Trump Pressures Georgia Sec. Of State Brad Raffensperger To ‘Find 11,780 Votes’ To Overturn Election In Call
During an hour-long telephone call on Saturday, President Donald Trump pressured Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, to “find” him enough votes to overturn the presidential election results in the state, after making false claims about his loss for almost nine weeks. Trump went on to vaguely threaten him with “a criminal offense.”
“I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” said Trump.
The call between the two officials was the first-time Raffensperger had talked with Trump directly despite the president’s numerous tweets about him.
Raffensperger rejected the president’s request, standing by the election results in his state and insisting that Trump and his allies were given false information about voter fraud.
During the call, Trump listed many conspiracy theories, including debunked charges that ballots in Fulton County, Ga., were shredded and that voting machines operated by Dominion Voting Systems were tampered with and replaced.
“You should want to have an accurate election. And you’re a Republican,” Trump told Raffensperger, who replied that “we believe that we do have an accurate election.”
Every state in the country has certified its vote, but Trump has continued to make false election allegations. The results of the 2020 race are expected to be certified by Congress during a session on Wednesday despite efforts by some of Trump’s allies in the House and Senate, who claimed they will challenge the results in several states, including Georgia.
Trump said he hoped Raffensperger’s office could address his demands before Tuesday’s Senate runoff election in Georgia, one that will decide the balance of power in the Senate. He is expected to campaign on Monday night for GOP Sen. David Perdue and Sen. Kelly Loeffler.
“The people of Georgia are angry, the people of the country are angry,” the president said. “And there’s nothing wrong with saying that, you know, um, that you’ve recalculated.”
One state law makes it a felony to “solicit, request, command, importune or otherwise attempt to cause another person to engage in election fraud.”
By pressuring and threatening election officials to “find” votes that were not legally cast for him, Trump could be prosecuted under that law.
Many Democrats spoke out on Trump’s phone call on Monday.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris referred to Trump’s pressuring phone call as “the voice of separation,” at a drive-in rally for Georgia’s Democratic Senate candidates in Garden City, Ga. “And it was a bald, bald-faced, bold abuse of power by the president of the United States,” she added.
Sen. Richard Durbin (D–Illinois) and one of the leaders in the Senate, said the call was “more than a pathetic, rambling, delusional rant,” calling the president “unhinged and dangerous” and saying that Trump’s Republican allies “are putting the orderly and peaceful transition of power in our nation at risk.”
Former Republican Speaker Paul Ryan urged his former colleagues on Sunday to rethink their challenge to the results, calling it the most “anti-democratic and anti-conservative act” he could think of.
“The Trump campaign had ample opportunity to challenge election results, and those efforts failed from lack of evidence,” he said. “If states wish to reform their processes for future elections, that is their prerogative. But Joe Biden’s victory is entirely legitimate.”
Trump’s accusation that ballots were scanned three times was revealed as incorrect, Raffensperger pointed out. “We did an audit of that and we proved conclusively that they were not scanned three times,” he told the president.
On Sunday morning, Trump tweeted about his conversation with Raffensperger, claiming that 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!”
Raffensperger responded, tweeting, “Respectfully, President Trump: What you’re saying is not true. The truth will come out.”
Respectfully, President Trump: What you're saying is not true. The truth will come out https://t.co/ViYjTSeRcC
— GA Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (@GaSecofState) January 3, 2021