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Georgia district attorney calls for FBI security help after Trump's rally comments

Former President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Conroe, Texas, on Saturday.
Brandon Bell
/
Getty Images
Former President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Conroe, Texas, on Saturday.

A Georgia prosecutor who's investigating former President Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election in the state has requested FBI security assistance after Trump at a weekend rally decried investigations of him and called for protests if "prosecutors do anything wrong or illegal."

In a letter Sunday, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis asked the FBI's Atlanta field office to "immediately conduct a risk assessment of the Fulton County Courthouse and Government Center, and that you provide protective resources to include intelligence and federal agents."

Willis was recently granted a special grand jury for her office's criminal probe into the efforts of Trump and his allies to overturn the election results in Georgia.

Speaking on Saturday night in Texas, Trump said:

"If these radical, vicious, racist prosecutors do anything wrong or illegal, I hope we are going to have in this country the biggest protests we have ever had in Washington, D.C., in New York, in Atlanta and elsewhere because our country and our elections are corrupt.

...

"It really is prosecutorial misconduct at the highest level. These prosecutors are vicious, horrible people. They're racist and they're very sick. They're mentally sick. They're going after me without any protection of my rights by the Supreme Court or most other courts. In reality they're not after me — they're after you — and I just happen to be the person that's in the way. That's what they're after. It's been going on for years."

The comments are part of a broader pattern by Trump, who has for years deployed language to victimize himself and enrage his supporters to believe that they have been aggrieved by a system that favors Democrats and racial minorities over Republican-leaning white Americans. Willis is Black.

The district attorney said in her letter to the FBI:

"Security concerns were escalated this weekend by the rhetoric of former President Trump at a public event in Conroe, Texas that was broadcast and covered by national media outlets and shared widely on social media. His statements were undoubtedly watched by millions.

"This rhetoric is more alarming in light of his statements at the same event regarding those convicted of crimes, including violence, for actions at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021. He stated that if elected President in 2024, he may pardon people who have been convicted of crimes related to illegal acts related to the attack in the U.S. Capitol."

The deadly Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol was preceded by a nearby Trump rally, and his supporters had been egged on by Trump and his lie that the election had been stolen from him as a result of ballot malfeasance and interference from powerful, Democratic-aligned forces.

The Fulton County special grand jury is set to convene on May 2.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Alana Wise
Alana Wise is a politics reporter on the Washington desk at NPR.