WASHINGTON – Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham is challenging a subpoena from an Atlanta grand jury investigating whether former President Donald Trump interfered in the 2020 election, arguing that a legislative privilege shields him from such demands.
The South Carolina senator, in a motion to quash the Fulton County, Georgia subpoena, asserted that he was engaging in legitimate inquiries as a lawmaker when he contacted a Georgia official following the 2020 election.
The staunch Trump ally citied the Constitution's speech and debate clause, asserting that the provision "provides absolute protection against inquiry into Senator Graham’s legislative acts."
"Second, sovereign immunity prevents a local prosecutor from haling a U.S. senator to face a state ad hoc investigatory body," the challenge states, adding that Atlanta-area District Attorney Fani Willis, who is leading the investigation, has not provided the "extraordinary circumstances" necessary to compel the appearance of the federal lawmaker.
At least twice, Graham called the Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his staff weeks after the November 2020 election, trying to re-examine absentee ballots "to explore the possibility of a more favorable outcome for former President Donald Trump," according to court documents.
The Republican senator's legal team has argued that he was "well within his rights to discuss with state officials the processes and procedures around administering elections."
Graham was subpoenaed along with a number of high-profile Trump allies, including personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and attorney John Eastman, who devised the plan to gather alternate slates of electors to overturn President Joe Biden's election.
The Georgia criminal investigation is separate from a Justice Department inquiry and a special House committee's examination of events related to the Capitol assault.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Lindsey Graham challenges Georgia grand jury subpoena in Trump probe