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Lindsey Graham appears before Georgia grand jury

Graham appears before Georgia grand jury
Sen. Lindsey Graham appears before Georgia grand jury 06:22

Sen. Lindsey Graham appeared before a grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia, on Tuesday as part of an investigation into efforts from former President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election results in that state, his spokesperson confirmed. 

"Today, Senator Graham appeared before the Fulton County Special Grand Jury for just over two hours and answered all questions," said Kevin Bishop, a spokesperson for Graham, in a statement. "The Senator feels he was treated with respect, professionalism and courtesy. Out of respect for the grand jury process, he will not comment on the substance of the questions." 

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis had sought Graham's testimony in relation to phone calls he made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger after the election.

Raffensperger told "CBS Mornings" in November 2020 that, in a phone call, Graham suggested absentee ballots from counties with high rates of nonmatching signatures be disqualified. At the time, the South Carolina Republican denied Raffensperger's claims and dismissed his comments as "ridiculous." 

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Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) speaks with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) as they walk through the Senate Subway to participate in a vote on the Senate floor at the U.S. Capitol Building on Nov. 16, 2022 in Washington, D.C.  Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images

Georgia had not voted for a Democrat in a presidential election since 1992. Ultimately, President Biden won the state by over 11,000 votes. Trump had zeroed in on Fulton County, which encompasses Atlanta, and alleged without evidence that there was voter fraud and that "dead people voted."

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol said, during a hearing this summer, that the White House called and texted Raffensperger's office 18 times to set up a call about a statewide audit of the vote. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows also appeared at a signature audit site in Georgia, where he met with Frances Watson, the chief investigator for the secretary of state's office, who was supervising that audit. 

Willis opened the investigation into Trump and his allies' actions after a Jan. 2, 2021, phone call where Trump asked Raffensperger to "find" 11,780 votes —  or "one more than we have" —  to win the state. 

Graham, one of Trump's closest allies on Capitol Hill, had sought to appeal the order to testify, arguing he was protected under the Constitution's Speech or Debate clause, which shields lawmakers from some criminal or civil proceedings related to their legislative duties. But earlier this month, the Supreme Court refused to halt a lower court order that Graham testify, saying that while "informal investigative fact-finding" is protected, Graham can return to district court if there is a dispute "regarding the application of the Speech or Debate Clause immunity to specific questions."

Former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn was also ordered to appear on Tuesday, according to court documents, although CNN reported that Flynn was granted a provisional stay while he fights the supboena. 

Melissa Quinn contributed to this report. 

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