Georgia governor rejects MAGA push to impeach DA Fani Willis for Trump indictment

‘In Georgia, we will not be engaging in political theatre that only inflames the emotions of the moment’ says Governor Brian Kemp

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Thursday 31 August 2023 21:40 BST
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp spoke with reporters in response to calls for impeachment of Fani Willis

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has pushed back on calls from within the state Republican Party to impeach or defund Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.

“As long as I’m governor, we are going to follow the law and the Constitution – regardless of who it helps politically,” the governor said.

First-term Republican State Senator Colton Moore has been calling for retribution against Ms Willis for leading the prosecution of Donald Trump over allegations of election interference in Georgia in 2020.

“I will force votes on defunding Fani Willis,” Trump-acolyte Mr Moore said. “I represent the people of northwest Georgia. And those people don’t want their tax dollars contributing to this investigation.”

He has called for a special legislative session of the General Assembly to impeach Ms Willis and berated his GOP colleagues for not joining him.

Fellow GOP lawmakers have refused to go along with his scheme, despite being pushed by the former president who said in a video this week that Mr Moore had “courage and conviction” and urged others to get behind him.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday morning at his ceremonial officer, Governor Kemp told reporters: “There have been calls by one individual in the General Assembly and that got outside of these walls by the former president for a special session that would ignore current Georgia law and directly interfere with the proceedings of a separate but equal branch of government.

Brian Kemp
Brian Kemp (AP)

“Up to this point, I have not seen any evidence that DA Willis’s actions or lack thereof warrant action by the prosecuting attorney oversight commission,” he said.

“In my mind, a special session of the General Assembly to end run around this law is not feasible and may ultimately prove to be unconstitutional,” noted the governor.

Further, he said: “In Georgia, we will not be engaging in political theatre that only inflames the emotions of the moment. We will do what is right. We will uphold our oath as public servants and it’s my belief that our state will be better off for it.”

Mr Kemp added that he will be focussing on issues such as cutting taxes and raising teacher pay and pointedly said he is “not focusing on the past or some grifter scam that somebody’s doing to help them raise a few dollars into the campaign account”.

In conclusion, he said: “We just need to be honest with people about what we’re dealing with and not inciting people… we have to be very careful when you’re in power, in government, not to abuse that power, because if you do you set the precedent for the other side.”

Republican Senator Russ Goodman earlier told his constituents in an open letter that Mr Moore had called for the special session to impeach Ms Willis, put it all over social media and did “interview after interview while using the issue to raise money online”.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that he told voters: “I’ll be perfectly frank: I think what he is doing is disingenuous and I’m not going to purposely mislead y’all.”

Mr Moore has labelled fellow Republicans who refused to join his petition for the special session “RINOs”, and allegedly targeted those who spoke out against it robocalls, texts and emails, the outlet reports.

In a recent appearance on Steve Bannon’s War Room podcast, he said: “Do you want a civil war? I don’t want a civil war. I don’t want to have to draw my rifle.”

“I want to make this problem go away with my legislative means of doing so.”

His GOP colleagues disagree, citing the separation of powers, and have also said his belligerent language is doing nothing but damaging the party and helping Democrats

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