• Tue. Jul 16th, 2024

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp contacted by Justice Department special counsel in 2020 election probe

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp contacted by Justice Department special counsel in 2020 election probe


Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith’s team has contacted Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, whom former President Donald Trump pressured to overturn the 2020 election, a Kemp official told CNN.

“I can confirm our office has been contacted by Jack Smith’s office, but we will decline to comment further at this time,” Andrew Isenhour, a spokesman for the Republican governor, said in a statement.

Smith’s team contacted Kemp’s office this week, according to a person familiar with the outreach.

The Washington Post was first to report Smith’s reach-out to Kemp.

Trump pushed Kemp to overturn the 2020 presidential election result in Georgia after he narrowly lost the state to Democrat Joe Biden. After Kemp refused, Trump tried to sink the governor’s reelection efforts by recruiting a challenger in the 2022 GOP gubernatorial primary. Kemp was reelected despite Trump’s efforts.

“He was mad at me. I was not mad at him. I told him exactly what I could and couldn’t do when it came to the election, and I followed the law and the Constitution. And as I’ve said before, that’s a lot bigger than Donald Trump. It’s a lot bigger than me. It’s a lot bigger than the Republican Party,” Kemp told CNN earlier this week.

Smith’s investigators have also recently contacted former Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, whom Trump pressured to overturn the election after losing that state in 2020 as well.

Federal investigators are focused on Trump’s efforts and those of his top lawyers as they organized fake electors to submit votes to Congress on his behalf and sought to sway then-Vice President Mike Pence into blocking the election result certification.

Trump received a target letter in Smith’s investigation last Sunday, and his team is now bracing for an indictment in the case.

The target letter cites three statutes that Trump could be charged with: pertaining to deprivation of rights; conspiracy to commit an offense against or defraud the United States; and tampering with a witness, according to multiple news outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, that cited a person familiar with the matter.

The Justice Department has been known in the investigation to be examining possible violations of the law around conspiracy and obstruction of the congressional proceeding on January 6, which is part of the witness tampering law, CNN previously reported following a Justice Department search of a Trump administration adviser’s home.

Back in November, Kemp provided testimony in the separate investigation by Atlanta-based state prosecutors into Trump’s attempts to overturn the election in Georgia. Kemp appeared before the special grand jury in Fulton County for roughly three hours. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has indicated that charging decisions could come in the next few weeks.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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