President TrumpDonald TrumpAppeals court dismisses Gohmert’s election suit against Pence Kentucky governor calls vandalism to McConnell’s home ‘unacceptable’ Pence ‘welcomes’ efforts of lawmakers to ‘raise objections’ to Electoral College results MORE directly asked Georgia’s top elections officials to overturn his defeat to President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenAppeals court dismisses Gohmert’s election suit against Pence Romney: Plan to challenge election ‘egregious ploy’ that ‘dangerously threatens’ country Pence ‘welcomes’ efforts of lawmakers to ‘raise objections’ to Electoral College results MORE in the state during aÂ SaturdayÂ phone call, according to audio posted Sunday by The Washington Post.
During the conversation, the president repeatedly asked Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) to “find” more than 11,000 ballots he would need to overcome a gap between him and Biden in the state, thereby flipping the state in his favor.
â€œThe people of Georgia are angry, the people in the country are angry. And thereâ€™s nothing wrong with saying, you know, that youâ€™ve recalculated,” Trump told Raffensperger, before questioning the secretary about a “rumor” that ballots for him were “shredded” in Fulton County, which is home to Atlanta, the state’s largest city and a major Democratic bastion.
“All I want to do is this,” the president continued. “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.â€
The secretary is heard in the limited audio released by the Post rejecting the president’s claims, calling his supposed data “wrong” and indicating that he would not bow to the president’s wishes.
In another point in the call, theÂ audio reported by the Post revealsÂ that Trump linked his fate in the state, as well as Raffensperger’s actions in the days ahead, to whether the state’s GOP Sens. Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerSunday shows preview: Senate candidates brace for Georgia runoffs; government continues coronavirus vaccine roll out Why Democratic gains in the suburbs will outlast Trump Trump calls Georgia Senate runoffs ‘both illegal and invalid’ in New Year’s tweets MORE and David PerdueDavid PerdueSunday shows preview: Senate candidates brace for Georgia runoffs; government continues coronavirus vaccine roll out Why Democratic gains in the suburbs will outlast Trump Trump calls Georgia Senate runoffs ‘both illegal and invalid’ in New Year’s tweets MORE would hold on to their seats in the state’s upcoming runoff election, which is days away.
â€œYou have a big election coming up and because of what youâ€™ve done to the president…you know, the people of Georgia know that this was a scam. Because of what youâ€™ve done to the president, a lot of people arenâ€™t going out to vote, and a lot of Republicans are going to vote negative, because they hate what you did to the president,” the president told Raffensperger, before adding that the Republican official would be “respected, really respected, if this can be straightened out before the election.â€
The audio is the first actual evidence of the president’s attempts to directlyÂ pressure a state official to overturn the results of the 2020 election, though he has called for Georgia officials including Gov. Brian KempBrian KempTrump calls Georgia Senate runoffs ‘both illegal and invalid’ in New Year’s tweets Kemp dismisses Trump’s call to resign as ‘a distraction’ Georgia voters flood polls ahead of crucial Senate contests MORE (R) to call a special legislative session for the purpose of overturning the state’s results on Twitter in recent weeks. He has also publicly called for Kemp to resign.
Trump’s legal team, headed by his personal attorney Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiGiuliani, Trump Jr. among guests at Mar-a-Lago New Year’s party ditched by Trump: report The biggest example of media malfeasance in 2020 is… 2020’s top political celebrity moments MORE, has also made legal efforts in several states seeking to block the certification of the 2020 election results, with no success.