Former President Donald Trump tried to pressure a top Georgia election investigator to find fraud in the Atlanta area during a December phone call published by The Wall Street Journal.
Trump called Frances Watson, the chief investigator at the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, during an audit of mail-in ballots in Cobb County.
Trump cited his wins in Florida, Ohio, Texas, and Alabama.
“I won Georgia. I know that. By a lot. And the people know it. And, you know, something happened. Something bad happened,” he claimed without any evidence, pressing Watson to review years of mail-in ballot signatures. I hope you're going back two years, as opposed to just checking, you know, one against the other because that would just sort of be a signature check that didn't mean anything. But if you go back two years, and if you can get to Fulton, you are going to find things that are going to be unbelievable.”
Trump did not offer any evidence but cited “really good sources” like attorney Rudy Giuliani, who led Trump’s failed election challenges.
“Mr. President, I appreciate your comment. And I can assure you that our team, and the GBI, that we're only interested in the truth,” Watson replied. “I do appreciate you calling. I know that you're very, very busy, a very important man, and I'm very honored that you called. Quite frankly I'm shocked that you would take time to do that, but I am very appreciative.”
Trump pressed Watson to speed up the audit, which turned up no evidence of fraud.
“Do you think they'll be working after Christmas, to keep it going fast?” he asked. “Because, you know, we have that date of the 6th, which is a very important date.”
Call came week before Raffensperger call:
Trump’s call to Watson came about a week before he called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to demand he “find” enough votes to overturn the election.
“This phone call is just one more example of how Secretary Raffensperger’s office’s public comments also reflect what was said in one-on-one conversations: We would follow the law, count every legal vote and investigate any allegations of fraud” a Raffensperger spokesman said. “That’s exactly what we did, and how we arrived at the accurate final vote tally.”
Trump under criminal probe:
The call was released amid a criminal probe by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis into efforts to pressure officials to overturn the election.
A grand jury has already convened and Willis vowed to begin issue subpoenas. She also recently hired a racketeering expert to assist with the probe.
Willis is also said to be looking at a call from Lindsey Graham to Raffensperger pressuring him to toss legal ballots and the White House’s decision to force out the US attorney in Atlanta after Trump complained he was not doing enough.
Willis sent a letter to top Georgia officials last month telling them to preserve any evidence for her probe into “potential violations of Georgia law prohibiting solicitation of election fraud, the making of false statements to state and local bodies, conspiracy, racketeering, violation of oath of office and any involvement in violence or threats related to the election’s administration.”