Georgian Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks at a press conference on election results in Atlanta, Georgia, US, December 2, 2020.
Elijah Nouvelage | Reuters
President Donald Trump in an extraordinary phone call this weekend pressured the Republican Secretary of State of Georgia to undo President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the state by finding votes to turn the count in his favor, according to audio obtained by NBC News.
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger opposed Trump’s pressure to change Georgia’s election results, even as the president issued veiled threats of possible criminal charges if he was denied. The summons took place on Saturday.
Trump, who has refused to admit the election, said on the call that he wanted to find “11,780 votes” to change the outcome in Georgia. He told Raffensperger, a fellow Republican, that the vote count in Georgia was lagging by hundreds of thousands of votes and suggested that the Secretary of State announce that he had recalculated the numbers to predict Trump’s victory in the key swing state. show.
“Well Mr. President, the challenge you have is that the data you have is wrong,” Raffensberger replied according to the recording.
Raffensperger and the secretary’s general counsel attorney Ryan Germany also harked back to Trump’s claims that the ballots were shredded or that the Dominion company had removed parts of voting machines in Georgia that would show more Republican votes.
The content of the phone call was first reported by The Washington Post.
Trump referred to Saturday’s phone call in a Sunday morning tweet saying Raffensperger couldn’t answer his questions about alleged voter fraud, saying, “he has no idea.” Raffensperger responded on Twitter, writing, “What you say is not true. The truth will come out.”
Georgia is one of many states where the Trump campaign or the president’s supporters have fought in vain to change or invalidate the vote count since Trump’s loss to Biden in the November election.
None of the lawsuits, recounts, or investigations in any state have found the kind of widespread voter fraud or miscount that would be necessary to turn the election in Trump’s favor.
The number of votes in Georgia and other states as of the November election has already been certified, and the Electoral College has confirmed Joe Biden’s victory.
The president also hinted at potential legal ramifications for Raffensperger if his demands were not met.
“You know what they’ve done, and you don’t report it,” Trump said during the conversation. ‘That is a criminal, that is a criminal offense. And you can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk for you and for Ryan, your lawyer. That’s a big risk. ‘
The phone call comes just days before two major Senate sanctions in Georgia, where Democratic candidates’ victories in both races would overturn control of the chamber, and less than a month before Biden’s inauguration.