Georgia Governor Brian Kemp (R) on Thursday rejected the notion of convening a special legislative session to remove Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D) from her position due to her case against former President Trump.
“There have been calls by one individual in the General Assembly and echoed outside these walls by the former president for a special session that would ignore current Georgia law and directly interfere with the proceedings of a separate but equal branch of government,” he said during a press conference.
Earlier this month, State Senator Colton Moore (R), representing the northwest corner of Georgia, argued that Willis’s “politically motivated prosecution” of Trump and her post-indictment conduct warranted an emergency session to evaluate her actions.
Kemp mentioned that history was “trying to repeat itself,” alluding to the period shortly after the 2020 election when he dismissed requests for a special session to overturn the election results. He pointed out that Georgia law provides established means for constituents to hold their local prosecutor accountable if they suspect any “unethical or illegal behavior.”
“Up to this point, I have not seen any evidence that DA Willis’s actions or lack thereof warrant action by the prosecuting attorney oversight Commission, but that will ultimately be a decision that the commission will make,” the governor said. “A special session of the General Assembly to end-run around this law is not feasible and may ultimately prove to be unconstitutional,” he added.
In the aftermath of Fulton County’s indictment of former President Donald Trump for legally contesting the 2020 presidential election results, Republicans have mobilized to investigate partisan District Attorney Fani Willis.
It has launched a number of investigations into Willis, who has ties to the Democratic Party and has even fundraised for political opponents to Trump allies.
Georgia state Senate Majority Leader Steve Gooch and fellow Republicans are primed to hold hearings aiming to determine whether Willis is operating impartially or if her office is being exploited for political gain.
Gooch, a Republican, revealed that the state legislature is preparing to conduct hearings with the intention of assessing whether Willis is using her office for political purposes. They aim to investigate if her office is being employed to target Republican candidates running for office. This comes after a two-year investigation into Trump and other Republican figures.
“We believe she is definitely tainted,” Gooch said. “She’s politicizing this, and we want to make sure these people get a fair trial and a fair shake.”
Gooch told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Georgia Republicans are implementing a supervisory body to probe district attorneys and solicitors-general. This action is in response to Senate Bill 92, which became effective in July, granting lawmakers the authority to remove or take disciplinary action against elected prosecutors for misconduct or other transgressions. It is anticipated that the commission will be operational by October.
However, some Georgia district attorneys have challenged the new state statute, asserting that it is unconstitutional. The Public Rights Project, a civil rights nonprofit organization, has also filed a lawsuit to block the law’s implementation.
On the same day that former President Trump was arrested on RICO charges at an Atlanta jail, the House Judiciary Committee launched an investigation into Willis. Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) wrote a letter to Willis expressing concerns that her “indictment and prosecution implicate substantial federal interests, and the circumstances surrounding your actions raise serious concerns about whether they are politically motivated.”
At the same time, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) announced the inquiry while expressing her support for Trump outside the Fulton County Jail.
Representative Andrew Clyde (R-GA) is leading a second Republican-led investigation into Willis. Clyde aims to leverage the upcoming appropriations bill to reduce federal funding for the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office. His amendments also target funding for other prosecutors investigating Trump, such as Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and special counsel Jack Smith.
Gooch expressed a desire for a measured approach in handling these matters, criticizing certain other Republican initiatives, like the proposal by state Senator Colton Moore for a special legislative session to discuss impeaching Willis.
“We want to make sure we calm down, we look at this stuff deliberately, and we do it in a mature way,” Gooch said.
“There’s a lot of angry people in this state on both sides of this issue. But there’s still a majority of the Republican base who feel like there was fraud in the 2020 election, and they don’t feel like it was completely vetted properly and investigated,” he added.
Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee have written to Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, pressing the Democratic prosecutor to clarify details surrounding her indictment of former President Donald Trump and his allies.
The letter states, “Your indictment and prosecution implicate substantial federal interests, and the circumstances surrounding your actions raise serious concerns about whether they are politically motivated.”
House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH), who signed the letter, also had some questions about Willis’ prosecution of Donald Trump.
“Was Fulton County DA Fani Willis working with Jack Smith?” he asked. “Was she communicating with the Executive Branch? Were any federal funds used in the investigation of President Trump?”
House Republicans argue that federal oversight is needed because Willis is allegedly trying to “use state criminal law to regulate the conduct of federal officers acting in their official capacities,” referencing Trump and Meadows.