US President Donald Trump has repeatedly urged Georgia’s top election official to change the state’s presidential vote count to secure his victory over Joe Biden, in one of his most brazen attempts to hang on in power.
In an hour-long call with Georgian Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Saturday, Mr Trump urged him to ‘find’ the 11,780 votes he would need to win the state, insisting that ‘there was “no way” that he would be defeated.
“The Georgian people are angry, the people of the country are angry,” Trump said, according to excerpts from the conversation posted on the Washington Post website. “And there’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, uh, you’ve recalculated.”
Since the November 3 general election, Mr. Trump has refused to cede the White House to Mr. Biden. He made a series of unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud in the Swing States that determined the outcome and orchestrated a barrage of unsuccessful court challenges against the vote count.
With less than three weeks before Mr. Trump hands the White House to Mr. Biden, the outgoing president is also backing the efforts of some of his staunchest Republican allies to block the certification of his opponent’s victory in a Congress vote in Washington on Wednesday.
Mr. Trump’s pressure was forcefully rejected by Mr. Raffensperger, a Republican official who backed Georgia’s vote count showing Mr. Biden as the winner.
“Mr President, the challenge you have is that the data you have is wrong,” Mr Raffensperger said on the call.
At one point in the call, Mr. Trump asked Mr. Raffensperger and Ryan Germany, one of his key associates, if it was “possible” that the ballots were “shredded” in the county. of Fulton and whether Dominion, the voting processor, had removed some of their machines to escape scrutiny. Mr. Germany said he was “sure” Dominion had not removed any machines.
After Mr Raffensperger said Georgia believed it had secured ‘a precise election’, Mr Trump stepped up his attack on him, saying it was ‘not even close’ and the state was lost by “hundreds of thousands of votes”.
“You know what you did and you don’t report it. It is a criminal offense. You can’t let this happen. It’s a big risk for you and for Ryan, your lawyer. It’s a big risk, ”Mr. Trump added threateningly. “I inform you that you let this happen.”