Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger will be interviewed by investigators from special counsel Jack Smith’s office Wednesday in Atlanta, his office confirmed to NBC News.
Raffensperger’s interview with the special counsel’s office will be his first with the Justice Department. Smith was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland last year to oversee the Justice Department’s investigation into former President Donald Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Smith subpoenaed Raffensperger in December for documents but not for him to appear or testify in person, a source familiar with the matter told NBC News at the time.
The Washington Post was the first to report Raffensperger’s upcoming interview with special counsel investigators. Raffensperger’s office declined to provide additional comment to NBC News.
During a now-infamous phone call days before the Capitol attack on Jan. 6, 2021, Trump demanded Raffensperger to “find” almost 12,000 votes to reverse Joe Biden’s victory in the battleground state. The then-president told Raffensperger: “All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.”
The special counsel’s office also subpoenaed local officials in key presidential swing states late last year for communications involving Trump, his campaign, aides and allies who assisted in his effort to overturn the 2020 election.
Raffensperger’s appearance before the special counsel’s office also comes amid an investigation in Georgia over whether Trump acted unlawfully when he asked Raffensperger to “find” the votes he needed to win the state in 2020. Raffensperger last year testified in front of a special grand jury appointed by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to help investigate possible election interference by Trump and his allies.
Willis indicated that charges in the Trump election probe could come as soon as early August. The special grand jury tapped by Willis recommended indicting more than a dozen people, Emily Kohrs, the jury foreperson, said on NBC News’ “Nightly News” in February. A number of “fake electors” — people who signed a certificate falsely declaring that Trump had won Georgia in the 2020 election and themselves as the state’s official electors — have also struck immunity deals with Willis’ office, according to court filings.
Trump has denied wrongdoing in the case. In a filing in March, his lawyers argued that all the evidence gathered by the grand jury should be deemed unconstitutional and that Willis should be “disqualified from further investigation and/or prosecution of this matter.” Willis’ office responded in a filing last month, saying Trump’s requests should be dismissed because they “lack merit.”
Additionally, Raffensperger previously testified before the House committee that investigated the Jan. 6 Capitol attack in the last Congress.
“There were no votes to find,” he publicly testified to the committee. “That was an accurate count that had been certified.”
Raffensperger testified that he and his family received threatening messages from all over the country after the November 2020 presidential election. He said that his wife received “sexualized” and “disgusting” texts and that some people broke into his daughter-in-law’s home, adding that she was a widow with two children.
Smith was also tapped to lead the criminal probe of Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified documents. A federal grand jury indicted Trump this month on 37-counts related to keeping classified documents after he left office and allegedly hiding them from authorities. The charges come after more than 100 classified documents were uncovered at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida last year. Trump pleaded not guilty to the charges in a Miami courthouse.