Donald Trump’s allies in Georgia are launching a campaign to recall Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis over her investigation into the former president’s attempts to reverse the results of the 2020 election and are trying to recruit expensive donors, sources say to fund the effort. familiar with the effort.
The organizers of the effort admit that the obstacles to a successful recall in Georgia are high, making it likely that a recall vote will be issued before Willis makes her decision to remotely indict Trump and his associates at best.
But a source implicated in the attempt told Yahoo News that the aim is to use the recall campaign as a way to politically harm the Democratic District Attorney’s Office, portraying her as a partisan actor who is fighting the rising crime rate in Atlanta. ignores to target high-profile Republicans. An added benefit of that game plan, another source familiar with the campaign said, is to potentially influence a jury if a case against Trump goes to trial.
“The goal is to politicize it,” said a high-ranking Georgia Republican involved in the recall, who asked not to be identified publicly while discussing a politically sensitive issue. “The message here is, ‘Okay, you? [Willis] want to play this [political] game, we’re making this about politics.’”
The source, who is helping to raise money for the effort, said Trump and his associates at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida are “aware” of the recall campaign and that among those actively involved in the effort, David Shafer, the chairman of the Georgian Republican Party, and Brad Carver, a prominent GOP attorney in the state. Both men are among 16 so-called fake voters in Georgia who recently received target letters from Willis informing them that they were facing possible charges in her investigation.
Among the donors with whom the organizers are talking about possible funding for the recall campaign is Bernard Marcus, the co-founder of Home Depot and a strong Trump supporter widely regarded as the richest man in the state. Marcus could not be reached for comment. Shafer and Carver did not respond to messages requesting comment for this article.
The recall campaign burst into public this week when Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., retweeted a recall message by Bill White, a pro-Trump activist from Buckhead, the wealthy, predominantly white part of Atlanta. “The Fulton County District Attorney is using Fulton County taxpayer money for her personal political witch-hunt against President Trump, but will NOT prosecute the crime plaguing Atlanta! Atlanta has a WORSE crime than Chicago! TO REMIND!!!”
Asked for comment, Willis’ communications director said, “The District Attorney investigates and prosecutes crime in Fulton County without fear or favor, as she promised voters when she ran for office in 2020. People have a right to express their views on the work she does, and she enjoys discussing with voters why it’s important that everyone is treated equally before the law.”
The recall comes at a critical stage in Willis’s fast-moving investigation. She is currently fighting a legal battle over Sen’s appearances. Lindsey Graham, RS.C., Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., and GOP lawmakers who were part of the alternative election manifesto — all of whom have been subpoenaed by Willis, but have filed legal objections to their testimony. In addition, Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s chief election attorney, has been subpoenaed to testify before a special grand jury next week. Assuming he shows up, Giuliani is expected to object to answering key questions under attorney-client privilege, potentially resulting in a separate closed-door hearing before a state judge.
But while her investigation is accelerating and appears to be moving much faster than the US Department of Justice’s own investigation, Willis has also faced setbacks. In a statement from last weekFulton County Chief Justice Robert McBurney has disqualified her and her office from questioning a subpoenaed witness, Republican Senator Burt Jones, who is the GOP nominee for lieutenant governor, because Willis had previously sponsored a primary fundraiser for Charlie Bailey, now the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor. “This scenario creates a clear – and current and untenable – conflict,” McBurney wrote.
In seeking a recall against Willis, the Trump allies are borrowing a page from the playbook of activists who have sought recalls against progressive prosecutors in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Philadelphia. (The recall of San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin recently succeeded.) But every campaign in Georgia faces extraordinarily high barriers under the state’s recall law. Recalls are permitted only for specified offenses, including acts of felony or misconduct while in office, breach of an office holder’s oath, failure to perform duties “prescribed by law” and willful misuse of public funds or property. In addition, the law requires recall proponents to collect signatures equal to 30 percent of registered voters in the jurisdiction where the office holder resides. In 2020, there were 806,451 registered voters in Fulton County. That means recall organizers would have to collect more than 240,000 signatures to get a recall from Willis on the ballot.
Chris Huttman, a Democratic political adviser who polled for Willis’ campaign for DA in 2020, noted that Trump got 137,247 votes (or 26 percent of the total) in Fulton County that year. “That means that even if every Trump voter in Fulton County signed the petition… [for recall]they would have to go out and find another 100,000 signatures.”
Ironically, and in stark contrast to the progressive prosecutors in other cities who have faced recalls, Willis was backed by the police union in her race against incumbent District Attorney Paul Howard and campaigned on a platform of more aggressive prosecution of violent crime.