A growing number of state Republican lawmakers in Georgia are examining ways to stop Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis from prosecuting former President Donald Trump after she indicted him and 18 others over racketeering allegations linked to the 2020 election.
“Soon after the indictment against Trump and others was filed, discussions were underway to have Willis removed from office or face investigations and impeachment hearings over allegations of a partisan probe against the former president and frontrunner in the 2024 GOP primary,” Newsweek noted on Wednesday.
One move some GOP lawmakers are considering is using a law signed by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in May that would allow them to establish a new commission with the authority to remove local prosecutors who are deemed unable to fulfill their “constitutional and statutory duties.”
In a statement released then, Kemp’s office said that the creation of the Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission (PAQC), which is set to begin receiving complaints about prosecutors starting from October 1, will function as a “valuable oversight mechanism” for district attorneys within the state.
“As hardworking law enforcement officers routinely put their lives on the line to investigate, confront, and arrest criminal offenders, I won’t stand idly by as they’re met with resistance from rogue or incompetent prosecutors who refuse to uphold the law,” Kemp said.
“The creation of the PAQC will help hold prosecutors driven by out-of-touch politics than commitment to their responsibilities accountable and make our communities safer,” he added.
After the measure was signed into law, four district attorneys filed a lawsuit to have it struck down as an alleged violation of the Georgia state constitution and U.S. Constitution, Newsweek reported.
In an August 21 post on Facebook, GOP Georgia state Sen. Clint Dixon said he would call on the PAQC to investigate Willis for allegedly targeting Trump for political purposes and her apparent “unabashed goal to become some sort of leftist celebrity.”
“Once the Prosecutorial Oversight Committee is appointed in October, we can call on them to investigate and take action against Fani Willis and her efforts that weaponize the justice system against political opponents,” Dixon wrote.
“This is our best measure, and I will be ready to call for that investigation,” he noted further.
Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp rejected calls from several state Republican officials last week for a special legislative session to possibly impeach DA Willis after Trump and 18 co-defendants were indicted on felony charges as part of her investigation into alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
Kemp stated at a news conference that he had previously rejected requests for a special session of the state General Assembly to annul the results of the 2020 election “because such an action would have been unconstitutional.”
Kemp stressed that he has not “seen any evidence” that Willis’ actions were unlawful.
“Let me be clear: We have a law in the state of Georgia that clearly outlines the legal steps that can be taken if constituents believe their local prosecutors are violating their oath by engaging in unethical or illegal behavior. Up to this point, I have not seen any evidence that DA Willis’ actions, or lack thereof, warrant action by the Prosecuting Attorney Oversight Commission,” Kemp said.
Kemp said a special session to impeach Willis is “not feasible and may ultimately prove to be unconstitutional.”
“The bottom line is that in the state of Georgia as long as I’m governor, we’re going to follow the law and the Constitution, regardless of who it helps and harms politically,” he continued. “Over the last few years, some inside and outside of this building may have forgotten that. But I can assure you that I have not.”
Kemp added: “In Georgia, we will not be engaging in political theater that only inflames the moment’s emotions. We will do what is right. We will uphold our oath to public service. And it is my belief that our state will be better off for it.”