US. U.S. President Donald Trump can be heard on tape telling the Georgia election official to reverse the victory of Joe Biden in the state, suggesting in a phone call that the official “find enough votes” to give the victory to Mr. Trump.
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s phone call on Saturday was the latest step in an unprecedented effort by a sitting U.S. president to reverse the outcome of a free and fair election he lost.
The President, who declined to concede defeat to President-elect Biden, has repeatedly argued that the certified results could be changed by Mr. Raffensperger.
“All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,”This is what I want to do. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. “Because we won the state.”
Prior to certifying Mr. Biden’s win with 11,779 votes, Georgia counted the votes three times. “President Trump, we’ve had several lawsuits, and we’ve had to respond in court to the lawsuits and the allegations. We don’t think you won.”We have had several lawsuits, President Trump, and we have had to respond to the lawsuits and the allegations in court. We don’t think you won.
The Washington Post first posted audio snippets of the conversation online. The Associated Press received from a person on the call the full audio of Mr. Trump’s conversation with Georgia officials.
The renewed involvement of Mr. Trump and the ongoing and baseless accusations of fraud come almost two weeks before he leaves office and two days before the double runoff election in Georgia that will decide U.S. political power Senate.
The president used the hour-long interview to tick off a series of allegations regarding the Georgia election, including that hundreds of thousands of ballots suddenly turned up in Fulton County, which includes Atlanta. Officials said that there was no proof that it had happened.
On the call, Georgia officials are constantly heard pushing back against the president’s statements, telling him that he is relying on unfounded theories and selectively edited footage in one instance.
Mr. Trump appeared at another point in the discussion to threaten Mr. Raffensperger and Ryan Germany, the legal counsel of the Secretary of State, by claiming that both could be held criminally responsible if they did not establish that thousands of ballots in Fulton County had been unlawfully destroyed. No evidence exists to support Mr. Trump’s argument.
“This is a criminal offense,” said Mr. Trump. “And you can’t let that happen.”
Others on the call included Mark Meadows, chief of staff of the White House, and lawyers who support Mr. Trump, including Attorney Cleta Mitchell of Washington.
Democrats and some Republicans denounced Mr. Trump’s actions, while at least one Democrat urged a criminal investigation. Legal experts said the actions of Mr. Trump posed concerns about potential breaches of election laws.
The chief counsel for Biden, Bob Bauer, called the recording “irrefutable evidence” that Trump forced and threatened an official of his own party to “undo a state’s legitimate, certified vote count and fabricate another in its place.”
“It captures the whole, shameful narrative about Donald Trump’s assault on American democracy,” Mr. Bauer said.
Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, the chamber’s number two Democrat, said Mr. Trump’s conduct “deserves nothing less than a criminal investigation.”
In a Sunday post, Mr. Trump confirmed that he had spoken with Mr. Raffensperger. The White House referred questions to the re-election campaign of Mr. Trump, who did not respond on Sunday to an email request for comment. The office of Mr. Raffensperger did not answer a request for comment.
Mr. Trump has repeatedly criticized how Mr. Raffensperger managed Georgia’s elections, arguing without proof that Mr. Biden had been unfairly granted the state’s 16 electoral votes.
Mr. Trump tweeted about Mr. Raffensperger, saying that the state official was “He has no clue!” to answer questions. “was unwilling or unable”
“Respectfully, President Trump: what you say is not true. The truth will come out.”Respectfully, President Trump: what you say is not true. The truth is going to come out.
Various election officials across the country and William Barr, former Attorney General of Mr. Trump, have said that there was no systematic election fraud. Arizona and Georgia’s Republican governors, who were essential to Biden’s victory, have both vouched for the legitimacy of their states’ elections.
Nearly all legal objections to