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An attack on Fani Willis
“Some Republicans in Washington and Georgia have launched an attack on Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis right after announcing charges against former President Donald Trump on August 14 forpreparing a plan to rig the 2020 presidential election results. However, Governor Brian Kemp and others remained clearly reluctant to join in the onslaught.
Kemp, who had managed to avoid the sharp attacks from Trump by rejecting his baseless claims about the previous election, refused to comment on Trump and the charges against him, along with 18 others, at a conventional political conference hosted by radio host and Kemp supporter Erick Erickson.
With a special grand jury summoned to provide testimony during the investigation, Kemp firmly stated that the true winner of Georgia’s 16 electoral votes was the Democratic President-elect Joe Biden, and focusing on Trump’s legal troubles would be a mistake.
On August 18, Kemp told Erickson, ‘The Democrats want us to focus on things like this, so we are not focused on Biden’s record.'”
Meanwhile, Trump continued his strong attack on both Fani Willis and Kemp.”Governor Kemp of Georgia is crafty, ineffective, and incredibly biased against D.A. Fani Willis, who has allowed murders and other violent crimes to surge on a large scale,” the former President wrote on his Truth social media platform on August 21. Atlanta has the highest national crime rate. Many reasons to be having a major case against them, and not just a witch hunt (I did nothing wrong!)”
There is little evidence supporting Trump’s claims of rising crime to back his endorsement – this year, the number of homicides in Atlanta has significantly decreased.
Other Georgia Republicans did not hesitate to assail Fani Willis, with some joining Trump’s call for a major case against the District Attorney. Georgia Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene stated, “Fani Willis should be ashamed of herself and she’s about to lose her job. We’ll make sure of it.”
Greene spoke with reporters outside the Fulton County Jail last Thursday, just before Trump arrived on a motorcycle for a booking and mug shot. On the same day, House Republicans in Washington announced their own investigation into Fani Willis.
In the meantime, some Georgia GOP legislators were demanding a special session to impeach Fani Willis and remove her from office or defund her office. Others proposed amendments to the state constitution to forgive Trump.
Both possibilities are remote. Georgia’s legislature hasn’t impeached anyone in over fifty years, and Republicans would need to persuade Democrats to go along because of their less than three-fifths majority in both chambers.
Republican State Senator Colton Moore, whose brand of purist conservatism had won him some allies, initiated a petition to summon lawmakers for a special session, requiring signatures from three-fifths of the third and fifth parts of both chambers. Democratic support would be required for this as well.”
In the 1940s, after allegations of selling pardons to a governor, Georgia voters amended the state’s constitution to transfer the power of pardon to the parole board from the governor. To change that situation, both houses will need a two-thirds vote in front of the voters, requiring democratic support again.
And it’s not clear that Kemp will pardon Trump, even though he has the power. Kemp and Trump had a strained relationship, as Kemp previously rejected Trump’s invitation to overturn Georgia’s 2020 presidential election. And after Trump’s unsuccessful attempt to recruit former Senator David Perdue for Kemp’s re-election challenge in 2022, their relationship deteriorated even further. Kemp, like some other Republican governors, now openly argue that their party needs to move forward without Trump.
At least one other prominent Georgia Republican, Senate President John Burns, is aligned against Kemp in calling for a special session. In a letter to fellow Republicans, he wrote that he wants to “look forward to a positive perspective that prepares a bright future for our children and grandchildren.”
Burns wrote, “All those accused are innocent until proven guilty, and I am confident that both sides will ensure that this case is thoroughly examined through the courts.” He did not make further comments.
Burns’ comments were criticized by Atlanta Republican activist Amy Kramer, who helped organize the “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington on January 6th that led to the attack on the US Capitol. Kramer wrote on social media, “We need to change these corrupt RINOs into true conservatives who will actually work and fight for the people. So embarrassing.”
In search of alternatives to replace Kemp, some Georgia Republicans are rallying around a plan by the newly formed State Accountability Commission, which started working on October 1st. The commission was formed with the goal of disciplining or removing corrupt prosecutors.
Republicans fought the law, as they said some Democratic prosecutors were either incapable or protecting criminals, and they rejected taking cases involving crimes ranging from marijuana possession to other crimes involving criminals.
Democrats responded that the Republican prosecution was politicizing the commission and some saw the law as a retaliation against Fani Willis. After voters elected 14 non-white district attorneys in the state, they criticized the solution as a racist attack.
The law allows the commission to approve “will ful misconduct” or “improper bias against or in favor of individuals in the opposing party or against or in favor of accused individuals” for prosecutors. It’s not clear how the commission will interpret those terms, as it has not yet created rules.
Kemp, Burns, and Republican Lieutenant Governor Bert Jones have named a five-member investigation panel and a three-member hearing panel to investigate complaints. They have also named a three-member hearing panel to hear complaints against the investigation panel.
Some district attorneys, not including Fani Willis, are already pursuing lawsuits to overturn the law. Except for court intervention, people can start filing complaints starting October 1st for alleged misconduct occurring after July 1st.
Such complaints could reduce the political pressure on Georgia Republicans.
“District Attorney Fani Willis has shown that she is nothing more than an operative trying to manipulate the law to create a narrative that she has spent a significant amount of resources to build,” State Senator Jason Anavitarte wrote on social media, encouraging people to bring complaints.
But if the commission’s first action is to go after Willis, critics say it will confirm that it’s just a political tool for implementing GOP rule in Georgia, nothing more than an attempt to undermine democracy.
DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston, a Democrat and plaintiff in a case challenging the law, told the Associated Press on Monday that using the commission against Willis will confirm what her opponents warned about – “a free-for-all and the latest attack on democracy” in Georgia.