The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) must testify in the Georgia investigation into alleged election interference by former President Donald Trump.
The justices, in an unsigned order, lifted a temporary hold on an appeals court’s order compelling Graham to appear before an Atlanta special grand jury probing Trump’s efforts to overturn his narrow 2020 election loss in the Peach State.
Graham is left with no choice but to testify on Nov. 17 however, the top court did note that Graham still could raise objections to some questions from prosecutors.
The South Carolina senator, a top Trump ally, had argued that a provision of the Constitution, the speech and debate clause, shields him from being forced to testify at all.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis had told the justices that “the delay resulting from a stay would be unavoidably harmful” to the grand jury investigation.
Graham, a four-term senator who last won reelection in 2020, was first subpoenaed in July by Willis. The district attorney opened her investigation shortly after a recording of a January 2021 phone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger was made public. In that call, Trump suggested Raffensperger could “find” the votes needed to overturn his narrow loss to Democrat Joe Biden.
Willis wants to question Graham about two phone calls he made to Raffensperger and his staff in the weeks after the election.
After his 2020 election loss, former President Donald Trump called Raffensperger and urged him to “find” the votes needed to overturn his narrow loss in the state.
During those calls, Graham asked about “reexamining certain absentee ballots cast in Georgia in order to explore the possibility of a more favorable outcome for former President Donald Trump,” Willis wrote in a petition seeking to compel his testimony.
Raffensperger said he took Graham’s question about absentee ballots as a suggestion to toss out legally cast votes. Graham has dismissed that interpretation as “ridiculous.” Graham has also argued that the call was protected because he was asking questions to inform his decisions on voting to certify the 2020 election and future legislation.
Graham’s legal team plans to reach out to Willis’ office about what happens next, according to a statement from the senator’s office.