We've been hearing cries of "banana republic" for more than a week now, ever since the FBI executed a search warrant at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence, looking for classified documents.
But those shouts seem better directed at the chaos in Georgia, where the widening election interference investigation is focusing on the Trump team's extensive efforts to overturn the 2020 results in the state. Key members of his legal team have been subpoenaed, as has Republican ally Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
Rudy Giuliani, who served as Trump's personal lawyer and was one of the loudest voices wrongly arguing the election was flawed, faced hours of questioning Wednesday before a special grand jury in Atlanta. He declined to comment on the day's proceedings.
The background: How Giuliani got here
Giuliani was called to testify about a December 2020 visit to a Georgia Senate hearing, where the former mayor of New York City made a number of claims that either lacked evidence or were outright misleading or false, including allegations that Georgia ballots were altered. Giuliani also ignored a hand-count audit that confirmed President Joe Biden's victory in the state.
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According to reports of the Georgia Senate hearing, Giuliani also claimed that about 65,000 underage voters, over 2,500 felons and 800 dead people voted in the state. Georgia's secretary of state quickly debunked the claims: There were no underage voters, 74 potential felony voters and only two votes that might have been improperly cast in the name of dead voters.
Hardly a case for electoral fraud. But Giuliani and friends powered on anyway.
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The case for a transparent democracy
Georgia's criminal investigation led by District Attorney Fani Willis is separate from the civil defamation suits filed against Giuliani and Sidney Powell, another Trump attorney, by the maker of the vote counting machines used in the 2020 election.
Everyone who participated in attempts to defraud the American people of their elected president, Joe Biden, should be held criminally and civilly liable for their actions.
And it's a good time to remember that without a strong, transparent democracy our economy is doomed to fail, regardless.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Giuliani testifies before Ga. grand jury in election investigation