OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
State Republican lawmakers in Georgia may have found a novel way to go shut down Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ alleged election interference case against former President Donald Trump, according to a report earlier this week.
Georgia state GOP lawmakers are seething over Willis’ indictment of Trump and 18 others on charges she says are linked to illegal efforts to overturn the 2020 election, but they see as a blatantly political effort to saddle the leading 2024 Republican presidential nominee with convictions that could lead to jail time.
“Soon after the indictment against Trump and others was filed, discussions were underway to have Willis removed from office or face investigations and impeachment hearings over allegations of a partisan probe against the former president and frontrunner in the 2024 GOP primary,” Newsweek reported.
One move some GOP lawmakers are considering is using a law signed by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in May that would allow them to establish a new commission with the authority to remove local prosecutors who are deemed unable to fulfill their “constitutional and statutory duties.”
However, Kemp, over the summer, rejected calls by some Republicans to convene a special session of the legislature for the consideration of impeaching Willis, saying he did not see any evidence that would warrant it.
Now, however, Georgia Republicans may have found a workaround, in a manner of speaking
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a special Georgia Senate subcommittee is planning on investigating the dangerous conditions at the Fulton County Jail, where ten inmates have died this year alone.
“The subcommittee is also expected to focus some of its attention on Fulton District Attorney Fani Willis,” the paper said, adding: “Willis will likely face scrutiny over her use of resources and strategy in addressing an enormous backlog of cases that grew worse during the coronavirus pandemic.”
“The DA is required by Georgia law to have a grand jury inspect the sanitary condition of the jail and the treatment of inmates, and it isn’t clear she’s carried out that duty,” state Sen. Jason Anavitarte, one of the chamber’s top Republicans, told the AJC. “She did find time and resources to pursue politically chosen cases when the jail has been deteriorating, resulting in deaths.”
Some Republicans sought to counter state Democratic complaints by noting that Willis would not become the sole focus of the investigation, the paper reported.
“We don’t know the root cause of the challenges, so anything would be premature at this point. We will follow the facts,” state Sen. John Albers, who is leading the subcommittee with state Sen. Randy Robertson, told the outlet. “This issue is the conditions and deaths at the jail.”
In an August 21 post on Facebook, GOP Georgia state Sen. Clint Dixon said he would call on the Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission (PAQC) to investigate Willis for allegedly targeting Trump for political purposes and her apparent “unabashed goal to become some sort of leftist celebrity.”
“Once the Prosecutorial Oversight Committee is appointed in October, we can call on them to investigate and take action against Fani Willis and her efforts that weaponize the justice system against political opponents,” Dixon wrote.
“This is our best measure, and I will be ready to call for that investigation,” he noted further.
Later in the week, Willis rebuffed House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan’s (R-Ohio) request for information regarding her probe into Trump after he made it clear that since he is a former president and current leading presidential contender, his prosecutions are in the interests of the country as a whole.
“A charitable explanation of your correspondence is that you are ignorant of the United States and Georgia Constitutions and codes,” Willis wrote in her response letter to Jordan, according to CNN.
“A more troubling explanation is that you are abusing your authority as Chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary to attempt to obstruct and interfere with a Georgia criminal prosecution,” she added.