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If Fani Willis were filing her charges against Trump, et al., in Florida, she would likely have been fired by now by Gov DeSantis. She is completely outside her jurisdiction in filing charges against Trump and his associates in Fulton County. No crime was committed under county jurisdiction. (No crime was committed, period–as with all things Trump, comments were purposefully miscontrued in order to charge him, as occured with all of these other charges in all other venues, from the Russia collusion hoax originating from a misconstrued comment by Papadopoulus by an Australian diplomat, to Trump’s comments to Zelensky, to his comments on Jan 6, etc.) Events transpired in the State House and the Governor’s office.
State jurisdiction, at a minimum, and far more appropriately federal jurisdiction (if one can call absolute disregard of the First Amendment appropriate), is the venue for such charges. And when Jim Jordan starts investigating her, and she goes ballistic, claiming interference in a criminal case. Jordan should have replied that she is patently attempting to interfere with a federal election, held her in contempt, and referred her for criminal charges. She is attempting to locally criminalize federal political speech and illegally influence an election.
Gov. Kemp, despite calls from a Georgia Republican legislator to immediately impeach Willis, stands four-square behind her. And it’s pretty clear why (at least to me): anti-Trump animus in the governor’s office. Kemp appears to be channeling the McConnell/Boehner/Ryan/Romney anti-Trump wing of the Republican Party. In my view, this is because he has aspirations toward the US Senate when his second term as governor is complete. He appears to be courting the support of Mitch and Co. in a soon-to-come bid for the Senate. The sighting of Kemp with John Boehner at a strategy retreat gives credence to such a perspective. In Georgia, that is the standard position among Republican elites.
Further, I’m sure Kemp thinks he will be better positioned for such a run against a Democrat (Ossoff) in 2026 than he would have been against a Republican incumbent (like David Perdue, who was a strong Trump ally in the Senate). So there was no love lost when David Perdue lost to Ossoff in 2020/21. Everyone blamed Trump for that loss, but it would appear that Kemp likely benefitted from it personally and politically, particularly if he does run for the Senate.
Any love that might have been lost was forfeited when Perdue attempted a primary challenge to Kemp in 2022. Kemp completely undercut Perdue in that race by 1) appointing Sonny Perdue (David’s cousin and erstwhile supporter, former Governor, Senator, and Trump Agriculture Secretary) as President of UGA and 2) visiting potential Perdue donors and “convincing” (coercing, threatening?) them not to fund Perdue’s campaign. My wife observed during the Primary in 2022 that Perdue ran virtually no ads and she kept wondering why. No money, it would seem. Trump endorsed Perdue but didn’t apparently didn’t support him in terms of drumming up contributions for his campaign. I suspect Kemp also pointed out to donors that he had beat Stacy Abrams, but Perdue as a sitting Senator had lost to Ossoff, a political newcomer. Nothing succeeds in politics like success. And nothing fails in Georgia like an endorsement from Trump.
Among Georgia elite Republican circles (I can’t speak to Marjorie Taylor Green’s House district), I don’t think Perdue’s support of Trump while in the Senate was popular, and Georgia Republicans generally were not nonplussed at Perdue’s defeat by Ossoff; one suspects many were pleased with it.
Concerning that victory in 2018 against Stacey Abrams: That was the first time in Georgia history, I believe, in which an incumbent Secretary of State was running for Governor and overseeing his own election. Karen Handel had preceded Kemp as Secretary of State, and, in a dignified move, resigned as Secretary of State to run for Governor against Nathan Deal in the primary, so there would be no accusations of conflict of interest. Nathan Deal then ran a scurrilous campaign in which he accused Handel of being soft on abortion. Handel happened to be one of the most solid anti-abortion advocates in the country. Anti-abortion alignment is a winning political issue in Georgia, and the Georgia politicians know it (including Kemp, who signed a six-week abortion limit bill). So Deal ran a mendacious campaign and prevailed.
(Nathan Deal is always identified as a Republican, but he was a Democrat, elected to Congress as a Democrat. When did he become a Republican? In 1995, after Gingrich led the Republican House to a massive election sweep and retook the House for Republicans after 40 years in the wilderness. Then and only then did Deal switch sides. Any way the wind blows for him. He left Congress “to run for Governor.” In actuality, he resigned his Congressional seat about 20 minutes before the House Ethics Committee was to issue an action against him for false income reporting and campaign funding violations. We now see press comments to the effect that rulings against Trump associates under indictment in Fulton County are made by a judge appointed by Republican Governor Nathan Deal. Right. Never mind that Deal was a Democrat, and a particularly odious politician, which is saying something.)
