Sen. Lindsey Graham (RS.C.) testified Nov. 22 before a grand jury in Atlanta investigating the 2020 election.
Graham’s appearance came after a concerted effort by the South Carolina Republican to avoid taking a stand in an investigation into the role President Donald Trump’s allies may have played in an alleged attempt to overturn the results of the state’s 2020 presidential election.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis launched the investigation after a phone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger was leaked to the press.
Graham’s office confirmed that Graham had taken a position in the investigation.
“Today, Senator Graham appeared before the Fulton County Special Grand Jury for a little over two hours and answered all questions,” Graham’s office said in a statement. “The senator feels he is being treated with respect, professionalism and courtesy. Out of respect for the grand jury process, he will not comment on the content of the questions.”
The details of Graham’s testimony have not yet been released.
Graham succeeded Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who took the stand earlier this month after successfully winning re-election over Democrat Stacey Abrams.
In preparation for the midterms, investigations recently stalled.
However, Willis’ request for a subpoena from Graham was granted back in July. There was a delay when Graham fought the subpoena in court.
The US Supreme Court ruled on November 1 that Graham must testify.
Graham had argued that he could not be subpoenaed as part of the investigation because of the constitution’s “speech and debate” clause, which affords sitting members of Congress some protection.
The nation’s top court upheld an appeals court ruling that found Graham could not be questioned on actions related to the determination of legislative facts, but said he could be questioned on other matters.
Graham’s statement comes as Democrats and Republicans continue to argue over how to quantify Trump’s role in the 2020 election.
Democrats, particularly on the Jan. 6 committee of the House of Representatives, have claimed Trump made a concerted effort to overthrow the 2020 election. According to her account, that effort culminated in the Capitol breach in 2021.
After the 2020 election, as Trump tried to figure out how to proceed with his allegations of widespread voter fraud, several attorneys in Trump’s inner circle backed a push to refuse to certify electoral lists from states where voter fraud concerns were greatest widespread.
This position stated that after the 12th Amendment, Vice President Mike Pence had the power to reject some electoral lists.
The argument, defended most vigorously by Trump’s attorney and ally John Eastman, put Eastman in the sights of the Democrat-dominated House Committee on Jan. 6 and, more recently, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.
Eastman had to testify in September.
Willis, a Democrat, has in the past requested testimony from other Trump allies, including former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and ex-campaign attorney Sidney Powell, as part of an investigation into the 2020 election.
In a court filing at the time, Willis defended her investigation, citing its relevance to Georgia (pdf). Specifically, she cited meetings between Meadows and other Trump allies to discuss “allegations of voter fraud and the certification of electoral college votes from Georgia and other states.”
Willis has been working with the grand jury to investigate attempts by Trump and a number of his allies to persuade Georgia officials to investigate possible fraud after the 2020 election.
She asked the grand jury for help with the investigation, which she says is based on information indicating “a reasonable probability” that the Georgia election “was subject to possible criminal interference.”
Willis says the investigation is based on a “multi-state, coordinated plan by the Trump campaign to influence the outcome of the November 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere,” echoing similar statements by the Congressional panel Jan. 6.
After Eastman’s testimony to the investigation, Eastman’s attorneys called the effort “unprecedented” and urged observers “of any political persuasion” to condemn it.
“All indications are that prosecutors have embarked on an unprecedented journey to criminalize controversial or unpopular legal theories, possibly in the hope that the federal government will follow suit,” the attorneys wrote.
“The criminalization of unpopular legal theories goes against every American tradition and would have ended the careers of John Adams, Ruth Ginsburg, Thurgood Marshall and many other American lawyers celebrated today,” they continued. “We ask all interested observers of any political persuasion to join us in denouncing this disturbing development.”
Like Kemp and Graham, Eastman tried to avoid cooperating with the investigation, but was later ordered to do so by order of a judge.
The January 6 panel in the House of Representatives is due to disband at the end of this Congress, but the Georgia investigation has been given the green light in a legal battle and is likely to continue into next year.