Sunday Aug 28, 2022

Brian Kemp: From witness to unindicted co-conspirator?

It seems a mystery. Why is Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia playing hide and seek with the Atlanta grand jury investigating whether Trump and associates attempted to tamper with the 2020 election results?

Why is the Governor resisting the subpoena? After all, the national press has played Kemp as some kind of hero for allegedly standing up to Trump, refusing to overturn Georgia’s majority for Joe Biden.

But Kemp is no hero. The reality: Kemp and his elections chief played games with Georgia’s voting process — for Trump and for their own political careers. They only refused Trump’s post-election demands they knew would have put them at risk of hard time on a chain gang.

Kemp’s resistance to testifying seems all the more odd because Fulton County (Atlanta) District Attorney Fani Willis has bent over backwards to accommodate the skittish pol. Because he was moaning about the time taken away from campaigning against Stacey Abrams, she agreed he could appear by video. And, surprisingly, Willis was going to let his attorney sit with him, something a grand jury witness is almost never permitted.

Kemp has gone crying to a judge pleading he shouldn’t have to answer questions about calls made to him by Trump and cronies. Kemp claims “sovereign immunity” — the right of kings not to answer questions, reserved in the US for official state actions. He claims “executive privilege” as if being CEO of Georgia is grounds to conceal evidence of a crime. He claims it would take time from his campaign — that’s one I’ve never heard in court. If that succeeds, we’ll have even more crooks run for office.

It’s always dangerous to speculate on what’s going on in Brian Kemp’s brain, but let me suggest that he knows his benign status as mere “witness” may quickly change to something far more serious.

If Trump, as reported, demanded the Governor call a special session of the legislature to de-certify Joe Biden’s victory, and Kemp told him to go fly, then Kemp’s off the hook. So, why not tell that to the grand jury?

Kemp reportedly told Trump that, as Governor, Kemp could not de-certify the presidential vote. Then was it Kemp who suggested Trump make those calls to the man who did have the power to reject the vote count?

Question: Governor, did you suggest that Trump call the Secretary of State?
Question: Governor, did you suggest to Mr. Trump that, while Georgia law does not allow you to interfere, you intended to change the law?
Question: Governor, you have yet to turn over all notes and information about the Trump de-certification campaign.  What happened to those records?

How could Kemp answer? Take the Fifth? Not wise for a sitting governor. Does he fudge it with, “I don’t recall”? Bad idea: Strategic forgetfulness is an indictable offence.

The most dangerous question would be whether Trump told him about, or asked for help with, sending a slate of fake Georgia “electors” to the Electoral College. That’s the highly technical core of the DA’s potential racketeering case against Giuliani and friends: submitting names of Electors who were never elected, who never even appeared on the ballot. Some Trump Electors, the official ones who ran on the November ballot, refused to have their names sent to Congress — so the Trump gang just manufactured a phony Elector list.

If Trump mentioned the scheme to create a fake set of Electors, and Kemp “forgot” to tell the DA, we could imagine Kemp listed as an unindicted co-conspirator. Not a winning campaign slogan: “Re-elect Kemp: Named but unindicted!”


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