US: Georgia prosecutor probing Trump asks FBI for security help

Security concerns elevated after former US president disparages prosecutors in strong language at a political rally.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis speaks during an interview at her office.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is investgating former President Donald Trump's attempts to pressure Georgia election officials to overturn the 2020 election [John Bazemore/AP Photo]

A prosecutor investigating whether Donald Trump broke the law by pressuring officials in the state of George to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential win has asked the FBI for help after the former president railed against prosecutors investigating him.

Georgia Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis on Sunday wrote a letter to the FBI office in Atlanta asking for a risk assessment of the county courthouse and government offices. Willis asked the FBI to provide protective resources, “to include intelligence and federal agents”.

Willis last year opened an investigation into any potential attempts to improperly influence the 2020 general election in Georgia by Trump and his associates. A special grand jury is set to be seated on May 2 to aid in that investigation.

“My staff and I will not be influenced or intimidated by anyone as this investigation moves forward,” Willis wrote.

The Georgia investigation is one of several ongoing probes into the former president’s conduct. Authorities in the state of New York are investigating allegations of financial fraud in Trump’s real estate business. And a US House of Representatives committee is investigating Trump’s actions related to the January 6, 2021 riot by the former president’s supporters at the US Capitol.

Security concerns escalated during the weekend after Trump, in a political rally in Texas, lashed out at prosecutors looking into his actions, calling them “vicious, horrible people”.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a rally, in Conroe, Texas.
Former US President Donald Trump,  headlining at a political rally in Texas on January 29, called prosecutors ‘vicious’ [Go Nakamura/Reuters]

“If these radical, vicious, racist prosecutors do anything wrong or illegal, I hope we are going to have in this country the biggest protest we have ever had in Washington, DC, in New York, in Atlanta and elsewhere because our country and our elections are corrupt,” Trump said during the Saturday night rally near Houston, Texas.

Willis, who is African American, said her office has already taken steps to address security concerns in response to “communications we have received from persons unhappy with our commitment to fulfil our duties”. Willis said she was working with county officials on extra security measures.

Trump’s latest rhetoric was especially alarming, Willis wrote. Trump said at the Texas rally that, if he returns to the White House, he would give pardons to people who stormed the US Capitol last year in an effort to block the certification of Biden’s win.

“We must work together to keep the public safe and ensure that we do not have a tragedy in Atlanta similar to what happened at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021,” Willis wrote in the letter to the FBI.

Willis has made clear In court documents her investigation focuses on the January 2, 2021 phone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, in which the former president urged Raffensperger to overturn Biden’s election win in Georgia.

In a recent interview with The Associated Press, Willis said the scope of her inquiry includes a November 2020 phone call between US Senator Lindsey Graham and Raffensperger, the abrupt resignation under pressure from Trump allies of the Atlanta US Attorney Byung J Pak on January 4, 2021, and comments made during Georgia legislative hearings on the election.

Trump has said his call to Raffensperger was “perfect” and he did not say anything wrong. Senator Graham also has denied any wrongdoing.

Source: AP