With the US Congress set to verify the Electoral College votes of the Presidential elections on January 6 in a joint session, President Donald Trump in his final bid pressured Georgia Secretary of State to recalculate the vote in his favour.
According to The Washington Post (The Post), Trump urged fellow Republican Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state, to “find” enough votes to overturn his defeat in an extraordinary one-hour phone call. In a recording obtained by The Post, Trump “alternately berated” Raffensperger, tried to flatter him, begged him to act and threatened him with vague criminal consequences if the secretary of state refused to pursue his false claims, at one point warning that Raffensperger was taking “a big risk.”
“The people of Georgia are angry, the people in the country are angry… And there’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, um, that you’ve recalculated,” Trump said in the recording to which, Raffensperger responded, “Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is, the data you have is wrong.”
The Georgia Secretary of State debunked the conspiracy theories by Trump and said that President-elect Joe Biden’s 11,779-vote victory in Georgia was fair and accurate.
Trump said: “So look. 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.”
According to The Post, the rambling and at times incoherent conversation offered a remarkable glimpse of how consumed and desperate the president remains about his loss.
“There’s no way I lost Georgia… There’s no way. We won by hundreds of thousands of votes,” Trump claimed.
The Post further reported that Trump issued a threat to both Raffensperger and Ryan Germany, the secretary of state’s general counsel, suggesting that if they don’t find that thousands of ballots in Fulton County have been illegally destroyed to block investigators — an allegation for which there is no evidence — they would be subject to criminal liability.
“That’s a criminal offense,” he said. “And you can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you and to Ryan, your lawyer.”
Trump further told the Georgia Secretary of State that failure to act by Tuesday would jeopardize the political fortunes of David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, Georgia’s two Republican senators whose fate in that day’s runoff elections will determine control of the U.S. Senate.
“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.
He added, “Because of what you’ve done to the president, a lot of people aren’t going out to vote, and a lot of Republicans are going to vote negative because they hate what you did to the president. Okay? They hate it. And they’re going to vote. And you would be respected, really respected if this can be straightened out before the election.”
During the conversation, Trump gave a list of disinformation and conspiracy theories to support his position claiming that he had won the battleground state by at least a half-million votes.
“So tell me, Brad, what are we going to do? We won the election, and it’s not fair to take it away from us like this,” Trump said. “And it’s going to be very costly in many ways. And I think you have to say that you’re going to reexamine it, and you can reexamine it, but reexamine it with people that want to find answers, not people who don’t want to find answers.”
Trump did most of the talking on the call. He was angry and impatient, calling Raffensperger a “child” and “either dishonest or incompetent” for not believing there was widespread ballot fraud in Atlanta, The Washington Post reported further.
Trump in an exchange with Ryan Germany, the secretary of state’s general counsel asked if it was possible that they shredded ballots in Fulton Count adding that’s what the rumor is.
“And also that Dominion took out machines. That Dominion is really moving fast to get rid of their, uh, machinery. Do you know anything about that? Because that’s illegal,” Trump said.
Germany responded and said, “No, Dominion has not moved any machinery out of Fulton County.”
Trump’s call to Raffensperger came as scores of Republicans have pledged to challenge the Electoral College’s vote for Biden when Congress convenes for a joint session on Wednesday.
Trump has urged supporters to travel to Washington to protest the outcome, and state and federal officials are already bracing for clashes outside the Capitol.
President-elect Biden’s inauguration is scheduled for January 20.