OnPolitics: Rudy Giuliani focus of Georgia election interference probe

·4 min read

Good afternoon, OnPolitics readers!

A federal judge in Georgia denied Sen. Lindsey Graham's bid to avoid testifying before an Atlanta-area grand jury investigating interference in the 2020 election, rejecting the Trump ally's claim that he was shielded from such scrutiny by legislative privilege.

U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May ruled that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis had "shown extraordinary circumstances and a special need for Senator Graham’s testimony on issues relating to alleged attempts to influence or disrupt the lawful administration of Georgia’s 2020 elections."

What did Graham do? Graham placed at least two telephone calls to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and members of Raffensperger's staff in the weeks following the November 2020 election, seeking additional review of the absentee ballots, according to court documents filed in support of the subpoena request.

Last week, Graham said he would exhaust all legal remedies to defend his position.

It's Amy with today's top stories out of Washington.

Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani now 'target' of Georgia election interference investigation

Georgia prosecutors have notified lawyers representing Rudy Giuliani that the personal attorney to former President Donald Trump is now a target of the widening election interference investigation led by the Fulton County district attorney.

The former New York mayor, who is scheduled to testify before a special grand jury in Atlanta later this week, had made wide-ranging claims that voting systems altered Georgia ballots, while ignoring a hand-count audit that confirmed President Joe Biden's victory in the state.

Giuliani also asserted that about 65,000 underage voters, more than 2,500 felons and 800 dead people voted in the state. All of those claims have been debunked by the Georgia secretary of state, which found no underage voters, only 74 potential felony voters and only two votes that may have been improperly cast in the name of dead voters.

According to court documents seeking Giuliani's grand jury appearance, Fulton County authorities are highlighting the Trump lawyer's Dec. 3, 2020, appearance before the Georgia State Senate, in which he offered a video recording of election workers at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, purporting to show “suitcases” of unlawful ballots from unknown sources, outside the view of election poll watchers.

Within 24 hours of the state Senate hearing, the video had been discredited by the secretary of state's office, concluding "no voter fraud of any kind had taken place."

USA TODAY politics reporters want to talk to you – the voter – about what you really need to know about the upcoming election. Join us for breaking political updates.

Real quick: stories you'll want to read

  • Should Biden run in 2024? Even before he entered the White House 19 months ago, Joe Biden's future beyond one term was the subject of speculation from Democrats. Biden, 79, as the oldest president in U.S. history would be 86 years old at the end of a second term.

  • Fetterman returns to campaign trail after stroke: PennsylvaniaLt. Gov. John Fetterman returned to the campaign trail for the first time since suffering a stroke in May. He said he's counting on Pennsylvania voters to help him beat GOP competitor Dr. Mehmet Oz and deliver Democrats a 51st vote in the U.S. Senate.

  • Latest updates on the FBI's Mar-a-Lago search: The Justice Department released the search warrant describing "secret" AND "top secret" documents found at Mar-a-Lago, but details remain sealed about what was in the documents.

  • Congressional delegation in Taiwan: A delegation of American lawmakers, led by Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, is visiting Taiwan to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen and other officials — just 12 days after a visit by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that angered China.

What life in Afghanistan is like, one year since Americans' withdrawal

One year after the Taliban's return to power and the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, life in Afghanistan has been transformed for many into a daily struggle for survival – marked by unemployment, homelessness, hunger and fear.

Most of the attention from the West has focused on the Taliban's draconian social restrictions on women, girls and minorities, said Vali Nasr, a professor of Middle East Studies at Johns Hopkins, after the Taliban barred girls from attending school after age 12 and eliminated many women's personal freedoms.

But the top concern in Afghanistan today is the economy. An estimated 700,000 have lost jobs since the U.S. withdrawal, which in turn affects the livelihood of millions.

A heightened refugee crisis: The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan exacerbated the country's instability and the displacement of its population. More than 6 million Afghans have been driven from their homes by conflict, violence and poverty, according to the United Nations' refugee agency.

The majority of those have been displaced internally, but a growing number of Afghans are fleeing to other countries, with Pakistan and Iran hosting the majority of the country's refugees.

"Since our departure, (the U.S.) has been very good at criticizing the Taliban’s role in restricting the cultural space in Afghanistan," Nasr said. "But basically, we’ve been completely oblivious to the fact that our sanctions and the economic situation of Afghanistan is destroying the middle class."

10 years of DACA: Since its founding in 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program has been under steady attack. Read more about the people behind the program.-- Amy

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump lawyer Giuliani focus of Georgia election interference probe