Georgia officials are reacting to the news that former President Donald Trump has been indicted on 37 counts related to classified documents seized from his Florida home.
Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Mark Winne spoke to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]
A fateful phone call about the 2020 presidential election in Georgia involving then-President Trmp and Raffensperger seems destined to go down in history, so when word of the indictment hit, Raffensperger was one of the key people Winne wanted to talk to.
In a recorded telephone conversation, Trump asked Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to help him win the presidential nomination in the state in after the race had already been called for Pres. Joe Biden.
Raffensperger refused and was unyielding in his position that Trump lost the election in the state. Those phone calls, as well as other accusations of election interference in Georgia, are the subject of a separate investigation by the Fulton County District Attorney’s office.
On Saturday, Trump is expected to travel to Georgia to speak at the state’s Republican convention. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Raffensperger will not attend.
“When you run for public office and then when you actually are elected to elected office, I believe that we should be called to a higher standard,” Raffensperger said. And that’s what we’re looking for. People that do the right thing regardless of the cost. But you also need to do it with some grace.”
[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]
Still, Raffensperger said that no matter what former Trump may feel about him, he takes no joy in the federal indictment.
“I think that what we expect when people run for elected office is that they lead with integrity,” Raffensperger said. “They model their lives with character (and) honesty.”
Trump released a statement Thursday night proclaiming his innocence.
“I’m an innocent man. We will prove that again,” Trump said. “Seven years of proving it. And here we go again. Very unfair.”
According to the new indictment, as Trump left the White House, he caused scores of boxes, many of which contained classified documents, to be transported to the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, where he lives.
Trump was not authorized to possess or retain those classified documents.
Raffensperger said that while the substance of the new indictment is different than what a special purpose Fulton County Grand jury is investigating, there is a common thread in the allegations.
“I believe that the rule of law applies to everyone. So let this process work itself out,” Raffensperger said.
Raffensperger said his key guidepost in his time in office has come from sections of the Bible that apply to any leader, presidents included.
“I think Ephesians 220, says it all: Christ is our cornerstone,” Raffensperger said. “And then when I became the City Council member, I printed out Paul’s letter to Titus about how you appoint elders in every village and every town. A people should be beyond reproach with how their behavior should be.”
The Secretary of State said he believes it’s time for the Republican party to heal and move forward.
Raffensperger said he doesn’t know what to expect when Trump visits the state tomorrow.
“I can’t control what other people think,” Raffensperger said. “All I can do is control what I say and how I behave in public life.”
A spokesperson for the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office said the new federal indictment will not affect the case in Georgia.