Reports on Sunday have revealed that President Donald Trump pressured Georgia Secretary of state in a phone conversation on Saturday to “find” enough votes to overturn Joe Biden‘s victory in the Southern state.
The secretly taped conversation with fellow Republican, Brad Raffensperger, includes threats that Raffensperger and another Georgia official could face “a big risk” if they failed to pursue his request.
Trump is heard saying on the tape:
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.
You’re off by hundreds of thousands of votes.
Raffensperger is heard responding:
Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is, the data you have is wrong.
Biden won the long Republican-leaning state by fewer than 12,000 votes; a margin unchanged after recounts and audits, with none of Trump’s allegations supported.
Word of the recording came at an extraordinary juncture, two days before special runoff elections in Georgia that will decide control of the US Senate, and three days before Congress is to certify the results of the November 3 election.
Prior to the release of the audio, Trump tweeted about the call, saying that Raffensperger “was unwilling, or unable, to answer questions such as the ‘ballots under table’ scam, ballot destruction, out of state ‘voters’, dead voters, and more.”
The White House declined to comment on the development
Representative Adam Schiff said on Twitter:
Trump’s contempt for democracy is laid bare. Once again. On tape.
Pressuring an election official to ‘find’ the votes so he can win is potentially criminal, and another flagrant abuse of power by a corrupt man who would be a despot, if we allowed him. We will not.
Some political commentators have also compared the call to the Watergate tapes that led to the fall of President Richard Nixon.
John Dean, a White House counsel to Nixon before turning against him, told CNN that the new tape was “very damning for the president.”