Trump Pressured Georgia Secretary of State To Reverse Election Results
Donald Trump, in his capacity as president of the United States, yesterday tried to persuade the Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, to commit a crime by changing the results of that state’s presidential election. The Washington Post obtained a recording of the hour-long phone call that took place on Saturday.
During the conversation, “The Donald” takes on the persona of an organized crime family “Don,” alternately berating Raffensperger, flattering him, begging him to act. He even threatened him with vague criminal consequences if the secretary of state refused to pursue his false claims, at one point warning that Raffensperger was taking “a big risk.”
The Post reports that Trump’s conversation with Raffensperger put him in legally questionable territory. By exhorting the secretary of state to “find” votes and to deploy investigators who “want to find answers,” Trump appears to be encouraging him to doctor the election outcome in Georgia. Also on the call was White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, conservative lawyer Cleta Mitchell and Raffensperger’s general counsel, Ryan Germany.
Trump and Raffensperger had a back-and-forth on Twitter Sunday morning, with the president disclosing that he had spoken with the Georgia official and slamming him for not doing what he wanted. Raffensperger’s reply was the ultimate foreshadowing, stating in part “The truth will come out.”
Respectfully, President Trump: What you're saying is not true. The truth will come out https://t.co/ViYjTSeRcC
— GA Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (@GaSecofState) January 3, 2021
That it did in the Post’s report.
“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,” Trump 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 did most of the talking on the call. He was angry and impatient, calling Raffensperger a “child” and “either dishonest or incompetent” for not believing there was widespread ballot fraud in Atlanta — and twice calling himself a “schmuck” for endorsing Kemp, whom Trump holds in particular contempt for not embracing his claims of fraud.
The secretary of state repeatedly sought to push back, saying one point, “Mr. President, the problem you have with social media, that — people can say anything.”
“Oh this isn’t social media,” Trump retorted. “This is Trump media. It’s not social media. It’s really not. It’s not social media. I don’t care about social media. I couldn’t care less.”
During their conversation, Trump issued a vague threat to both Raffensperger and Germany, suggesting that if they don’t find that thousands of ballots in Fulton County have been illegally destroyed to block investigators — an allegation for which there is no evidence — they would be subject to criminal liability.
“That’s a criminal offense,” he said. “And you can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you and to Ryan, your lawyer.”
Trump also tried to use Tuesday’s senate runoff election as leverage to get Raffensperger to change the presidential vote results.
“You have a big election coming up and because of what you’ve done to the president — you know, the people of Georgia know that this was a scam,” Trump said. “Because of what you’ve done to the president, a lot of people aren’t going out to vote, and a lot of Republicans are going to vote negative, because they hate what you did to the president. Okay? They hate it. And they’re going to vote. And you would be respected, really respected, if this can be straightened out before the election.”
His desperation was perhaps most pronounced during an exchange with Germany, in which he openly begged for validation.
Trump: “Do you think it’s possible that they shredded ballots in Fulton County? Because 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.”
Germany responded: “No, Dominion has not moved any machinery out of Fulton County.”
Trump: “But have they moved the inner parts of the machines and replaced them with other parts?”
Trump: “Are you sure? Ryan?”
Germany: “I’m sure. I’m sure, Mr. President.”
Here’s a link to the full audio recording.