ATLANTA—President Trump in a Saturday telephone call urged Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to overturn the November election results that delivered the state to President-elect Joe Biden.
At one point in the roughly hourlong call, Mr. Trump told Mr. Raffensperger that he could face legal action and said he wanted him to find about 12,000 votes so he could reverse Mr. Biden's victory.
"I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have because we won the state," he told Mr. Raffensperger on the call, adding later, "it's not a problem that is going away."
A recording of the call was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
Mr. Trump spent much of the call angrily and repeatedly alleging fraud in voting, ballot destruction, voting machine manipulation and other charges.
"What we are seeing is not at all what you are describing," Ryan Germany, the secretary of state's general counsel, told the president.
Throughout the conversation, Mr. Raffensperger, a Republican who oversaw the state's elections, rejected pressure to further investigate an election that has gone through multiple recounts and legal challenges without any evidence of widespread fraud being found.
"There is nothing wrong with saying, you know, that you recalculated," Mr. Trump told Mr. Raffensperger in the conversation.
During the call, first reported by The Washington Post, Mr. Trump repeatedly asserted the election was fraudulent and claimed hundreds of thousands of votes were destroyed and that he had clearly won the state.
"Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is that the data you have is wrong," Mr. Raffensperger said at one point.
In the conversation, Mr. Trump jumped frequently from subject to subject, asserting unfounded allegations regarding voting irregularities in the November election. Mr. Biden won Georgia by about 12,000 votes out of about 5 million cast and his victory was the first for a Democratic presidential candidate in the state since 1992.
There are many many infractions and the bottom line is it's many many times the 11,779 margin that they said we lost by," Mr. Trump said at one point. "We had vast, I mean you have, the state is in turmoil over this and I know you would like to get to the bottom of it although I saw you on television today and you said that you found nothing wrong, I mean you know, and I didn't lose the state Brad. People have been saying that it was the highest vote ever. There was no way, a lot of the political people said that there is no way they beat me and they beat me."
The president asserted repeatedly that thousands of dead people had voted in the election, a claim Mr. Raffensperger said was false. At another point, Mr. Trump claimed that ballots were being burned and voting machines removed. "This may or may not be true," he said.
He also attacked the elections in Michigan and Pennsylvania during the call.
"We have other states that I believe will be flipping to us very shortly," he said.
In the rambling call, the president asserted that in Georgia, "We won the state and we won it very substantially and easily," and, "The people of Georgia are angry." Mr. Trump did the majority of the talking. Mr. Raffensperger disputed assertions by Mr. Trump of impropriety.
News of the extraordinary conversation of a sitting president pressuring a state elections official to overturn election results comes just days before Jan. 5 runoff elections in Georgia that could determine which party controls the U.S. Senate and a Jan. 6 joint session of Congress to ratify Mr. Biden's Electoral College win in the November vote.
Bob Bauer, a senior adviser to Mr. Biden, said Sunday of the Trump phone call, "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. It captures the whole, disgraceful story about Donald Trump's assault on American democracy."
On Monday, Mr. Trump is set to hold a rally in Dalton, Ga., on behalf of Republican Senate candidates David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, both locked in close races. Mr. Perdue, whose term as senator expired Sunday at noon, is battling Democrat Jon Ossoff for another six-year term. Ms. Loeffler, who was appointed last year to fill a Senate seat vacated by Sen. Johnny Isakson who retired due to illness, is seeking to defeat Democrat Raphael Warnock to finish two years of the remaining term.
The runoffs, which have drawn national attention and hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign spending, have been overshadowed in many respects by Mr. Trump's continued claims that he didn't lose the state in November. But Mr. Raffensperger held a special hand-recount of every paper ballot, as well as a scan recount of the ballots and a special partial audit of one county and all showed no widespread irregularities.
Democrats need to win both races to take control of the Senate for the first time since Republicans gained power in 2015. In November, no candidates in the two races received more than 50% of the vote. Under Georgia law, that triggered runoffs between the two top vote-getters.
Looking ahead to Wednesday's joint session of Congress, 11 current and incoming Republican senators said Saturday they would vote to reject the Electoral College votes of some states on Wednesday as not "lawfully certified" unless Congress appoints a commission to conduct an emergency, 10-day audit of the election results.
None of the challenges are expected to succeed, but they could slow down the process and give President Trump's allies a high-profile chance to demonstrate their loyalty to him.
By Cameron McWhirter, WSJ, January 3, 2021.
Here is the full audio and transcript of Trump's call.
January 4, 2020
Voices4America Post Script. As the Biden team said, "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." #ProsecuteTrump
If he want leaving office in 16 days, he should be impeached. As the situation is, under which law should Trump be prosecuted?
Georgia Law code section 21-2-604
"Criminal solicitation to commit election fraud .... [when]he or she solicits, requests, commands, importunes, or otherwise attempts to cause the other person to engage in such conduct."
Federal Law.18 U.S. Code § 595
“Whoever... uses his official authority for the purpose of interfering with, or affecting, the nomination or the election of any candidate for the office of President,... shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both."
There is also Federal 52 USC 20511.
BTW, This happened, a criminal POTUS and a good man