Trump pressures Georgia election official to ‘find’ more votes for him
(CN) — During an hour long phone call with Georgia’s Republican secretary of state on Saturday, President Donald Trump threatened that he should “find” enough votes to overturn his defeat in the Peach State, which he lost to President-elect Joe Biden by 11,779 votes.
“So look. All I want to do is this,” the president said in a recording of the call first obtained by The Washington Post. “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.”
The president has refused to accept his defeat, carrying out several conspiracy-based lawsuits attempting to subvert the election results. Despite Trump’s far-fetched claims of voting fraud, his campaign attorneys have failed to convince any court that the election results were illegitimate.
Saturday’s phone call was listened in on by White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Cleta Mitchell, a conservative lawyer.
During the call, President Trump repeated several of his conspiracy theories about the election to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, only to be rebuffed by Ryan Germany, Raffensperger’s counsel.
“The people of Georgia are angry, the people in the country are angry,” Trump said. “And there’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, um, that you’ve recalculated.”
“Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is, the data you have is wrong,” Raffensperger replied.
Trump insisted repeatedly throughout the call that he had won the state, claiming, “We won by hundreds of thousands of votes.” He falsely claimed that dead people had voted, thousands of out-of-state voters returned to illegally vote and an election worker scanned 18,000 forged ballots multiple times. There is no evidence of any of those occurring.
“So tell me, Brad, what are we going to do? We won the election, and it’s not fair to take it away from us like this,” the president said. “And it’s going to be very costly in many ways. And I think you have to say that you’re going to reexamine it, and you can reexamine it, but reexamine it with people that want to find answers, not people who don’t want to find answers.”
Trump told Raffensperger that he would likely cost Republicans in Tuesday’s runoff elections for the U.S. Senate.
At one point during the conversation, President Trump threatened Raffensperger and Germany with a vague criminal charge.
“You know what they did and you’re not reporting it,” Trump said. “You know, that’s a criminal — that’s a criminal offense. And you know, you can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you and to Ryan, your lawyer. That’s a big risk.”
The president became angry at Raffensperger for refusing to alter the vote results, calling him “either dishonest or incompetent” and a “child.” Trump also mentioned Democrat Stacey Abrams, who is credited with turning out the vote in Georgia.
“Stacey Abrams is laughing about you,” he said. “She’s going around saying, ‘These guys are dumber than a rock.’ What she’s done to this party is unbelievable, I tell you.”
At one point, Trump asked Germany to affirm his conspiracies, which Germany rebuffed.
“Do you think it’s possible that they shredded ballots in Fulton County? ’Cause that’s 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,” Trump said.
“No, Dominion has not moved any machinery out of Fulton County,” Germany replied.
“But have they moved the inner parts of the machines and replaced them with other parts?” Trump asked.
“No,” Germany said.
“Are you sure? Ryan?” Trump said.
“I’m sure. I’m sure, Mr. President,” Germany replied.
The president on Sunday confirmed he spoke with Raffenberger.
“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 tweeted.
“Respectfully, President Trump: What you’re saying is not true. The truth will come out,” Raffensperger replied on Twitter.