US President Donald Trump waits to speak on the phone with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar to congratulate him on his recent election victory in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, DC, on June 27, 2017. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP)        (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)
Tape reveals Trump asked official to 'find' votes to overturn election (2021)
04:10 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has begun testifying before a special grand jury investigating former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results.

Raffensperger arrived roughly half an hour before his scheduled testimony on Thursday, saying it would be “hopefully short” on his way into the courthouse.

The Republican is a central witness in Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ investigation, which kicked off after Raffensperger’s infamous January 2021 call with the former President came to light. During the call, Trump pressured Raffensperger to “find” the votes necessary for Trump to win Georgia – a state Joe Biden won by nearly 12,000 votes.

Raffensperger, who faced a wave of death threats for upholding Georgia’s election results, later penned a book in which he noted that he had repeatedly felt threatened by Trump during the call.

Trump has said it was a “perfect call.”

In addition to Raffensperger’s testimony, investigators subpoenaed documents from the Georgia secretary of state’s office pertaining to the Trump-Raffensperger call, the 2020 election audit and hand count, a forensic audit of Dominion voting equipment and the transcript from a Georgia Senate election hearing that featured an appearance from former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

Willis has also subpoenaed Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr as well as several other state election officials to appear as witnesses before the special grand jury.

While Willis has been investigating Trump’s efforts to upend Georgia’s election results for well over a year, a special grand jury was finally selected in May to begin issuing subpoenas and hearing evidence in the case. With Raffensperger seeking reelection, Willis held off on calling for him to testify until after Georgia’s GOP primary last month, where Raffensperger defeated his primary opponent Rep. Jody Hice.

Willis is investigating potential crimes, including the solicitation of election fraud, conspiracy, racketeering, making false statements to state and local government bodies and violence or threats related to election administration.

When the special grand jury completes its work, it will issue a report with a recommendation on whether Trump or any of his allies should face charges. If the panel recommends charges, Willis can go to one of the regularly impaneled grand juries in Fulton County to seek an indictment.

CNN’s Niah Humphrey contributed to this report.