A Georgia judge on Tuesday did not make an immediate decision on the release of a grand jury’s months-long examination of interference in the 2020 election.
- What the judge said: “There will be no rash decisions,” Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney said, citing the extraordinary nature of the investigation.
- Georgia DA argued report should stay secret: Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said the report should remain under wraps for now.
- Media said it should be released: An attorney for a national media consortium that includes USA TODAY argued for the report’s immediate release, citing an “extraordinary” public interest in the inquiry.
- What was the investigation about?: The inquiry started in early January 2021 with former President DTrump’s call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, in which the former president urged Georgia’s top election official to “find 11,780 votes” to tilt the 2020 statewide election in his favor. The inquiry has since expanded to include a wide-ranging examination of election fraud.
Here’s what else is happening in politics Tuesday:
- Classified documents found at Pence’s home: The episode is the latest in a series of revelations in which classified records were found at the homes of elected officials and former elected officials, including Donald Trump and Joe Biden.
- Taylor Swift, Ticketmaster and Congress: The Senate Judiciary Committee grilled a Ticketmaster executive over the company’s rocky handling of Taylor Swift concert tickets.
- New York voters think Santos should resign. A new poll shows a lack of support for the Rep. George Santos.
Judge makes no immediate decision on Georgia grand jury report release in Trump probe
A Georgia judge did not make an immediate decision on whether to release a grand jury’s findings in a months-long investigation into interference in the 2020 election.
“There will be no rash decisions,” Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney said Tuesday, citing the extraordinary nature of the investigation.
– Kevin Johnson
Trump Georgia investigation: ‘Openness’ outweighs damage to personal reputation, media lawyer argues
The presumption of “openness” outweighs any concern for the potential damage to personal reputations, a media lawyer asserted Tuesday, calling for the release of a Georgia grand jury report investigating interference in the 2020 election.
“Peoples’ reputations getting hurt is not enough” to seal the panel’s report, attorney Thomas Clyde told a local judge weighing the document’s release.
Prosecutors raised possible damage to individuals named in the document as part of their argument for sealing the report.
– Kevin Johnson
Classified documents found at Mike Pence’s Indiana home
Classified documents were found at former Vice President Mike Pence’s home, a representative for Pence wrote to the National Archives in letters this month.
This is the latest in a series of revelations involving classified documents at the homes of elected officials and former elected officials.
Classified documents were found at an office at the Penn Biden Center last year, and President Joe Biden voluntarily submitted to an FBI search of his home earlier this month.
The Department of Justice executed a search warrant on President Donald Trump’s home last year after a long back-and-forth over what documents he had at his Mar-a-Lago estate.
– Francesca Chambers and Erin Mansfield
Pence classified documents: Classified documents found at former VP Mike Pence’s Indiana home
Media consortium: release Trump grand jury report now
An attorney for a national media consortium argued for the immediate release of a special grand jury’s report into interference in the 2020 election, citing an “extraordinary” public interest in the inquiry.
Attorney Thomas Clyde, representing the group of media organizations including USA TODAY, told a local judge that “public faith” in the court system is at stake in the disclosure of the document, asserting that prosecutors had not made the case for continuing secrecy.
“There hasn’t been any suggestion, evidence or demonstration that there should be a sealing in this case,” Clyde said.
– Kevin Johnson
Fulton County DA’s office not interested in blocking grand jury report indefinitely
In arguing against releasing a special grand jury report on 2020 election interference, Fulton County prosecutors suggested their interest in keeping the probe sealed is temporary.
“This is not an opposition meant to march to the end of time.” prosecutor Donald Wakeford said.
– Ella Lee
Grand jury report should be released after charging decision, prosecutor signals
A Fulton County prosecutor signaled that the contents of a special grand jury’s report on a months-long investigation into election interference in the 2020 presidential campaign is so sensitive that it should not be made public while the investigation is ongoing.
“The wise choice at this time cannot be that it be released at this time,” prosecutor Donald Wakeford told a local judge. Wakeford said the appropriate time for the report’s release should take place after prosecutors decide whether to bring charges in the case.
– Kevin Johnson
Not enough time to assess grand jury report: Georgia prosecutor
Fulton County’s district attorney’s office has not had enough time to assess whether any charges should or should not be pursued based on a local special grand jury’s findings, prosecutor Donald Wakeford said Tuesday while arguing against the report’s release.
“There has been no opportunity whatsoever for this office to incorporate anything in the document into an ongoing investigation in a meaningful way,” Wakeford said.
Fulton County, Georgia DA argues against release of grand jury report in Trump probe
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said a special grand jury’s report on a sprawling investigation into election interference should remain under wraps for now.
“It is not appropriate at this time to have this report released,” Willis told a local judge weighing release of the report Tuesday afternoon – in her first remarks on the report since it delivered to her two weeks ago.
“You having seen this report, decisions are imminent,” Willis said.
