The conversation on Saturday was the latest step in an unprecedented effort by a sitting president to pressure a state official to reverse the outcome of an election.
Trump confirmed in a tweet Sunday that he had spoken with Georgia’s secretary of state, Republican Brad Raffensperger, a day earlier.
On the call, which was released by the Washington Post, Trump repeatedly pressures Raffensperger to declare that Trump has won more votes than Biden.
“All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” Trump said. “Because we won the state.”
Georgia counted its votes three times before certifying Biden’s win by 11,779, Raffensperger noted: “President Trump, we’ve had several lawsuits, and we’ve had to respond in court to the lawsuits and the contentions. We don’t agree that you have won.”
Raffensperger and his office’s general counsel reject Trump’s assertions and tell the president that he was relying on debunked conspiracy theories spread on social media about what was a fair and accurate election.
“Mr. President, the challenge that you have is the data you have is wrong,” Raffensperger says.
Listen below: If you’re unable to listen, follow this link.
Trump’s action drew immediate criticism from election-law experts and congressional Democrats who said it could amount to an illegal act.
“Not only is pressuring election officials against the law, threatening Raffensperger if he doesn’t comply with Trump’s wishes borders on extortion,” said Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein.
Georgia State University law professor Anthony Michael Kreis said Trump may have violated state and federal laws against soliciting election fraud. —Reuters