Reacting to a report that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) along with several other supporters of former President Donald Trump have been served with subpoenas in Georgia over efforts to interfere with the 2020 presidential election results, two legal experts on CNN explained that the South Carolina Republican likely won't be able to fall back on congressional protections to avoid testifying.
On Tuesday it was reported that Fulton Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney signed off on the grand jury subpoenas for Graham, Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Cleta Mitchell, Kenneth Chesbro and Jenna Ellis over their efforts to dispute the election results that showed Joe Biden won Georgia's Electoral College votes.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that "the 23-person special grand jury has heard testimony in recent weeks from a parade of witnesses, including some who had direct contact with Trump and his associates in late 2020 and early 2021. But Tuesday’s subpoenas are the closest jurors have gotten to the Trump campaign or inner circle of the former president."
On Wednesday morning CNN "New Day" hosts John Berman and Brianna Keillar sat down with legal analyst Elie Honig and New York Law School Professor Rebecca Roiphe to discuss Graham's options should he choose to fight testifying.
"Let's talk about the Lindsey Graham part of this," host Keilar said. "You have a sitting senator who has been subpoenaed in this case. I mean, how big of a deal is that?"
"I think it's extraordinary," Roiphe replied. "I mean, this is not usual case of course, but in this particular situation to subpoena somebody who is a sitting congressperson, you know, it's significant and it shows how far-reaching this investigation is at this point."
"Does that speech and debate clause protect him? Is that going to hold water?" the CNN host pressed.
"You know, I don't think so," Roiphe explained. "I think it's certainly an issue that will get litigated but I think at this point this is a criminal grand jury that is looking for evidence and I don't think that will protect him from giving this particular testimony."
"It's going to be a professor's dream come true because it's the kind of thing we talk about but it never happens," Honig chimed in. "The speech and debate clause essentially says a member of Congress cannot be questioned in some other body, meaning outside of Congress, but it has to relate to their legislative duties. Lindsey Graham is going to have to convince a court that his phone call to [Georgia Secretary of State] Brad Raffensperger made a couple of weeks before Trump's phone call was somehow within the scope of his legislative duties."
Watch the video below or at this link.
CNN 07 06 2022 06 04 40 youtu.be