– Kevin Johnson
Releasing grand jury report could imperil future defendants’ rights, DA argues
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis argued Tuesday before a Georgia judge that releasing a special grand jury report’s investigation into 2020 election interference could negatively affect future trials.
“In this case, the state understands the media’s inquiry and the world’s interest, but we have to be mindful of protecting future defendants rights,” Willis said.
– Ella Lee
What is the Trump Georgia investigation?
While the inquiry started with Trump’s call to Raffensperger, in which the former president urged Georgia’s top election official to “find 11,780 votes” to tilt the 2020 statewide election in his favor, the inquiry has since expanded to include a wide-ranging examination of election fraud.
Specifically, Willis has said authorities have been investigating possible election fraud, conspiracy, oath of office violations, racketeering and election-related violence.
In addition to Guiliani, prosecutors have designated nearly two-dozen others, including a group of Republican electors who falsely certified that Trump had won the election, as potential targets.
— Kevin Johnson
More on Tuesday’s hearing in Georgia: Georgia judge to consider releasing Trump investigation report at a hearing Tuesday
Trump lawyers won’t appear at hearing
While the contents of the special grand jury’s report could have serious implications for Trump, the former president’s attorneys said they will not appear at Tuesday’s hearing.
“To date, we have never been a part of this process,” Atlanta attorneys Drew Findling and Marissa Goldberg said in a brief statement. “The grand jury compelled the testimony of dozens of other, often high-ranking, officials during the investigation, but never found it important to speak with the president.”
The attorneys said Trump had not been asked to provide a voluntary interview.
“Therefore, we can assume that the grand jury did their job and looked at the facts and the law, as we have, and concluded there were no violations of the law by President Trump,” the lawyers said.
— Kevin Johnson
Trump lawyers won’t be at hearing: Trump lawyers won’t appear at Georgia hearing where judge will consider release of report
Trump rants about ‘PERFECT’ call ahead of hearing
Hours before a Georgia judge will consider the potential release of a grand jury’s report on potential 2020 election interference, former President Donald Trump took to his social media site, Truth Social, to allege a call between himself and the state’s secretary of state that spurred the investigation was not nefarious.
“It was PERFECT,” Trump said of the call, “nothing done or said wrong.”
The former president also repeated unfounded claims of election fraud.
– Ella Lee
Poll: New York voters think Santos should resign
A majority of New York voters think Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., should resign from Congress and view the freshman representative unfavorably, according to a poll conducted by Siena College’s Research Institute, located near the state’s capital. Santos is being investigated for lying about his career.
The poll found nearly two-thirds of Democrats, 59% of independents and 49% of Republicans say Santos should resign from Congress. Around 17% of those polled said he should not resign. A majority of voters also reported they view Santos unfavorably, including 56% of Republicans.
Siena College polled 821 registered New York voters over a four-day period last week.
— Rachel Looker
Senate Judiciary Committee grilled Ticketmaster executive over Taylor Swift ticket debacle
Taylor Swift was the focus of the Senate’s Tuesday hearing to examine the lack of competition within the ticketing industry. Lawmakers grilled Ticketmaster executive following the company’s mishandling of the music superstar’s concert tickets.
Joe Berchtold, the president and CFO of Ticketmaster’s parent company Live Nation Entertainment, defended his company, testifying that “industrial scale ticket scalping” and an unprecedented number of bots were responsible for the large-scale problems.
“In hindsight there are several things we could have done better,” Berchtold said. “And let me be clear, Ticketmaster accepts its responsibility as being the first line in defense against bots in our industry.”
– Sarah Elbeshbishi
Senate set to hold hearing following Taylor Swift Ticketmaster drama
The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to hold a hearing Tuesday to examine the lack of competition within the ticketing industry following outrage among Taylor Swift fans after Ticketmaster’s disastrous handling of the artist’s concert ticket sales.
The hearing is likely to delve into Ticketmaster’s ticket selling and pricing practices, specifically referencing the company’s recent string of ticket sale issues, as well as its effect on other ticketing companies and consumers due to its monopolized hold of the market.
The committee is set to hear from a variety of witnesses, including Joe Berchtold, the president and CFO of Live Nation Entertainment. Ticketmaster and Live Nation merged in 2010 despite immense scrutiny.
— Sarah Elbeshbishi
Taylor Swift ticket problems: Taylor Swift Ticketmaster debacle ramps up federal concerns, fans about tour tickets
Jan. 6 panel refers Trump for criminal prosecution
The Jan. 6 committee is urging the Justice Department to bring criminal charges against Donald Trump and his allies, wrapping up its investigation of the violent 2021 Capitol insurrection with what lawmakers called a “roadmap to justice.” (Dec. 19)
Biden schedule today
As Congress returns to work, President Joe Biden is courting lawmakers today with a series of events at the White House.
He will host Democratic congressional leaders at 3 p.m., and a reception for new members of Congress at 5:20 p.m.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre will hold a press briefing at 1:30 p.m.
— Holly Rosenkrantz