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Election interference investigation closes in on Trump’s inner circle

Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell and others have been subpoenaed to testify before a special grand jury in Atlanta.

ATLANTA (CN) — The district attorney investigating potential criminal interference in Georgia’s 2020 presidential election filed new petitions Thursday to seek testimony from former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell and others next month.

All of the petitions were signed off by Robert McBurney, the Fulton County Superior Court Judge overseeing the special grand jury. McBurney certified that each person is a “necessary and material” witness for the investigation.

The petition to summon Powell comes after the Georgia Bureau of Investigation confirmed last week that they are investigating her for allegedly paying the tech firm SullivanStrickler to copy election data from voting equipment in Coffee County after the election.

Powell vowed to “release the kraken” on alleged voter fraud by filing multiple failed suits challenging the election results after former President Trump instructed her “to be a special counsel to address the election issues and to collect evidence.”

Meadows, a former North Carolina congressman, was subpoenaed for participating in the Jan. 2, 2021, phone call that former President Trump placed to Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, urging him to “find” 11,780 votes for Trump.

According to the petition, Meadows made various allegations of voter fraud through several emails he sent to U.S. Department of Justice officials. He also tweeted about a meeting held with Trump and other members of congress following the election to prepare “to fight back against mounting evidence of voter fraud.”

To address these claims, Raffensperger ordered an audit of absentee ballots envelop signatures following the election, during which Meadows attempted to observe the audit at the Cobb County Civic Center.

After he was denied access inside the auditing room, Meadows met Frances Watson, who was helping conduct the audit as the chief investigator for Georgia’s Secretary of State’s office at the time.

The following day, Watson, who was subpoenaed as a witness in June, received a phone call from Trump, during which he told her, “there’s just no way” he lost in Georgia and “when the right answer comes out, you’ll be praised.”

Testimony is also being sought by former Trump campaign advisor, Boris Epshteyn, who along with Meadows organized the plan for the fake group of Republican electors to submit false electoral votes in Trump’s favor.

Judge McBurney denied Thursday a request filed by the 11 “alternate” electors and targets of the investigation, to have different prosecutors question them.

Their motion came after the judge disqualified Fulton District Attorney Fani Willis from investigating another fake elector, state Senator Burt Jones, because she held a fundraiser for Jones’ Democratic challenger in the current race for lieutenant governor.

“These electors have provided no evidence that the District Attorney (or any member of her staff) has done anything that suggests a possible political motivation for investigating them, beyond the banal observation that they are active Republicans and she is not,” McBurney wrote in his order.

Attorneys for Georgia’s Governor Brian Kemp, also accused the District Attorney’s probe of being politically motivated during Thursday’s hearing to challenge his subpoena, but McBurney appeared unconvinced and urged them to focus their argument on why he should be shielded by sovereign immunity and executive privileges.

Phil Waldron, a retired Army colonel, has also been subpoenaed as a witness for his testimony of purported vulnerabilities in the Dominion Voting Systems used throughout Georgia at the State Senate subcommittee meeting on Dec. 3, 2020.

The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, a federal agency that oversees U.S. election security, has since stated that there’s no truth to the election denier’s claims that votes cast for Trump were switched by these voting machines to count for Biden or deleted.

Waldron was introduced by Trump’s former attorney and target of the probe, Rudy Giuliani, and reported having discussed election fraud with him and other members of the Trump campaign, including Senator Lindsey Graham, who will appear before the grand jury next week.  

All four of the summoned witnesses live outside of Georgia, so judges in the states where they live will have to order them to appear.

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