‘Clown!’: Fani Willis continues to clap back at Republicans, vows she won’t be ‘broken’

“It doesn't do anything but motivate me to continue to work and to work hard,” said the Fulton County district attorney.

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 01: Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis looks on during a hearing in the case of the State of Georgia v. Donald John Trump at the Fulton County Courthouse on March 1, 2024, in Atlanta, Georgia. The hearing is to determine whether Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis should be removed from the case because of a relationship with Nathan Wade, special prosecutor she hired in the election interference case against former President Donald Trump. (Photo by Alex Slitz-Pool/Getty Images)

Fani Willis, the Fulton County district attorney prosecuting Donald Trump, is continuing clapping back at Republicans aligned with the former president as she presses on with her criminal election interference case against the indicted presidential candidate. 

“I’m not someone that’s going to be broken,” said the 52-year-old progressive prosecutor during a Monday evening interview on MSNBC. She told host Rachel Maddow that she is not backing down amid federal and statewide investigations lodged by Republicans and numerous death threats.

Rather than quit, Willis, who won her primary race for reelection in Atlanta on Tuesday night, said the obstacles she faces from conservatives have made her develop “thicker skin,” be “more resilient,” and “dig deeper” in her pursuit of justice.

“It doesn’t do anything but motivate me to continue to work and to work hard,” she said. 

Willis became a household name when she launched a criminal probe into Trump and his allies for their alleged efforts to overturn the state’s results in the 2020 presidential election. On Aug. 14, 2023, she officially charged them with various felonies, including conspiracy to commit election fraud. 

Since then, Georgia Republicans on the state level created a special committee charged with investigating local prosecutors. Critics say the group’s sole purpose was to retaliate against Willis. 

“Apparently, we now need Daddy to tell us how to do our job,” Willis said Monday of the legislative scrutiny, which she argued was the result of voters electing 14 minority district attorneys. 

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis speaks during a news conference at the Fulton County Government building on Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2023, in Atlanta, Georgia. Willis spoke about the 13 charges former President Donald Trump received after a Georgia grand jury indicted him on charges for interfering with Georgia’s election results in 2020. (Photo by Joshua Lott/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Similarly, the Georgia Senate formed a committee to investigate allegations of legal and ethical misconduct related to Willis’ past relationship with the Trump case’s former appointed special prosecutor, Nathan Wade. It is not against Georgia law for a district attorney to be romantically involved with an appointee. 

Kendra Cotton, CEO of the New Georgia Project Action Fund, told theGrio that Georgia Republicans’ focus on prosecutors in the metro Atlanta area – which is largely Black and brown – implies that “surely [the prosecutors] aren’t following the rules as they should, when in fact, when you do see improprieties in our state, they tend to be in more conservative, less sparsely populated areas.”

Willis dismissed the Republicans’ probes, maintaining, “They have decided to follow this clown’s lead, and they want to now try to interfere in an investigation,” referring to U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. 

Jordan, a close Trump ally, opened up a federal investigation of Willis and demanded her office turn over documents related to its funding. 

“Jim Jordan has time after time after time, attacked my office with no legitimate purpose,” said Willis. “Anyone who knows Jim Jordan’s history knows that he only has the purpose of trying to interfere in a criminal investigation.”

The Fulton County DA called out the congressman for not tending to his own Ohio district, which has “one of the worst crime rates” and “poverty issues.”

“What DA Willis saying is … you don’t reside in any of Georgia’s 159 counties, so what are you over here in my backyard, trying to tell me that my grass is too high? Worry about yours,” said Cotton. “He is trying to weaponize his power against this duly elected official in the state of Georgia, all because his friend is being prosecuted.”

Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) delivers his opening statement as former Special Counsel Robert K. Hur testifies before the House Judiciary Committee on March 12, 2024, in Washington, D.C. Hur investigated U.S. President Joe Biden’s mishandling of classified documents and published a final report with contentious conclusions about Biden’s memory. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Cotton said it was ironic that Republicans claim Trump’s ongoing criminal case is the result of an unfair legal system when Black and brown communities who said the same for years have been told to “believe in the judicial system.”

“But now, all of a sudden, it’s unfair — because it’s Trump,” she argued. “Let the judicial system work. That’s what you’ve been telling us all this time.”

Willis also opened up about the numerous death threats she has received while in office as a result of her prosecution of Trump. 

“Those threats come in the way of emails, or threats come in the way of phone calls. Text messages, any which way you can imagine,” shared Willis, who now maintains a 24-hour security detail. 

“It’s a very interesting way to live, but it’s well worth it to have the honor of being the first female district attorney in Fulton County,” she said.

Cotton noted that threats of physical violence are a decades-old tactic to “deter people from wanting to serve in public office, and particularly Black women.” 

“If I’m looking at Stacey Abrams. If I’m looking at DA Willis … I’m like, ‘Man, I don’t want to be fooling with that mess’ … this has been going on since the days of Fannie Lou Hamer,” she said. 

Willis said aside from her prosecution of Trump, conservatives are bothered by the work of her office because she has been successful at her job.  

“I have the third-largest crime drop in America. We have it because we’re taking a balanced approach,” she explained. Willis maintained her office is “unapologetically going after gangs and violent criminals and anyone who should violate the law in my county.” However, she added that the DA’s office is also running programs to help defendants rehabilitate.

Ultimately, Willis remains undeterred and is determined to press on. “It has been a huge sacrifice,” she said, “but it’s well worth it for my community.”

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