Leaked call shows Trump demanding from Georgia officials to “find” votes to tilt election
The request to “find” votes and a veiled reference to criminal liability could violate statutes aimed at guarding against the solicitation of election fraud, legal experts say.REUTERS
U.S. President Donald Trump pushed Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” votes to overturn the election results after his loss to President-elect Joe Biden, according to an audio recording of a phone call obtained by CNN and first reported by the Washington Post.
In excerpts of the stunning one-hour phone call Saturday, Trump lambasted his fellow Republican for refusing to falsely say that he won the election in Georgia and repeatedly touted baseless claims of election fraud, CNN wrote.
“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,” Trump said in one part of the call.
Raffensperger responded, “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.”
“You should want to have an accurate election. And you’re a Republican,” Trump said at one point.
“We believe that we do have an accurate election,” Raffensperger said in response, to which Trump replied, “No, no you don’t. … Not even close. You’re off by hundreds of thousands of votes.”
The audio recording was reported by the Post several hours after Trump said on Twitter that he had spoken to Raffensperger on the phone in an attempt to convince him to look into unfounded conspiracy theories about the vote in November. According to Trump, Raffensperger refused to do so. In response, Raffensperger cryptically delivered a strong message to the President on Sunday.
“Respectfully, President Trump: What you’re saying is not true. The truth will come out,” the tweet read.
As per Politico, 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.
Raffensperger, a Republican and a Trump supporter, has consistently turned back Trump’s claims of voter fraud in Georgia. He has overseen three different recounts of the vote and conducted several other reviews of the process. He recently tasked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation with conducting an audit of the signature match system in Cobb County that determined the system was 99.9% accurate and revealed no evidence of fraud.