Update: Stymied by a federal appeals court on Thursday, Sen. Lindsey Graham turned to the Supreme Court on Friday to try to avoid appearing before a grand jury investigating possible efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. The South Carolina Republican filed the emergency request with Justice Clarence Thomas, who handles such issues coming from the 11th Circuit, which turned Graham down this week, per CNN. Thomas could refer the request to the full court. Graham wants the grand jury's subpoena blocked while he appeals a lower court's ruling that he must testify, per the AP. Our story from Thursday follows:
A federal appeals court told Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham on Thursday that he'll have to testify before a grand jury investigating whether former President Donald Trump and his supporters tried to interfere with Georgia voting in the 2020 presidential election. The three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit voted unanimously to reject Graham's request to block the subpoena, affirming a lower court's decision compelling his testimony, CNBC reports. The Trump ally sought to head off his appearance while he appeals the lower court ruling. "Senator Graham has failed to demonstrate that he is likely to succeed on the merits of his appeal," the panel said in its Thursday ruling.
A prosecutor wants to ask Graham before a Fulton County grand jury about a phone call with the state's top election official, as well as conversations with Trump campaign officials, after Election Day 2020. Graham's lawyers argue he called Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger as part of a congressional inquiry; Raffensperger has said Graham pressured him to overturn Trump's election loss in Georgia. The appeals panel wasn't convinced of Graham's contention, per Axios. "As the court determined, there is significant dispute about whether his phone calls with Georgia election officials were legislative investigations at all." The senator's options now are to ask the full appeals court to reconsider the ruling, per the Washington Post, or ask the Supreme Court to take up the matter. (Read more Lindsey Graham stories.)