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Updated: A Foley & Lardner partner who participated in the Saturday phone call between President Donald Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is no longer with her law firm.
“Cleta Mitchell has informed firm management of her decision to resign from Foley & Lardner effective immediately,” said firm spokesman Dan Farrell in a statement provided to Bloomberg Law on Tuesday afternoon. “Ms. Mitchell concluded that her departure was in the firm’s best interests, as well as in her own personal best interests. We thank her for her contributions to the firm and wish her well.”
Foley & Lardner had responded Monday to reports that Mitchell was involved in Trump’s post-election challenges, saying it was “concerned by” her actions.
The firm issued its Monday statement after the Washington Post released audio from the call, during which Trump repeatedly asked Raffensperger to “find” the votes needed to make him the winner of the state.
Foley decided in November not to represent any party involved in challenging the results of the presidential election but does permit its attorneys “to participate in observing election recounts and similar actions on a voluntary basis in their individual capacity as private citizens so long as they did not act as legal advisers,” the firm said in its statement.
“We are aware of, and are concerned by, Ms. Mitchell’s participation in the Jan. 2 conference call and are working to understand her involvement more thoroughly.”
The Hill reports that Mitchell was one of several lawyers on the call and questioned Raffensperger about his conclusion that President-elect Joe Biden won the most votes in Georgia.
“You have data and records that we don’t have access to, and you keep telling us and making public statements that you’ve investigated this and, you know, nothing to see here,” Mitchell said, according to a transcript published by the Washington Post and cited by the Hill. “But we don’t know about that. All we know is what you tell us.”
According to Law.com, Mitchell was previously counsel to Trump. In separate appearances on Fox News, she claimed that Trump had proof of election fraud and that Biden didn’t win the presidential election.
Mitchell joined Foley in 2001, working as co-counsel to the National Rifle Association in the U.S. Supreme Court case McConnell v. FEC and as legal counsel to the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee, Law.com reports.
The New York Times also reports that although she registered as a Republican in 1996, Mitchell started her political career as a Democrat and served in the Oklahoma House of Representatives for nearly a decade. She unsuccessfully campaigned for lieutenant governor in 1986 before coming to Washington, D.C.
Mitchell’s involvement in Trump’s post-election challenges has led to public outcry against Foley, as the Lincoln Project, a group founded by Republicans opposed to Trump, posted the phone numbers of its Milwaukee and Washington, D.C., offices and asked its nearly 3 million Twitter followers to make calls, according to Law.com.
The Lincoln Project also targeted Jones Day and Porter Wright Morris & Arthur after they became involved in the initial post-election lawsuits on behalf of the Republican Party. The firms dropped their clients.
Updated at 4:06 p.m. after news of Mitchell’s resignation was made public.