Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger will be interviewed by investigators from the office of special counsel Jack Smith on Wednesday in Atlanta, his office confirmed to NBC News.
Raffensperger’s interview with the special counsel’s office will be his first with the Justice Department. Smith was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland last year to oversee the Justice Department’s investigation into former President Donald Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Smith subpoenaed Raffensperger in December to obtain documents, but not to appear or testify in person, a source familiar with the matter told NBC News at the time.
He Washington Post was the first to report on Raffensperger’s upcoming interview with the special council investigators. Raffensperger’s office declined to provide additional comment to NBC News.
During a now infamous phone call days before the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, Trump demanded that Raffensperger «find» nearly 12,000 votes to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in battleground status. The then president told Raffensperger: “All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.»
Georgia reaffirmed Biden’s victory repeatedly after the November 2020 presidential election.
The special counsel’s office also subpoenaed local officials in key presidential states late last year for communications involving Trump, his campaign, aides and allies who helped him in his effort to overturn the 2020 election.
Raffensperger’s appearance before the special counsel’s office also comes amid an investigation in Georgia into whether Trump acted illegally when he asked Raffensperger to «find» the votes he needed to win the state in 2020. Raffensperger testified last year. before a special grand jury appointed by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to help investigate possible election interference by Trump and his allies.
Willis indicated that the charges in the Trump election investigation could be filed as soon as early August. The special grand jury appointed by Willis recommended indicting more than a dozen people, Emily Kohrs, the foreperson of the jury, said on NBC News’ «Nightly News» in February. A number of «false voters» — people who signed a certificate falsely stating that Trump had won Georgia in the 2020 election and that they themselves were the official electors of the state — also reached immunity agreements with Willis’s office, according to court documents.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing in the case. In a filing in March, his lawyers argued that all evidence gathered by the grand jury should be found unconstitutional and that Willis should be «disqualified from further investigating and/or prosecuting this matter.» Willis’s office responded in a filing last month, saying Trump’s requests should be dismissed because they «lack merit.»
In addition, Raffensperger previously testified before the House committee that investigated the attack on the Capitol on January 6 in the last Congress.
“There were no votes to find,” he publicly testified before the committee. «That was an accurate count that had been certified.»
Raffensperger testified that he and his family received threatening messages from across the country after the November 2020 presidential election. He said his wife received «sexualized» and «disgusting» text messages and that some people broke into his daughter-in-law’s house. , adding that she was a widow with two children.
Smith was also tapped to lead the criminal investigation into Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified documents. A federal grand jury indicted Trump this month on 37 counts related to keeping classified documents after he left office and allegedly hiding them from authorities. The charges come after more than 100 classified documents were discovered at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida last year. Trump pleaded not guilty to the charges in a Miami court.
zoe richards contributed.