Listen to Season 9 of the AJC’s ‘Breakdown’ podcast

‘The Trump Grand Jury’ follows the Fulton investigation into the former president’s call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in the wake of the 2020 election.

Former President Donald Trump’s phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Jan. 2, 2021, set into motion one of the biggest legal proceedings in the state’s history. During that call, which included Trump’s chief of staff and some of his lawyers, Trump told Raffensperger to “find” him 11,780 votes to overturn the 2020 election results.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis convened a special purpose grand jury to investigate the actions of Trump and his allies, and to ultimately recommend whether Willis should seek criminal charges.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s award-winning ‘Breakdown’ podcast returns for its ninth season – The Trump Grand Jury – to cover that investigation as well as other events in Georgia that happened in the weeks following Election Day. Legal affairs reporter Bill Rankin returns as the podcast’s host and is joined by senior reporter Tamar Hallerman, who covered the Trump White House when she was the newspaper’s Washington correspondent.

You can download the Breakdown podcast from Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher or your favorite podcasting platform. You can also stream it on your computer from ajc.com at the links below.

EPISODE 1: The Jan. 2nd phone call: Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger was sitting in his kitchen on the afternoon of Jan. 2, 2021, when he received a phone call from the White House. President Donald Trump, his chief of staff and some of his lawyers were on the line. During the conversation, Trump told Raffensperger to “find” him 11,780 votes to overturn the election results. That was one more than the 11,779-vote margin that gave Georgia’s 16 electoral college votes to President Joe Biden and turned Georgia Democratic for the first time since 1992. Episode One explores what happened during the phone call between Trump and Raffensperger as well as another call made to Frances Watson, the Secretary of State’s lead elections investigator. Both conversations were recorded.

EPISODE 2: A force of nature: Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis grew up in courtrooms, tagging along with her father, an attorney. When Willis became a prosecutor, she rose through the ranks at the Fulton DA’s Office prosecuting homicide and sexual assault cases. Now she’s the woman who is overseeing the investigation of former President Donald Trump and his allies. Also, we explain exactly how a special purpose grand jury operates and what it can and cannot do. And we tell listeners how they will know if, after it adjourns, it is recommending criminal charges be brought.

EPISODE 3: Is there a criminal case? Legal experts discuss a number of incidents, including Trump’s Jan. 2, 2021, call to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger; his lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s testimony before state legislative committees; and the slate of fake electors who met in secret at the state Capitol the same day Democrats cast Georgia’s 16 Electoral College votes for Biden. As to whether Trump broke the law, it depends on who you ask.

EPISODE 4: A guilty mind? If a criminal indictment is ultimately brought against Trmp, prosecutors must show criminal intent – that he and others knew what they were doing was illegal and that they meant to break Georgia law. The Jan. 2 phone call is at the heart of the special purpose grand jury’s investigation and legal experts are divided on whether it shows Trump had criminal intent. This episode also looks at the possible defenses the president could raise if an indictment is returned.

EPISODE 5: The out-of-state witness subpoenas: Recapping a busy week, there are a flurry of witnesses coming in to testify about what happened at the state Capitol in the weeks after the November 2020 presidential election. There is a courtroom scuffle over legislative immunity. And there is the issuance of seven out-of-state material witness subpoenas that penetrate former president Trump’s inner circle.

EPISODE 6: One for the history books: We examine past criminal cases involving presidents and vice presidents. One sitting president was placed under arrest for speeding. Two former presidents came extremely close to being indicted, one from an investigation arising from the Watergate scandal, the other from the Whitewater controversy. But no president or former president has ever been indicted.

EPISODE 7: Planting the seeds of truth: Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, and a top aide, Gabe Sterling, sit for an interview about the 2020 presidential election and its aftermath. The episode also examines a surprise ruling that bars DA Fani Willis and her office from calling lieutenant gubernatorial candidate Burt Jones before the grand jury or considering him to be a target of the investigation.

EPISODE 8: Trump’s new legal team: Trump has assembled a legal team to defend him before the Fulton County special purpose grand jury, including Atlanta lawyer Drew Findling, nationally known for representing hip-hop superstars. The episode also covers former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s attempt to delay his testimony before the Fulton grand jury.

EPISODE 9: The pinball machine: The Fulton County DA’s office deals with a flurry of efforts to delay or avoid testifying before the special grand jury. But are these tactics having any effect?

EPISODE 10: Closing In: Mark Meadows, Trump’s former chief of staff, has been served with an out-of-state witness subpoena to appear before the Fulton special grand jury.

EPISODE 11: Will Trump be invited? What are the pros and cons of compelling the former president to testify before the Fulton special purpose grand jury?

EPISODE 12: Breakdown Bonus: What happened in Coffee County: In a special bonus episode, Breakdown hosts ask how the Coffee County elections data breach happened, why news of it first came to light this past May and why state elections officials should be alarmed.