In an astounding audio recording obtained and published by The Washington Post on Sunday, President Donald Trump asked the Republican Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, to "find" enough votes to overturn President-elect Joe Biden's victory in the state during the 2020 presidential election. During the hour-long call on Saturday, Trump goes back and forth between flattering Raffensperger and vaguely threatening him if he did not investigate the false claims Trump made about the election. Raffensperger has stood by the results, which show Biden winning Georgia by 11,779 votes.
Raffensperger and Ryan Germany, his office's general counsel, repeatedly dismissed Trump's allegations, based on unfounded conspiracy theories. However, Trump felt otherwise. "The people of Georgia are angry, the people in the country are angry," Trump claimed. "And there's nothing wrong with saying, you know, um, that you've recalculated." Raffensperger replied, "Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is, the data you have is wrong."
Wow. WaPo just released a recording showing President Trump attempting to blackmail Georgia's Secretary of State to overturn the election.
Listen: pic.twitter.com/33SO6Tyx8u— Keith Edwards (@keithedwards) January 3, 2021
In another portion of the tape, Trump specifically asks Raffensperger to"find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state." He repeatedly said there was "no way I lost Georgia" and that "we won by hundreds of thousands of votes." Elsewhere Trump suggested if Raffensperger did not find evidence that ballots were destroyed in Fulton County to block investigations, it would be a "big risk to you and to Ryan, your lawyer." However, there is no evidence that ballots in Fulton County were destroyed.
Trump also brought up Tuesday's U.S. Senate special election in Georgia, where Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler are on the ballot. The president told Raffensperger that Republicans would not vote in the election "because of what you've done to the president." Trump continued, "...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."
Respectfully, President Trump: What you're saying is not true. The truth will come out https://t.co/ViYjTSeRcC— GA Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (@GaSecofState) January 3, 2021
The president also brought up the conspiracy theories about Dominion voting 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 in an exchange with Germany. "No, Dominion has not moved any machinery out of Fulton County," the attorney responded. Trump continued pressing the subject thought, asking Germany if "they moved the inner parts of the machines and replaced them with other parts." "No," Germany responded. "Are you sure? Ryan?" Trump asked again. "I'm sure. I'm sure, Mr. President," he said.
Trump also claimed over 5,000 ballots were submitted by dead people, which is not true. "The actual number was two. Two. Two people that were dead that voted," Raffensperger said. "I can promise you there are more than that," White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said.
Others on the line while Trump spoke included Meadows and conservative lawyer Cleta Mitchell. The White House, Trump campaign, and Meadows have not commented on the recording, but Mitchell told the Post Raffensperger's office "has made many statements over the past two months that are simply not correct and everyone involved with the efforts on behalf of the President's election challenge has said the same thing: show us your records on which you rely to make these statements that our numbers are wrong."
In early December, Raffensberger said a third recount of the ballots confirmed Biden's victory in the state. Biden became the first Democratic candidate to win the state since 1992 when President Bill Clinton won Georgia. Congress will convene for a joint session on Wednesday to confirm Biden's election. Some Republicans have vowed to challenge the results, but they do not have enough votes to overturn them.