AJC Breakdown: ‘The Trump Grand Jury’

New podcast season launches Monday

The ninth season of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Breakdown podcast launches Monday. “The Trump Grand Jury” will focus on an ongoing investigation into what former President Donald Trump and his allies did in Georgia in the weeks following the 2020 presidential election.

This season’s first episode examines the Jan. 2, 2021, phone call Trump had with Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, in which the former president claimed he had won “very substantially” in Georgia. In fact, Trump told Raffensperger he believed he won Georgia “by hundreds of thousands of votes,” even though recounts showed he lost to President Joe Biden by 11,779 votes.

And, during the call, the president famously told Raffensperger he wanted “to find 11,780 votes,” exactly one more than was needed to overturn the election results.

A special purpose grand jury has been convened in Fulton County by District Attorney Fani Willis. It is hearing testimony and will ultimately recommend whether Willis should or should not seek criminal charges against Trump and his allies.

No former president has ever been indicted for a crime, so this case is almost certainly one for the history books.

Over the course of its ninth season, Breakdown will explore the Georgia criminal statutes that may have been violated. It will explain what a special purpose grand jury can do. It will provide in-depth background of the key players. And it will consider the over-arching question looming over the case: Is there proof of criminal intent?

The Breakdown podcast will feature interviews with some legal experts who say they believe Trump committed a crime during his hour-long phone conversation with Raffensperger. Others, on both sides of the political spectrum, will say they believe no laws were broken.

“The Trump Grand Jury” will also look at other phone calls the special purpose grand jury is investigating: Trump’s conversations with the Secretary of State’s lead elections investigator, with Gov. Brian Kemp and with Attorney General Chris Carr. And it will look into the slate of fake Republican electors who convened at the state Capitol on the same day the state’s Democratic presidential electors performed their duties by casting their Electoral College votes for Biden.

The AJC’s legal affairs reporter, Bill Rankin, will return as a host of Season 9 of the Breakdown podcast. He will be joined by senior reporter Tamar Hallerman, who covered the Trump White House when she was the newspaper’s Washington correspondent.

You can download Breakdown from podcasting platforms such as iTunes, Spotify or Stitcher.