rates to target high-profile figures. Republicans. A side benefit of that game plan, another source familiar with the campaign said, is to potentially influence a jury later in the event a case against Trump goes to trial.

“The point is to politicize it,” said a senior Georgia Republican involved in the recall effort, who asked not to be publicly identified discussing a politically sensitive issue. “The message here is, ‘OK, you [Willis] he wants to play this [political] game, we’re going to do this for politics.”

This source, who is helping to raise money for the effort, said Trump and his associates at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida are “aware” of the recall campaign and that among those actively involved in the effort is David Shafer, the chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, and Brad Carver, a prominent GOP attorney in the state. Both men are among 16 so-called fraudulent voters in Georgia who recently received targeted letters from Willis informing them they faced possible charges in her investigation.

Former President Donald Trump holds a microphone as he speaks.

Former President Donald Trump addresses the crowd at the Bedminster Invitational LIV golf tournament in Bedminster, New York on July 30. (Seth Wenig/AP)

Among the donors organizers are talking to about possible funding for the recall campaign is Bernard Marcus, the Home Depot co-founder and strong Trump supporter who is widely considered the richest man in the state. Marcus could not be reached for comment. Shafer and Carver did not respond to messages seeking comment for this article.

The recall campaign erupted into public view this week when Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., retweeted a retraction message by Bill White, a pro-Trump activist from Buckhead, the affluent, predominantly white section of Atlanta. “Fulton County is using Fulton County taxpayer money for their own personal political witch hunt against Ambassador Trump, but will NOT prosecute the crime that plagues Atlanta! Atlanta has WORSE crime than Chicago! RECALL!!!” Green wrote.

Reached for comment, Willis’ communications director said, “The district attorney investigates and prosecutes crime in Fulton County without fear or favor, as she promised voters when she ran for office in 2020. People have a right to express their opinions. their views on the work he does and is happy to discuss with constituents why it is important that everyone is treated equally under the law.”

The recall effort comes at a critical stage in Willis’ fast-moving investigation. He is currently fighting legal battles over the appearances of Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-Ga., Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., and GOP lawmakers who participated in the by-election program — all of whom have been subpoenaed by Willis but have filed legal challenges. objections to their filing. In addition, Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s chief campaign lawyer, has been subpoenaed to testify before a special grand jury next week. Assuming he does appear, Giuliani is expected to object to answering key questions on the basis of attorney-client privilege, potentially leading to a separate, in camera hearing before a state judge.

But even as her investigation accelerates and appears to be moving much faster than the US Department of Justice’s own investigation, Willis has also faced setbacks. In a ruling last week, Fulton County Chief Judge Robert McBurney blocked her and her office from questioning a subpoenaed witness, Republican state Sen. Burt Jones, who is the GOP candidate for lieutenant governor, because Willis had previously co-sponsored a primary fundraiser for Charlie Bailey, now the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor. “This scenario creates a simple — and real and unfounded — conflict,” McBurney wrote.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis stands among tall stacks of cardboard boxes.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. (John Bazemore, File/AP)

In pursuing a recall campaign against Willis, Trump allies are borrowing a page from the playbook of activists who have called for recall campaigns against progressive prosecutors in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Philadelphia. (The recall effort against San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin recently succeeded.) But any campaign in Georgia faces extremely high hurdles under the state’s recall law. Impeachments are allowed only for specific offenses, including acts of trespass or misconduct in office, violation of an official’s oath, failure to perform duties “prescribed by law,” and willful misuse of public funds or property. In addition, the law requires recall advocates to gather signatures equal to 30% of registered voters in the office holder’s jurisdiction. In 2020, there were 806,451 registered voters in Fulton County. That means recall organizers would need to gather more than 240,000 signatures to get Willis on the ballot.

Chris Hutman, a Democratic political consultant who polled Willis’ 2020 DA campaign, noted that Trump received 137,247 votes (or 17% of the total) in Fulton County that year. “That means even if every Trump voter in Fulton County signed the petition [for recall]they would still have to go out and get another 100,000 signatures.”

Ironically, and in stark contrast to progressive DAs in other cities facing recall, Willis was supported by the police union in her fight against incumbent DA Paul Howard and campaigned on a platform of more aggressive prosecution of violent crimes.

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