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What to know about the release of parts of a Georgia grand jury report on Trump and the 2020 election

<i>Megan Varner/Getty Images</i><br/>The Fulton County Superior Court Judge ordered the limited release of a Georgia grand jury report on Donald Trump and the 2020 election earlier this week.
Getty Images
Megan Varner/Getty Images
The Fulton County Superior Court Judge ordered the limited release of a Georgia grand jury report on Donald Trump and the 2020 election earlier this week.

By Jason Morris, Sara Murray and Devan Cole, CNN

Portions of a highly anticipated report by the Atlanta-area special grand jury that investigated Donald Trump’s actions in Georgia after the 2020 election will be released Thursday, giving the public its clearest look yet into the two-year probe into Trump and his associates’ efforts to reverse his election defeat.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney ordered the limited release earlier this week, writing in his order that the report’s introduction and conclusion, as well as concerns the panel had about witnesses lying under oath, will made be public on Thursday.

Here’s what to know about the report’s release.

Will it shed light on possible Trump crimes?

The big question is whether the portions will include any bits of information that shed new light on what Trump himself did two years ago and whether the special grand jury concluded that the former president committed any crimes.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ sweeping investigation has sought to determine not only whether Trump committed crimes but also whether there was a broader criminal conspiracy playing out in the efforts to overturn Georgia’s election results.

Trump lost to Joe Biden in Georgia by nearly 12,000 votes in 2020. The former president has insisted that there was nothing problematic about his activities contesting the election.

In document preservation requests to Georgia officials in February 2021, Willis said she was investigating potential crimes, including solicitation of election fraud, making false statements to government bodies, conspiracy, racketeering, violation of oath of office and violence or threats related to election administration.

“I think that it is certainly possible that what is released … will indicate that the special grand jury has found that there was criminal conduct involved in the activities of the Trump Campaign in Georgia after the election,” said Clark Cunningham, the W. Lee Burge Chair in Law and Ethics at Georgia State University College of Law.

Cunningham added to CNN that “there is no doubt that whatever (the report is) referring to is either conduct that was done directly by Donald Trump or done on his behalf.”

“That would tell us that this cross section of citizens, having spent nine months working hard at this, has concluded that at least some of what was done on behalf of the former president to overturn the election results was a crime,” he said. “I think that’s terrifically significant.”

What investigators are looking at

The Georgia probe was set off nearly two years ago by an hourlong January 2021 phone call from Trump to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger asking him to “find” the votes necessary for Trump to win the Peach State. Trump has referred to it as a “perfect” phone call.

Over time, the investigation expanded well beyond the Trump phone call to include false claims of election fraud to state lawmakers, the fake elector scheme, efforts by unauthorized individuals to access voting machines in one Georgia county as well as threats and harassment against election workers. Willis also investigated the sudden departure of BJay Pak, the US attorney for the Northern District of Georgia.

Willis designated a number of people as targets of her probe last year, including 16 Georgia Republicans who served as pro-Trump electors in 2020 and Rudy Giuliani, who was working as a lawyer for Trump.

What will and will not be in the release

The special grand jury, barred from issuing indictments, penned their final report as a culmination of its seven months of work, which included interviewing 75 witnesses, from Giuliani to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham.

On Thursday, the report’s introduction and conclusion, as well as concerns the panel had about witnesses lying under oath, will be made public. McBurney noted that some information in those sections might be redacted.

Other findings by the special grand jury won’t be public yet — particularly the parts where the report makes recommendations about potential charges. That’s because some of the people named in those recommendations may not have appeared in grand jury proceedings so far.

Its final report is likely to include some summary of the panel’s investigative work, as well as any recommendations for indictments and the alleged conduct that led the panel to its conclusions.

No one has been charged in the case yet, and another grand jury in Fulton County would make those decisions now that the special grand jury has presented its findings to Willis.

During a hearing last month on whether to publicly release the report, Willis, a Democrat, suggested the special grand jury has recommended multiple indictments and said that her decision on whether to bring charges is “imminent.”

The-CNN-Wire
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CNN’s Sara Murray and Devan Cole contributed to this report.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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