Sonny Perdue appointed Brian Kemp as Secretary of State in 2008, when Karen Handel resigned to run for Governor. Kemp clearly learned the lesson of that campaign: If you are Secretary of State, do not resign your position to run for Governor; the results are not pretty. One wonders if Kemp did anything as Secretary of State to facilitate Deal’s win. Brad Raffesperger, I’m sure, currently harbors gubernatorial aspirations. Don’t expect his resignation as Secretary of State for that 2026 campaign.
The question now is whether the backing of Fani Willis will be fatal for the political aspirations of both men. Hard to tell.
In his 2018 Gubernatorial run from the position of Secretary of State, Kemp did a number of unusual things. He “cleaned up” Georgia voter rolls like they have never been cleaned up before or since. His actions affected some 10% of Georgia voters. Minorities hardest hit. Just doing his job. His activities fueled Stacy Abrams’ charges of election fraud. Kemp prevailed. By a small margin of about 1.4%. Barely.
In the 2020 election, no effort at all was made to clean voter rolls. To the contrary, as is well-known, Raffesperger signed a consent decree forgoing signature verification, with no input from the Legislature; allowed ballot drop boxes (which were supposed to be monitored by security cameras, but that appears to have occurred only rarely, particularly in Fulton County) that was never addressed by the Legislature. Some counties allowed family members to drop off ballots in ballot boxes, and it appears that others did not, a situation ripe for ballot harvesting fraud and not sanctioned by the Legislature. Lawsuits are flying regarding the film 2,000 Mules and an innocent voter in Gwinnett County who dropped off ballots for “all of his adult children.” Right.
Raffesperger allowed ballots from drop boxes to be opened and processed before election day, something not allowed in Georgia election law.
In short, election procedures in place by the Legislature were ignored with impunity due to the COVID emergency. The 1864 election during the Civil War was better run than the Georgia election of 2020, compromised by COVID.
So now we see mass indictments from the heated rhetoric of the 2020 election and its aftermath. If Kemp and Raffesperger are called to testify, one can only wonder what will happen. Will they be able to avoid testifying?
Cleta Mitchell, one of the most experienced Republican election lawyers, and one of the most excoriated by the Left, claims that she had identified 50,000 invalid votes, and, further, that Kemp himself blocked her from presenting her evidence in court. Andrew Klavan says he has read the briefs and the evidence isn’t there. Who does one believe?
Those most insightful about the 2020 election on the Republican side say whether the election was fraudulent or not will never be known. Unlike the Johnson 1948 Primary victory in his Senate race in Texas, which was clearly fraudulent, but challenges to which the courts, including the Supreme Court, refused to intervene. (Thanks in no small part to the corrupt Abe Fortas, who was Johnson’s lawyer in that challenge, and whom Johnson then put on the Supreme Court, but over reached and tried to appoint as Chief Justice, at which point his background was examined and he wound up resigning from the Court entirely due to past corruption).
Will Cleta Mitchell, who was not among the indictees, be called to testify? Will Lindsay Graham, not indicted, be called?
Of course, in Fulton Country, none of these can get a fair trial. It is obviously all political. The Proud Boys stood a better chance of acquittal in Washington DC than Trump and his co-defendants in Fulton Country. Never mind the strange irregularities with the Grand Jury, and the timing and errors in issuing of the indictments. Will Jim Jordan succeed in his investigation of influencing the outcome by showing political connections with the White House or Garland’s DOJ?
As Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s CIA analyst character in Charlie Wilson’s War asked: “What comes next?”
And one thing seems predictable (although I always seem to be wrong on my predictions): No one convicted in Fulton County will get a gubernatorial pardon if Raffesperger succeeds Kemp in the governor’s mansion.
If there was fraud in the Georgia 2020 election, the epicenter of that fraud was Fulton County. So, as with all things Democrats vs. Trump, these indictments appear to serve (in addition to election manipulation) as a distraction from the fraud Democrats commit, while accusing Trump of the type of fraud that Democrats themselves are pursuing.
So it appears that the election irregularities of 2020 were a mere prelude to now far greater election manipulation than ever conceived as possible in America.Published in