Trump calls Georgia's top official, demands to overturn election results
Outgoing United States President Donald Trump directed the top election official in Georgia to "find enough votes" to change the poll outcome in an extraordinary phone call on Saturday, excerpts of which were released by the Washington Post on Sunday. He told Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, that he didn't lose to President-elect Joe Biden, a claim refuted by the fellow Republican. Here's more.
As per WaPo, during the hour-long conversation, Trump "berated" Raffensperger, tried flattering him, begged as well, and then threatened him with criminal consequences if he didn't support his claims. Trump was convinced his roughly 12,000-vote loss was malicious. "The people of Georgia are angry, the people of the country are angry. And there's nothing wrong with saying, you know, that you've recalculated," he said.
Trump repeatedly said he won Georgia, a statement that shows his unwillingness to accept the results of the November elections. "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," he said at one point. "There's no way I lost Georgia," he asserted.
"Fellas, I need 11,000 votes. Give me a break. We have that in spades already. Or we can keep it going. But that's not fair to the voters of Georgia," Trump, who has floated conspiracy theories about the results, stated.
Trump's allies, including White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and conservative lawyer Cleta Mitchell, also participated in the call. Mitchell said Raffensperger's office made incorrect statements over the last two months. "Everyone involved with the efforts on behalf of the President's election challenge has said the same thing: show us your records on which you rely to make these statements that our numbers are wrong," she reportedly added.
Taking a threatening tone, Trump told Raffensperger and Ryan Germany, his General Counsel, that if they fail to find thousands of votes in Fulton County, they could invite criminal liability. Trump has made unfounded allegations that ballots in Fulton County were "destroyed" to derail the investigation. "That's a criminal offense. That's a big risk to you and to Ryan, your lawyer," Trump warned.
The transcript shows Raffensperger responded to almost every question Trump and his team had while sticking to the state's results. He exuded determination by saying, "We have to stand by our numbers. We believe our numbers are right." At one point he told Trump, "Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is the data you have is wrong."
On Sunday morning, Trump took to Twitter to reveal he had a conversation with Raffensperger. "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!" Trump wrote.
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
Soon, after details of the conversation surfaced, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris slammed Trump. "Have y'all heard about that recorded conversation?" she asked attendees of a drive-thru rally in Savannah, Georgia. "Well it was, yes, certainly, the voice of desperation, most certainly that, and it was a bald, bald-faced, bold abuse of power by the President of the United States," she added.