US President Donald Trump reportedly urged Georgia’s top election official to recalculate state presidential election results in his favor, while warning official he was taking “a great risk” if it did not comply, according to audio from an hour-long phone call obtained. by the Washington Post.
In Saturday’s call, Trump continued his attempts to overturn election results in Georgia, where President-elect Joe Biden won by 11,779 votes.
Trump refused to concede to Biden, despite a resounding loss in the November 3 election. Attempts to reverse the results in several states have all failed.
Georgia had already carried out several audits and recounts of the result, which confirmed Biden’s victory, and officially certified those results, which will be approved by Congress on January 6.
Still, Trump told Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger during the call, “So look. All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than what we have. Because we have won the state.
At another point in the phone call, Trump told Raffensperger, “The Georgian people are angry, the people of the country are angry… And there is nothing wrong with saying, you know, that you have recalculated.”
Raffensperger replied, “Well, Mr. President, the challenge you have is that the data you have is wrong.”
Since the November 3 election, Trump has repeatedly attacked the way Raffensperger organized the election in Georgia, arguing without evidence that the state’s 16 electoral votes were wrongly attributed to Biden.
During Saturday’s appeal, he called the official a “child” and “dishonest or incompetent” while checking a list of denied allegations.
Trump’s close allies were online during the call, including his Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Conservative lawyer Cleta Mitchell. Raffensperger’s general counsel Ryan Germany was also on call, according to the Washington Post.
The Washington Post said the White House, the Trump campaign and Meadows did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and Raffensperger’s office declined to comment.
On Sunday, before the Post released the recording, Trump tweeted about his call with Raffensperger, writing: ‘He was unwilling, or unable, to answer questions such as the’ bulletins’ scam. the table ‘, the destruction of ballots, out-of-state’ voters’, dead voters, and more. He has no idea!
Raffensperger tweeted a response saying, “Respectfully, President Trump: What you are saying is not true. The truth will come out ”.
Respectfully, President Trump: What you are saying is not true. The truth will come out https://t.co/ViYjTSeRcC
– GA Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (@GaSecofState) January 3, 2021
At another point in the call, Trump suggested that if Raffensperger and Germany do not find thousands of illegally destroyed ballots in Fulton County, of which there is no evidence of their execution, c ‘is a “criminal offense”.
“And you can’t let that happen. It’s a big risk for you and for Ryan, your lawyer, ”Trump said.
Alan Fisher of Al Jazeera, reporting from Atlanta, Georgia, called the recording “perhaps the most remarkable piece of audio to come out of the Oval Office of the White House since the Nixon tapes in the 1970s” .
The call came weeks after the Electoral College vote on December 14, officially giving Biden 306 electoral votes – well above the threshold of 270 needed to win – based on his electoral victories in different states.
Trump has since backed an offer by some Republican lawmakers to oppose the results when Congress meets to certify the results on Jan.6 – the final step in formalizing Biden’s victory. This plot is virtually guaranteed to fail as both houses are expected to vote to oppose the results. Democrats currently have a majority in the House.
“It is frankly mind-boggling that the president is making these statements so late,” Fisher said. “But the reality is that the claims he’s making here in Georgia just have no factual basis and that has been proven time and time again.
In a report from Washington, DC, Al Jazeera’s Shihab Rattansi added that the debate over Trump’s statements – and whether they could cause him legal trouble – would come down to whether his words amounted to direct electoral fraud orders.
“I think morally you could see this as some kind of attempt to pressure, but when it comes to the law, and what exactly is rhetorically allowed or in fact as a direct order, it can be zones gray, ”he said. .
Georgia is expected to hold two Senate polls on Tuesday, which will decide which party controls the chamber.
Trump, who will campaign to support Republican candidates in Georgia on Monday, said on the call that he would continue to highlight allegations of fraud during the event.
Trump also told Raffensperger he hurt the Republican’s chances of victory by refusing to comply with his demands.