Georgia Secretary of State Raffensperger meets with special counsel

Georgian Foreign Minister Brad Raffensperger will be interviewed by investigators from Special Counsel Jack Smith’s office in Atlanta on Wednesday, his office confirmed to NBC News.

Raffensperger’s interview with the Office of the Special Counsel will be his first at the Justice Department. Smith was hired by Attorney General Merrick Garland last year to oversee the Justice Department’s investigation into former President Donald Trump’s role in the January 6 attack on the Capitol. Smith subpoenaed Raffensperger in December for documents but not for his personal appearance or testimony, a source familiar with the matter told NBC News at the time.

The Washington Post was the first to report on Raffensperger’s upcoming interview with special counsel. Raffensperger’s office did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment.

During a now infamous phone call days before the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol, Trump urged Raffensperger to “find” nearly 12,000 votes to reverse Joe Biden’s victory in the contested state. The then-president told Raffensperger: “I just want to do the following. I just want to find 11,780 votes, that’s one more than we have. Because we won the state.”

Georgia repeatedly reiterated Biden’s victory following the November 2020 presidential election.

The Office of the Special Counsel also subpoenaed local officials in key presidential transition states late last year because they were in contact with Trump, his campaign team, aides and allies who supported his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Raffensperger’s appearance before the Special Counsel’s office also comes as part of an investigation in Georgia into whether Trump acted unlawfully in asking Raffensperger to “procure” the votes he needed to win the state in 2020. Raffensperger testified before a special grand jury last year from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to help investigate possible election interference by Trump and his allies.

Willis hinted that charges could be filed as early as August in the Trump election process. The special jury appointed by Willis recommended indicting more than a dozen people, jury chair Emily Kohrs said on NBC News’ Nightly News in February. A number of “fake voters” — people who signed a certificate falsely declaring that Trump won the 2020 Georgia election and self-identified as the state’s official voters — also have immunity agreements with Willis, according to court documents. met office.

Trump has denied wrongdoing in the case. In a March filing, his attorneys argued that all evidence collected by the grand jury should be considered unconstitutional and that Willis should be “barred from further investigation and/or prosecution in this matter.” Willis’ office responded in a filing last month, saying Trump’s requests should be dismissed because they “lack merit.”

In addition, Raffensperger previously testified before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol last Congress.

“There were no voices to be found,” he testified publicly before the committee. “That was an accurate count that has been confirmed.”

Raffensperger testified that he and his family received threatening messages from across the country after the November 2020 presidential election. He said his wife received “sexualized” and “disgusting” text messages and that some people broke into his daughter-in-law’s home, adding that she is a widow with two children.

Smith has also been charged with leading the criminal investigation into Trump’s alleged abuse of confidential documents. A federal grand jury this month indicted Trump on 37 counts for keeping classified documents after leaving office and allegedly hiding them from authorities. The charges come after more than 100 classified documents were discovered at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida last year. Trump pleaded not guilty in a Miami court.

Zoë Richards contributed to this.