President Donald Trump pressured and threatened Georgia’s secretary of state Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to overturn the election results in the state in a bombshell phone call recording on Saturday.
The Washington Post released excerpts of the hour-long phone call on Sunday.
The phone call is the latest attempt by Mr. Trump to overturn the results of an election he lost and is an unprecedented effort by a sitting president to pressure a state official to reverse the results of an election held in the state.
“The people of Georgia are angry. The people in the country are angry,” Trump said in the call. “And there’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, um, that you’ve recalculated.”
Raffensperger responded, “Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is the data you have is wrong.”
Mr. Trump has refused to accept the results of the election, citing unfounded claims of voter fraud. Georgia issued recounts three different times and the result each time was Joe Biden winning the Peach State. The President lost Georgia by 11,779 votes and that led Mr. Trump to ask Raffensperger to find one more vote.
“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.
Mr. Trump has been pushing state legislatures to appoint pro-Trump slates of electors since his election loss in November but has come up short. He also went as far as to pressure Georgia and Arizona officials to outright refuse to accept the results of the election, again, basing his claims on unproven voter fraud.
President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team released a statement on Sunday, calling the attempt by the President “irrefutable proof” of Mr. Trump’s latest challenge to overturn the results.
“We now have irrefutable proof of a president pressuring and threatening an official of his own party to get him to rescind a state’s lawful, certified vote count and fabricate another in its place,” Biden senior adviser Bob Bauer said in a statement. “It captures the whole, disgraceful story about Donald Trump’s assault on American democracy.”
Elsewhere in the conversation, Mr. Trump appeared to threaten Raffensperger and his staff, suggesting both could be criminally liable if they do not find Trump votes to give the President the win.
“That’s a criminal offense,” Trump says. “And you can’t let that happen. There’s no way I lost Georgia. There’s no way. We won by hundreds of thousands of votes.”
Mr. Trump then cited several unproven conspiracy theories at Raffensperger.
“Do you think it’s possible that they shredded ballots in Fulton County?” Trump said. “Because that is what the rumor is. And also that Dominion took out machines. That Dominion is really moving fast to get rid of their, uh, machinery. Do you know anything about that? Because that’s illegal.”
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris campaigned in Georgia for Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff just 48 hours ahead of the Senate runoff election. She spoke out against Mr. Trump and his latest effort to sway an election he lost in his favor.
“Have y’all heard about that recorded conversation?” Harris said. “It was yes, certainly the voice of desperation … and it was a bald-faced, bold abuse of power by the President of the United States.”