Some Republicans in Washington and Georgia began attacking Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis immediately after she announced the Aug. 14 indictment of former President Donald Trump for conspiring to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. But others, including Gov. Brian Kemp, have been conspicuous in their unwillingness to pile on.
Kemp, who had previously survived scathing attacks from Trump over his refusal to endorse the former president’s false claims about the election, declined to comment on the indictment of Trump and 18 others at a conservative political conference hosted by radio host and Kemp ally Erick Erickson.
Noting that he had been called before a special grand jury to testify during the investigation, Kemp stated forcefully that Democratic President Joe Biden was the rightful winner of Georgia’s 16 electoral votes and said swinging the spotlight to Trump’s legal troubles would be a mistake.
“Democrats want us to be focused on things like this, so we’re not focused on Joe Biden’s record,” Kemp told Erickson on Aug. 18.
Trump, meanwhile, has kept up a withering assault on both Willis and Kemp.
“Governor Kemp of Georgia is fighting hard against the impeachment of the crooked, incompetent & highly partisan D.A. of Fulton County, Fani Willis, who has allowed murder and other violent crime to MASSIVELY ESCALATE,” the former president wrote Aug. 21 on his Truth Social platform. “Crime in Atlanta is WORST IN NATION. She should be impeached for many reasons, not just the Witch Hunt (I did nothing wrong!)”
There’s little evidence to support Trump’s claim that crime is escalating — the number of homicides has fallen sharply in Atlanta this year.
Georgia’s General Assembly hasn’t impeached anyone in more than 50 years, and with Republicans holding less than the required two-thirds state Senate majority to convict Willis, they would have to persuade Democrats.
Colton Moore, a Republican state senator whose purist brand of conservatism wins him few allies, launched a petition for lawmakers to call themselves into special session, requiring signatures by three-fifths of both houses. That too would require some Democratic support.
Georgia voters amended the state constitution to shift pardon power from the governor to a parole board in the 1940s after a governor was accused of selling pardons. It would take a two-thirds vote of both houses to put a measure before voters to change that status, again requiring Democratic support. [Continue reading…]