This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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Formal President Donald Trump faces his impeachment trial this week, but that is not the only legal jeopardy the 45th president may be in as his enemies look to pile on.
The Republican Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office has formally opened an investigation into the controversial phone call made by the former president to him, The Daily Mail reported.
“The Secretary of State’s office investigates complaints it receives,” Walter Jones, a spokesperson for the Secretary of State, said. “The investigations are fact-finding and administrative in nature. Any further legal efforts will be left to the Attorney General.”
The former president’s critics said that the call that was made on January 2 was evidence of him asking to have the results of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia changed.
The former president and his team said that he was simply looking to have the correct vote totals counted as he believed there were improprieties with the election.
“The people of Georgia are angry, the people in the country are angry,” Trump said on the phone call. “And there’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, um, that you’ve recalculated.”
“So look. All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” he said on the phone call. “Because we won the state.”
But if he believed at the time that there were votes missing then asking to find the missing votes would not be a crime.
That is not what his enemies think meant.
The secretary of state’s office investigation stems from a complaint by George Washington University Law School professor John Banzhaf III, according to the investigative case sheet.
In an emailed press release sent January 4, Banzhaf said he had filed a complaint with the secretary of state’s office requesting ‘that this matter be fully investigated, and action be taken to the extent appropriate.’
The complaint suggests Trump may have committed one or more violations of Georgia law, including conspiracy to commit election fraud, criminal solicitation to commit election fraud and intentional interference with the performance of election duties, the release says.
Investigators will present their findings to the state election board, which will then decide how to proceed.
If the board believes there’s evidence that a crime occurred, it could take action ranging from issuing a letter of reprimand to referring the case to Georgia’s attorney general.
If the case were criminally prosecuted former President Trump could face time in prison if convicted
The announcement comes on the day before the next impeachment trial of the former president and on Monday Senate Majority Leader and New York Sen. Charles Schumer came to an agreement with Senate Minority Leader and Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell on how to proceed.
“For the information of the Senate, the Republican leader and I, in consultation with both the House managers and Former President Trump’s lawyers, have agreed to a bipartisan resolution to govern the structure and timing of the impending trial,” the new Senate Majority Leader said speaking in the Senate chamber.
“All parties have agreed to a structure that will ensure a fair and honest Senate impeachment trial of the former president,” he said.
Senate Minority Leader McConnell what Sen. Schumer said, stating that the deal “preserves due process and the rights of both sides.”
“I’m pleased that Leader Schumer and I were able to reach an agreement on a fair process and estimated timeline for the upcoming Senate trial,” he said. “It will give senators as jurors ample time to receive the case and the arguments.”