The Georgia prosecutor probing possible 2020 election interference by former President Donald Trump asked the FBI on Sunday for security assistance after Trump called for mass protests in some cities where his conduct is under investigation.
In a Jan. 30 letter to the special agent in charge of the FBI's Atlanta field office, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis noted that her office is "conducting a criminal investigation of former President Donald J. Trump and his associates regarding alleged attempts to improperly influence the administration of Georgia’s 2020 General Election," and that she has convened a special grand jury to hear evidence in the case in May.
She asked that the federal law enforcement agency "conduct a risk assessment of the Fulton County Courthouse and Government Center, and that you provide protective resources to include intelligence and federal agents."
"We must work together to keep the public safe and ensure that we do not have a tragedy in Atlanta similar to what happened at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021," she wrote. "My staff and | will not be influenced or intimidated by anyone as this investigation moves forward."
The request came after Trump held a campaign-style rally Saturday in Conroe, Texas, where he repeatedly attacked the prosecutors who've been investigating him as "racist."
"If these radical, vicious, racist prosecutors do anything wrong or illegal, I hope we are going to have in this country the biggest protest we have ever had in Washington, D.C., in New York, in Atlanta and elsewhere, because our country and our elections are corrupt," Trump said at the rally, before segueing into the "unfair" treatment of those who've been charged with storming the Capitol in his name on Jan. 6.
"If I run and if I win, we will treat those people from Jan. 6 fairly. We will treat them fairly, and if it requires pardons we will give them pardons because they are being treated so unfairly," Trump said.
More than 700 people have been charged with federal crimes in connection with the Capitol riot, which was carried out by a pro-Trump mob that had been called to Washington by the president to protest his loss to President Joe Biden.
Willis wrote that Trump's call to protest Saturday was made "more alarming in light of his statements at the same event regarding those convicted of crimes, including violence, for actions at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021."
In a statement, the FBI field office said the agency “supports our state, local, and federal law enforcement partners with maintaining public safety in the communities we serve."
"As we do in the normal course of business, we are gathering information to identify any potential threats and are sharing that information with our partners," the statement said.
Trump's office did not respond to a request for comment.
While Trump has often called the investigations into him in Georgia, New York and Washington as politically motivated "witch hunts," his repeated references Saturday to prosecutors being "racist" was a new addition to his rhetoric and comes after Alvin Bragg, who's Black, was sworn in as Manhattan district attorney this month.
Bragg is investigating allegations of financial fraud at Trump's company, an investigation he inherited from his predecessor, Cyrus Vance, Jr., who is white. Trump's company is also the subject of civil probe by New York Attorney General Letitia James. In Washington, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chairs the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, which includes examining Trump's role in the attack.
James, Thompson and Willis, the Fulton County district attorney, are all Black.
In an interview with The Associated Press this month, Willis said the investigation is looking into a phone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Jan. 2, 2021; a phone call between Raffensperger and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., in November 2020; the abrupt resignation of the U.S. attorney in Atlanta on Jan. 4, 2021; and comments made during legislative committee hearings about the election in December 2020.
Trump had urged Raffensperger, the state's top elections official, "to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state."
Legal experts have said the call might have violated federal and state election laws but that it could be a difficult case to prosecute.
Trump defended the call at his Jan. 6, 2021, rally ahead of his supporters' deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol.
"I thought it was a great conversation, personally," Trump said then.