Washington, D.C., Jan. 3, 2021 (UPI) — President Donald Trump asked Georgia’s secretary of state to “find” votes necessary to overturn the results of the presidential election in the state in an hour-long phone call released on Sunday.
During the phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, and his office’s general counsel, Ryan Germany, Trump called for Raffensperger to overturn the results of the election, citing unfounded claims of fraud, or face potential legal and political consequences in the phone call obtained by The Washington Post and NBC News.
“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,” Trump said.
President-elect Joe Biden was certified as the winner of the election in the state following a statewide recount and audit of the election.
Trump however declared that there was “no way” he lost Georgia, pressuring Raffensperger by suggesting a failure to act on his demands would hurt the prospects of Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler who face Democratic challenges in a runoff election on Tuesday that will determine the balance of the chamber.
“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 to out to vote, and a lot of Republicans are going to vote negative, because they hate what you did to the president.”
Trump also suggested that Georgia election officials would be held criminally liable if they did not conclude that thousands of ballots in Fulton County were illegally destroyed — a claim Raffensperger and Germany said there was no evidence of.
“That’s a criminal offense,” Trump said. “And you can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you and to Ryan, your lawyer.”
Raffensperger told Trump that the data his challenge was based on “is wrong” and Germany repeatedly told the President that voting machines had not been tampered with.
“We now have irrefutable proof of a president pressuring and threatening an official of his own party to get him to rescind a state’s lawful, certified vote count and fabricate another in its place,” Biden senior adviser Bob Bauer said. “It captures the whole, disgraceful story about Donald Trump’s assault on American Democracy.”
Rep. Carolyn Bordeaux, D-Ga., described Trump’s actions as an “outrage” saying she would “use every power” in her authority to prevent his attempts to overturn the elections.
“Donald Trump is trying to change the outcome of the presidential election by strong-arming and bullying our elections officials into subverting our democracy,” Bordeaux said.
Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., called for a criminal investigation into Trump’s call.
“President Trump’s recorded conversation with Georgia Secretary of State Raffensperger is more than a pathetic, rambling, delusional rant,” Durbin said. “His disgraceful effort to intimidate an elected official into deliberately changing and misrepresenting the legally confirmed vote totals in his state strikes at the heart of our democracy and merits nothing less than a criminal investigation.”