Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks during a news conference in response to President Joe Bidens decision to tug all American troops out of Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 2021, on Capitol Hill on 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 quash a subpoena for his testimony issued by a Georgia grand jury investigating possible criminal interference in that state’s 2020 election by former President Donald Trump.
Graham’s move in U.S. District Court in South Carolina got here after a judge in Atlanta signed the Fulton County, Georgia, special grand jury’s subpoena to the Republican lawmaker on Monday.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney ordered that Graham, an in depth ally of Trump, would must testify on Aug. 2 before the grand jury. That 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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Within the 13-page motion asking a federal court judge to quash the subpoena, Graham’s lawyers wrote, “the Structure’s Speech or Debate Clause protects him from this legal process,” and that “sovereign immunity prohibits enforcement of the state court process on him as a federal officer.”
The attorneys also argued that “no extraordinary circumstances exist for compelling his testimony.”
Graham said in an announcement, “What I’m attempting to do is do my day job. If we open up county prosecutors with the ability to call every member of the Senate based on some investigation they think is sweet for the country, we’re opening Pandora’s Box.
Shortly after the motion became public, Judge Henry Herlong Jr. in South Carolina federal court issued an order staying execution of the subpoena pending further order by the court. The judge also scheduled a hearing on the motion for July 20.
The subpoena issued to Graham on July 5 says that he made at the least two calls to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his staff about “reexamining certain absentee ballots solid in Georgia in an effort to explore the potential of a more favorable consequence for former President Donald Trump.”
Graham’s attorneys last week said that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who’s conducting the investigation of Trump, has told them that he’s “neither a subject nor goal of the investigation, simply a witness.” Willis requested the subpoenas for Graham and other Trump allies from the grand jury.
Of their motion, Graham’s lawyers wrote, “The District Attorney’s attempts to compel Senator Graham to look are an abuse of process. Her attempts to force Senator Graham to travel to Georgia for seven weeks throughout the middle of the Senate session is a gross overreach, especially given the immunity and privilege provided by the Speech or Debate Clause, and sovereign immunity.”
CNBC has requested comment from Graham’s lawyers and the DA’s office.
The identical grand jury that has subpoenaed Graham also issued subpoenas demanding testimony from Rudy Giuliani, the lawyer who lead Trump’s legal efforts to overturn Biden’s election win, and other attorneys who assisted Giuliani in that work.
Trump is thought to have called Raffensperger on Jan. 2, 2021, two days before Biden’s victory was because of be certified by Congress.
In that decision Trump urged Raffensperger to “find” him enough votes to overturn Biden’s win in Georgia.
“All I need to do is that this: I just want to search out 11,780 votes,” Trump told him.
Trump’s team was looking for to flip his losses in the favored vote in Georgia and a number of other other swing states won by the Democrat Biden in an effort to cancel out Biden’s margin of victory within the Electoral College.