Two Democratic members of the House of Representatives, Ted Lieu of California and Kathleen Rice of New York, have sent a formal criminal referral to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) asking Director Christopher Wray to open an investigation into Donald Trump’s effort to coerce Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger into illegally overturning the presidential election results in that state.
Lieu and Rice’s request comes the day after the bomb-shell Washington Post report of Trump’s hour-long telephone call with Raffensperger in which the president repeatedly pressured the Georgia official to “find” the number of votes necessary to change to the election results to give him a second term.
Their letter to Wray alleges that Trump committed both federal and state crimes during the call with Raffensperger, in which Chief of Staff Mark Meadows also participated. “The President of the United States, in an approximately one-hour long phone call, threatened and berated Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to ‘find 11,780 votes’ to overturn the President’s defeat in the state. Mr. Trump also made a number of other statements soliciting election fraud, such as telling Mr. Raffensperger: ‘And there’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, um, that you’ve recalculated.’ The recording of that phone conversation has been publicly released. As Members of Congress and former prosecutors, we believe Donald Trump engaged in solicitation of, or conspiracy to commit, a number of election crimes. We ask you to open an immediate criminal investigation into the President.”
The referral concludes, “The evidence of election fraud by Mr. Trump is now in broad daylight. The prima facie elements of the above crimes have been met. Given the more than ample factual predicate, we are making a criminal referral to you to open an investigation into Mr. Trump.”