Donald Trump badgered and pleaded with Georgia’s election chief to overturn Joe Biden’s win in the state, suggesting in a telephone call the official “find” enough votes to hand the US president victory.
The conversation on Saturday (local time) was the latest step in an unprecedented effort by a sitting president to pressure a state official to reverse the outcome of a free and fair election that he lost.
The renewed intervention, and the persistent and unfounded claims of fraud by the first president to lose re-election in almost 30 years come nearly two weeks before Trump leaves office and two days before twin run-offs in Georgia that will determine control of the Senate.
Trump confirmed in a tweet on Sunday he had spoken with Georgia’s secretary of state, Republican Brad Raffensperger, a day earlier.
Audio snippets of the conversation were posted online by The Washington Post. A recording of the call was later obtained by The Associated Press from a person who was on the call.
The president, who has refused to accept his loss to the Democratic president-elect, is heard telling Raffensperger at one point: “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.”
Later in the call, Trump falsely claims: “We won the election, and it’s not fair to take it away from us like this.”
He continues: “And I think you have to say that you’re going to re-examine it, and you can re-examine it but re-examine it with people that want to find answers, not people who don’t want to find answers.”
Georgia certified election results showing Biden won the state’s November 3 election by 11,779 votes.
The White House referred questions to Trump’s re-election campaign, which did not respond on Sunday to an emailed request for comment.
Raffensperger’s office did not respond to a text message seeking comment.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2021
Trump has repeatedly attacked how Raffensperger ran Georgia’s elections, claiming without evidence the state’s 16 electoral votes were wrongly given to Biden.
“He has no clue!” Trump tweeted of Raffensperger, saying the state official “was unwilling, or unable” to answer questions about a series of claims about ballot handling and voters that have been debunked or shot down by judges and election authorities.
Raffensperger’s Twitter response: “Respectfully, President Trump: What you’re saying is not true. 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
There was no widespread fraud in the election, which a range of election officials across the country, as well as Trump’s former attorney general, William Barr, have confirmed.
Republican governors in Arizona and Georgia, key battleground states crucial to Biden’s victory, have also vouched for the integrity of the elections in their states.
Nearly all the legal challenges from Trump and his allies have been dismissed by judges, including two tossed by the Supreme Court, which includes three Trump-nominated justices.
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