In an extraordinary phone call on Saturday, President Donald Trump pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” the votes to overturn his loss in the November election to President-elect Joe Biden.
First reported by The Washington Post, the stunning one hour call saw Trump repeating baseless conspiracies and unfounded or debunked claims of voter fraud. Audio of the call was reported just hours after Trump tweeted that he had spoken to Mr. Raffensperger and that “he was unwilling or unable to answer questions” that Trump had posed to him regarding election fraud.
I spoke to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger yesterday about Fulton County and voter fraud in Georgia. He was unwilling, or unable, to answer questions such as the “ballots under table” scam, ballot destruction, out of state “voters”, dead voters, and more. He has no clue!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2021
Secretary Raffensperger replied via tweet: “Respectfully, President Trump: What you’re saying is not true. The truth will come out.” Hours later, audio clips of the call were posted, followed by the full call and transcripts.
In one part of the call, Trump tells Raffensperger, “The people of Georgia are angry, the people of the country are angry. And there’s nothing wrong with saying that, you know, um, that you’ve recalculated.” Raffensperger responds, “Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is, the data you have is wrong.”
In another part, Trump said, “So look. All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.”
The president also accused Georgia officials of knowing about election interference but not reporting it. “That’s a criminal offense,” Trump said. “And you can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you and to Ryan, your lawyer. That’s a big risk.”
Trump also insinuated that Georgia’s Republican Senators could lose their runoff elections on Tuesday because Republican voters may not vote.
“You have a big election coming up,” Trump said. “Because of what you’ve done to the president, a lot of people aren’t going out to vote. And a lot of Republicans are going to vote negative, because they hate what you did to the president.”
During the call, he also takes shots at Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and former candidate for governor, Stacy Abrams. “Look. Stacey, in my opinion, Stacey is as dishonest as they come,” Trump said. Several times throughout the call, Trump says, “There’s no way I lost Georgia,” as if he is trying to make himself believe it.
Legal experts say the combination of Trump’s request to “find” a specific number of votes — just enough to put him ahead of Biden — and his veiled reference to criminal liability for Raffensperger and his aides could violate federal and state statutes aimed at guarding against the solicitation of election fraud.
President Trump attempts to pressure Georgia's Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to overturn his defeat in an extraordinary hour-long call pic.twitter.com/C7uUfZWjM2
— Poli Alert (@polialertcom) January 3, 2021