When the Fulton County, Ga., district attorney, Fani Willis, filed criminal charges against Donald Trump and over a dozen of his allies for their attempt to overturn Georgia’s 2020 presidential election results, she did something ingenious.
In contrast to the special counsel Jack Smith’s latest laser-focused federal indictment of Mr. Trump, Ms. Willis charges a wide range of conspirators, from people in the Oval Office to low-level Georgia G.O.P. functionaries, and is the first to plumb the full depths, through a state-focused bathyscaph, of the conspiracy.
Her case also provides other important complements to the federal matter: Unlike Mr. Smith’s case, which will almost certainly not be broadcast because of federal standards, hers will almost certainly be televised, and should Mr. Trump or another Republican win the White House, Ms. Willis’s case cannot be immediately pardoned away. It offers transparency and accountability insurance. As she said in her news conference on Monday night, “The state’s role in this process is essential to the functioning of our democracy.”
But the indictment stands out, above all, because Georgia offers uniquely compelling evidence of election interference — and a set of state criminal statutes tailor-made for the sprawling, loosely organized wrongdoing that Mr. Trump and his co-conspirators are accused of engaging in. It is a reminder of the genius of American federalism: When our democracy is threatened, states have an indispensable part to play in protecting it. [Continue reading…]