Former President Donald Trump published two posts on his Twitter-knockoff app Truth Social on Thursday indicating that he is extremely agitated about the criminal investigation into his infamous post-2020 election scheme to strongarm Georgia's Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to "find" nonexistent votes.
Trump called Raffensperger twice after victory was declared for President Joe Biden and strongly urged Raffensperger to, somehow, scrounge up 11,780 ballots – one more than the margin of Trump's upset loss to Biden – so that he could be awarded the Peach State's 16 Electoral College votes. It was one of, if not the most, glaring example of Trump's efforts to manipulate the results of the presidential contest.
Last month, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis convened a grand jury to determine whether Trump had engaged in "the solicitation of election fraud, making of false statements to state and local governmental bodies, conspiracy, racketeering, and violation of oath of office," all of which are felonies that carry severe penalties.
On Tuesday, subpoenas were served to seven Trump World confederates: Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who also phoned Raffensperger on behalf of the brooding soon-to-be-ex-commander in chief; Trump's television attorney Rudy Giuliani and his associate Jenna Ellis; coup architect John Eastman (who was behind the coordinated campaign to send fraudulent slates of electors to Washington from multiple swing states that Trump lost); as well as three lesser-known lawyers – Jacki Pick Deason, Kenneth Chesebro, and Cleta Mitchell – the latter of whom was present for Trump's clandestine chat with Raffensperger.
"During the telephone call, the witness and others made allegations of widespread voter fraud in the November 2020 election in Georgia and pressured Secretary Raffensperger to take action in his official capacity to investigate unfounded claims of fraud," Mitchell's subpoena says.
On Wednesday, Willis indicated that subpoenaing Trump himself is a real possibility and that more of his allies are in her sights.
"Anything's possible," Willis told NBC News while stressing that nothing is being rushed or overlooked. "We'll just have to see where the investigation leads us. I think that people thought that we came into this as some kind of game. This is not a game at all. What I am doing is very serious. It's very important work. And we're going to do our due diligence and making sure that we look at all aspects of the case."
These developments are having a noticeably negative impact on Trump's psyche.
On Thursday morning, Trump defended his exhortative conversations with Raffensperger and repeated his Big Lie that the election was a hoax.
"BOTH of my phone calls to Georgia were PERFECT. I had an absolute right to make them &, in fact, the story on the one call was given a retraction, or apology, by the Washington Post because they were given terribly false information about it, & when they heard the actual call, they realized that their story was wrong. Thank you to the W.P. I, as does anyone else (just look at the Democrats!), have the absolute right to challenge the results of an Election," Trump wrote on Truth Social. "This one, CORRUPT, RIGGED, & STOLEN!"
The Washington Post article mentioned by Trump was not what he is making it out to be.
On March 16, 2021, the paper corrected a couple of misquotes that it had printed. It did not, as Trump claimed, promulgate "terribly false information" or perpetuate misleading data about the 2020 election.
Correspondent Erik Wemple noted that "in a time of much-overblown chatter about election irregularities, this call between the president of the United States and a state-level investigator was the real irregularity." What mattered, Wemple continued, was that "the call happened; it was an abuse of presidential authority; and it failed to corrupt the investigators working under Raffensperger. But Trump wasn't quite the plain-spoken rogue depicted in The Post's story."
Nevertheless, an hour after his first Thursday rant, Trump baselessly accused unspecified "others" of screwing him out of a second term.
"I did NOTHING wrong in Georgia, but others did," Trump seethed. "They CHEATED in the 2020 Presidential Election, and those are the ones that should be investigated (and prosecuted)! Letter to follow."
Meanwhile, the fallout from Trump going down to Georgia looking for 11,780 votes to steal is compounded by the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol, whose seventh public hearing is scheduled for next Tuesday at 10:00 a.m.
Its theme, according to the bipartisan panel's announcement on Wednesday, will be the suspected coordination between Team Trump and white nationalist groups such as the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers in the leadup to the violent insurrection.