The Georgia state Senate should not be treated like Trump’s kangaroo court

We’re witnessing a concerted effort by Trump and MAGA Republican politicians to cast doubt on the legitimate and strong Fulton County election interference case by attacking the prosecutor.

Despite a judge’s ruling that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis can continue prosecuting Georgia’s election interference case, the relentless campaign to attack her and discredit the case against former president Donald Trump continues full-steam ahead.

Through a barrage of dubious accusations, Trump and his allies seek to tarnish Willis’ reputation, delegitimize the judicial process and the rule of law, and distract from the substantive facts of the case.

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Rome, submitted complaints against Willis to the Georgia Ethics Commission. U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, subpoenaed her through the U.S. House Judiciary Committee and has continued investigating her. A Republican Fulton County Commissioner wants to audit her office’s spending.

We’re witnessing a concerted effort by Trump and MAGA Republican politicians to cast doubt on the legitimate and strong Fulton County election interference case by attacking the prosecutor. It’s an effort that takes advantage of every avenue of government power to which Trump’s allies have access. Their goal? Delay accountability for Trump’s alleged attempt to illegally overturn a presidential election.

A Georgia State Senate Special Committee has been formed for the purpose of investigating Willis and the purported misuse of public funds.

In the committee’s first substantive meeting, Ashleigh Merchant, the Trump team defense attorney who unsuccessfully tried to disqualify Willis, testified and produced documents. It quickly became obvious that the meeting would be anything but substantive when Merchant made numerous misleading and false claims, many of which the judge on the election interference case previously deemed irrelevant.

Merchant incorrectly alleged Willis misused funds allocated by the Fulton County Commission to hire outside counsel without the commission’s approval. But this isn’t true. As the head of Georgia’s Prosecuting Attorneys Council has said, “district attorneys don’t need permission to hire special prosecutors.

Merchant also claimed that Willis admitted she borrowed money from her campaign for personal use. But Willis didn’t say that and reporters have corrected this lie on Twitter.

After failing to make the case to disqualify Willis in court, Trump and his allies are instead waging war against her in an alternative arena, one in which they will not be held back by pesky concepts such as “evidence” and “legal standards” and where they will be unencumbered by the necessity for proof.

The committee’s latest meeting focused on the budget process of district attorney offices. Fulton County officials who were called by Senate Republicans on the committee to testify said district attorneys do not need commission approval to hire outside counsel and that the commission doesn’t have authority over how the Fulton County District Attorney’s office uses its budget.

The four-hour meeting, failing to produce evidence supporting the committee’s attacks on Willis, was a waste of time. A review of the Fulton County government website and an email to officials with any follow-up questions would have sufficed.

Finding no evidence, Republican Senators are now threatening Willis with a subpoena if she doesn’t testify. Willis has rightly called out the committee for what it is, an abuse of government power, and refused to participate in its baseless, politically driven spectacle.

This committee has nothing to do with the truth — it’s a kangaroo court that’s fixed the rules in favor of its purpose: advance a narrative beneficial to Donald Trump. It provides Trump’s allies with a venue that feels similar to a courtroom while allowing his dishonest acolytes to spread their claims freely: even claims an actual judge deemed irrelevant to and not sufficient enough to support their legal arguments.

The investigation hasn’t produced a shred of evidence that undermines the indictments against Trump and his co-conspirators in the Fulton County election interference case. Georgia Senate Republicans are wasting public dollars on helping a former president who is facing 88 felony counts escape accountability under the law.

Trump and his allies seek to delegitimize our legal process and any outcomes unfavorable to them, and they’re willing to undermine the rule of law and erode public trust in our judicial system to do it. We can’t let them get away with it.

This joke of an investigative committee should shut down immediately and end its ridiculous probe of the Fulton County District Attorney.

Gloria S. Butler is the Democratic leader is the Georgia state Senate. Harold V. Jones II, a Democrat, represents Augusta in the Georgia state Senate. Jason Esteves, a Democrat, represents parts of Fulton and Cobb counties in the Georgia Senate.