U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) looks on during a news conference calling to designate Russia as state sponsor of terrorism, on Capitol Hill, in Washington, U.S., September 14, 2022.
Tom Brenner | Reuters
A federal appeals court on Thursday rejected a request by Sen. Lindsey Graham to block a subpoena for his testimony before a Georgia grand jury investigating former President Donald Trump for criminal interference in the state’s 2020 presidential election.
Graham, R-S.C., had asked the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to stay an order compelling his testimony issued by a federal district judge in Georgia pending his appeal of that decision.
Among other things, the Fulton County grand jury wants to question Graham about phone calls he had with Georgia election officials on the heels of election day in 2020, when Trump and his allies were trying to reverse his loss in that state to President Joe Biden.
“Senator Graham has failed to demonstrate that he is likely to succeed on the merits of his appeal,” the 11th Circuit said in its ruling Thursday.
Graham, an ally of Trump, argued that the subpoena seeking his testimony violated the speech and debate clause of the U.S. Constitution, which protects members of Congress from legal risk from their comments related to legislative business.
But the 11th Circuit dismissed that argument, saying that “Graham has failed to demonstrate that this approach will violate his rights under the Speech and Debate Clause.”
“Even assuming that the Clause protects informal legislative investigations, the district court’s approach ensures that Senator Graham will not be questioned about such investigations,” the appeals court said.
” As the court determined, there is significant dispute about whether his phone calls with Georgia election officials were legislative investigations at all,” the appeals court ruling said.
“The court’s partial quashal enabled a process through which that dispute can be resolved.”
This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.