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investigations

Georgia's secretary of state opens probe into Trump's phone calls

The office of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger launched an investigation on Monday into phone calls former President Donald Trump made to state election officials during an attempt to overturn the presidential election results.

Walter Jones, a spokesman for Raffensperger's office, confirmed to ABC News that the investigation has begun, and said the inquiry will be "fact-finding and administrative in nature." The probe was triggered on Monday after George Washington University law professor John Banzhaf filed a formal complaint, saying Trump may have violated three Georgia state laws: conspiracy to commit election fraud, criminal solicitation to commit election fraud, and intentional interference with performance of election duties.

Trump, who lost Georgia to President Biden, subsequently made calls to Raffensperger and the secretary of state's chief investigator in his quest to overturn the results. In a recording made on Jan. 2, Trump is heard asking Raffensperger to "find" 11,780 votes — the exact number he would need to win the state.

Once the investigation is finished, the State Election Board will decide whether a criminal referral should be sent to the state attorney general or Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who has said Trump's call to Raffensperger was "deeply disturbing." She also stated that "anyone who commits a felony violation of Georgia law in my jurisdiction will be held accountable." People close to Willis told ABC News even if the case is not referred to her, she might still pursue her own investigation.