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There Is No 'Get Out of Jail Free' Card for Trump In Georgia

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

The latest indictment against former President Donald Trump has prompted even more discussions than the previous charges filed against him. Some have speculated that these might be the most dire threats to Trump’s campaign – and to his freedom – so far.

This situation has prompted some on the right to float some rather creative ways to protect the former president from these overtly political prosecutions. However, it still seems most likely that if Trump is going to avoid prosecution, he will have to do so in court.

Georgia State Sen. Colton Moore, in an exclusive statement given to Breitbart, suggested that Republicans should target Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, the official heading up the investigation and prosecution. On Thursday, he sent a letter to Gov. Brian Kemp in which he announced his intention to launch an inquiry into Willis’ investigation that could potentially lead to impeaching her:

The lawmaker’s investigation could lead to defunding Willis’s investigation of Trump and/or ultimately impeaching the district attorney.

“We must strip all funding and, if appropriate, impeach Fani Willis,” Moore said in a statement.

“As a Georgia State Senator, I am officially calling for an emergency session to review the actions of Fani Willis,” he said. “America is under attack. I’m not going to sit back and watch as radical left prosecutors weaponize their elected offices to politically target their opponents.”

An emergency legislative special session can come about two ways in Georgia: First, the governor can call an emergency session. Second, an emergency session can be called if 3/5 of both the legislative chambers sign onto a letter to demand a review of Willis’s actions.

Impeaching Willis would require articles of impeachment to be approved by a majority vote in the state House. At that point, the state Senate would hold a trial in which the district attorney would be allowed to offer a defense. Conviction would take a two-thirds majority vote and then she would be removed from office.

Currently, Georgia’s Senate is made up of 33 Republicans and 23 Democrats, meaning even if all GOP lawmakers voted to remove her, they would not have enough for a two-thirds majority vote. Even if they did manage to persuade some Democrats to go along with the idea, there is no guarantee that Willis’ replacement would stop the prosecution.

The other option would be for Georgia’s government to pardon Trump. In fact, former West Virginia State Rep. Derrick Evans, along with others, encouraged Gov. Kemp to do exactly that:

Georgia Republican Governor Brian Kemp either announces a full pardon for President Trump or he can kiss his political career goodbye.

The MAGA base will never forget nor will we forgive.

There is a snag with this idea. Gov. Kemp does not possess the authority to pardon the former president:

The Governor of Georgia is not granted the constitutional authority to pardon, so Kemp cannot pardon Trump without an amendment to the State Constitution. Pardons are granted by the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles.

Presidents can issue pardons only for federal crimes, and the Georgia indictment involves exclusively state crimes. Trump couldn’t even seek help from the state’s governor, because in Georgia, unlike many other states, the governor cannot issue pardons.

Instead, pardons are issued by the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles, a five-member panel authorized by the state constitution. The board considers applications beginning at least five years after an individual has completed his or her sentence. That timeline differs from the federal system, where presidents can issue pardons before a person has even been prosecuted.

Some responded to this by suggesting that Georgia’s government alter the law to allow Kemp to pardon the former president before he is convicted. However, this presents yet another scenario that is not likely to materialize. Amending the state’s Constitution would require several steps. Amendments would have to be proposed by a constitutional convention or the General Assembly, which includes the House and Senate. Then, it would have to be approved by two-thirds of the General Assembly at which point it would be given to the electors of the state during the next general election. Only when the electors ratify the amendment would the change be made.

To put it simply, neither of these plans is going to work. Even if all Republicans in Georgia supported these efforts – which they certainly will not – they don’t have enough power to deal with Willis or to amend the state’s Constitution. If Trump is going to survive this, he will have to beat the charges in court.

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