President Donald Trump pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” him enough votes to overturn the results of President-elect Joe Biden’s win in the state, according to audio of a phone call obtained by The Washington Post.
Trump repeatedly pushed debunked conspiracy theories on the call, prompting rebukes from Raffensperger, a fellow Republican, and his attorney, Ryan Germany.
“The people of Georgia are angry, the people of the country are angry,” he said. “And there’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, that you’ve recalculated.”
“Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is, the data you have is wrong,” Raffensperger replied.
Later in the call, Trump said, “So look. 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… So what are we going to do here, folks? I only need 11,000 votes. Fellas, I need 11,000 votes. Give me a break.”
Trump repeatedly insisted that there is “no way I lost Georgia,” falsely claiming that “we won by hundreds of thousands of votes.”
At one point, Trump appeared to threaten criminal risk for the Georgia officials for blocking his campaign effort to audit thousands of ballots in Fulton County.
“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 threatened repercussions in this week’s Senate run-offs.
“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.”
Trump tried to call Raffensperger over a dozen times:
Trump tried to call Raffensperger at least 18 times since the election, according to NBC News.
Sources close to Raffensperger told the outlet that he had the phone call recorded to push back on any false spin from Trump.
“I never believed it was appropriate to speak to the president,” Raffensperger told ABC. “We took the call, and we had a conversation. He did most of the talking, we did most of the listening. But I did want to make my points that the data that he has is just plain wrong."
“For the last two months, we’ve been fighting the rumor whack-a-mole,” he added. “And it was pretty obvious very early on that we debunked every one of those theories that have been out there, but that President Trump continues to believe them.”
Calls for impeachment:
The recording renewed Democratic calls to impeach Trump once again.
"I absolutely think it's an impeachable offense, and if it was up to me, there would be articles on the floor quite quickly,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
"While the logistics of holding impeachment proceedings in the final two weeks of a presidency are admittedly hard to pull off, if this isn't impeachable conduct, then literally nothing is," said the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
Former acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal told MSNBC that Trump’s call was "really, truly an impeachable offense."
"So one question is whether or not a high crime and misdemeanor was committed," he said. "Certainly the tape makes it sound like it has."