Donald Trump has suffered a double blow after the Supreme Court and federal judges ruled against him in two lawsuits following the former president’s string of victories.
The Supreme Court has denied South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham’s request not to testify before a grand jury in Georgia investigating an alleged attempt to overturn the 2020 election. The decision came a day after a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit from former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows seeking to vacate two subpoenas from the House Select Committee on Jan. 6. .
In Tuesday’s brief ruling, SCOTUS cleared the way for Graham to answer questions under oath as part of a criminal investigation into allegations of election interference led by Fulton County prosecutor Fanny Willis.
Investigators want to talk to Graham about a phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Ravensperger just days after the 2020 election.
Graham has described the allegations that he was trying to get people to throw away absentee ballots as “ridiculous.” Republicans argue that the constitution’s speech and debate clause, which says members of Congress cannot be questioned on issues related to their legislative obligations, means they are not required to testify before a Fulton County special grand jury. did.
The undisputed SCOTUS order rejected these arguments, but Graham noted that some questions could still be contested.
“The lower court held that the informal factual findings purportedly made by Senator Graham constituted legislative activity protected by the Speech or Debate Clause, and Senator Graham could not be questioned about such activity. I decided not to,” the order said.
“The lower court also clarified that Senator Graham may return to district court if a dispute arises regarding the application of the speech or debate clause exemption to a particular issue. Or no suspension or injunction is required to protect the debate clause. Immunity.”
The ruling lifted a temporary reservation issued by Justice Clarence Thomas against Graham’s testimony while the SCOTUS judge considered the argument.
Fulton County investigators filed a subpoena against Graham in July to expand the criminal investigation into alleged election interference. The investigation had previously focused on Trump’s call urging Secretary of State Ravensperger to “find” the 11,780 votes that would beat Joe Biden in the state in 2020.
Thomas’ initial ruling to suspend Graham’s testimony was the latest in a series of court decisions in favor of Trump.
In an investigation into allegations that the former president mishandled classified documents obtained at his Mar-a-Lago resort, federal judge Eileen Cannon granted a number of requests from Trump’s legal team.
This includes appointing a special master to review thousands of seized materials that the Justice Department has determined are not necessary, and Raymond Deary, one of two nominees proposed by Trump’s lawyers. It included choosing for that role.
Cannon has since rejected a request from Dearie that Trump’s legal team formally state if the list of items the FBI said had been removed from Mar-a-Lago in August was inaccurate.
The ruling meant that the former president was unable to testify under oath that he believed federal investigators may have “planted” evidence against him.
But the SCOTUS ruling allowing Graham to testify in Georgia is the second court decision to go against Trump in a matter of days.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols said the former president’s former chief of staff, Meadows, also argued that the constitution’s “speech or debate clause” prevented him from testifying before the House Select Committee. decided that it could not be done. Capitol riot.
Meadows has been fighting for more than a year to fully comply with the January 6 panel, but it may still appeal the latest court ruling.
Meadows’ attorney, George Terwilliger, told Politico it would “carefully consider the decision and consider any further action as appropriate.”
Meadows initially cooperated with the subpoena, handing over thousands of text messages sent by Republican lawmakers around Jan. 6, but refused to take depositions and withheld other documents, citing executive privilege. rice field.
But the odds of Meadows actually being forced to testify are dwindling by the day, as the commission’s work is done and will almost certainly end once Republicans regain control of the House in next week’s midterm elections.
Nichols’ decision comes days after a South Carolina judge ruled that Meadows must also testify before a Fulton County grand jury investigating allegations that he tried to overturn the last presidential election. was done.