President Donald Trump begged Georgia’s secretary of state to overturn the election results in a remarkable, hourlong phone call obtained by NBC News on Sunday.
Excerpts of the call, which took place Saturday, were first published by The Washington Post earlier Sunday.
The phone call featured Trump, days before he is set to leave office, pleading with Raffensperger to alter the vote total and launching into a barrage of discredited conspiracy theories about the election. Trump even suggested that Raffensperger may face criminal consequences should he refuse to intervene in accordance with Trump’s wishes.
Raffensperger and his office’s general counsel, Ryan Germany, pushed back on the president’s claims and said President-elect Joe Biden’s victory of more than 12,700 votes was accurate.
â€œThe people of Georgia are angry, the people in the country are angry,â€ Trump said in the call. â€œAnd thereâ€™s nothing wrong with saying, you know, um, that youâ€™ve recalculated.â€
“Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is, the data you have is wrong,” Raffensperger responded.
In a separate exchange, Trump said he wanted Raffensperger to “find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.â€
The president, since his loss in November’s election, has sought to overturn the results by pushing state legislatures to appoint a pro-Trump slate of electors and promoting legal efforts that have fallen short. He has also sought to press top Republican officials in states like Georgia and Arizona to disregard the outcomes of elections in their states, baselessly alleging widespread fraud.
A significant number of congressional Republicans will challenge the results on Wednesday, they have said, though this is not expected to overturn Biden’s win.
â€œThereâ€™s no way I lost Georgia,â€ Trump said. “Thereâ€™s no way. We won by hundreds of thousands of votes.”
Other Trump allies were present on the phone call, including White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and attorney Cleta Mitchell.
Georgia has conducted multiple recounts and audits of the vote since November. Recently, a signature match audit in Cobb County found “no fraudulent absentee ballots,” Raffensperger’s office announced.
At one point in the call, Trump alleged that votes were scanned three times.
“You know, they put â€˜em in three times,” Trump said, to which Raffensperger said the president’s claim was untrue.
“We did an audit of that and we proved conclusively that they were not scanned three times,” he said.
The president also sent a barrage of debunked conspiracies Germany’s way.
“Do you think itâ€™s possible that they shredded ballots in Fulton County?” Trump said. “Because is 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 thatâ€™s illegal.”
At the onset of the call, the president cited his widely-attended rallies as one reason why he does not believe he lost. But he failed to connect his large crowds to his repeated defiance of state and local guidelines surrounding Covid-19. Biden largely avoided packed events for the same reason, hosting drive-in rallies and virtual gatherings instead.
The president has targeted Raffensperger and other top Georgia Republicans, including Gov. Brian Kemp and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, whom he called ” a disgrace” on Sunday.
Tweeting at Raffensperger Sunday morning, Trump noted his conversation with the secretary of state.
“He was unwilling, or unable, to answer questions such as the â€œballots under tableâ€ scam, ballot destruction, out of state â€œvotersâ€, dead voters, and more,” Trump said. “He has no clue!”
“Respectfully, President Trump: What you’re saying is not true,” Raffensperger responded. “The truth will come out.”
Later Sunday, Trump called elections in swing states “UNCONSTITUTIONAL!”