January 03, 2021
FILE: President Donald Trump speaks on the phone. PHOTO BY DREW ANGERER /Getty
U.S. President Donald Trump pressured Georgia’s top election official to “find” enough votes to overturn his defeat in the state, according to audio of a Saturday phone call obtained by the Washington Post, in Trump’s latest effort to push unfounded claims of voter fraud.
The Washington Post, which published excerpts on Sunday of the hour-long call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a fellow Republican, said Trump alternately flattered, begged and threatened Raffensperger with vague criminal consequences in an attempt to undo his loss in Georgia to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden.
The newspaper said that throughout the call Raffensperger and his office’s general counsel rejected Trump’s assertions and told the president that he was relying on debunked conspiracy theories about what was a fair and accurate election. The audio excerpts published by the Post confirmed that.
“The people of Georgia are angry, the people in the country are angry,” Trump said, according to an excerpt of the recording published online by the Post. “And there’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, um, that you’ve recalculated.”
“So look. All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state,” Trump said in the recording, insisting that there was “no way” he lost the state.
The White House declined to comment. Raffensperger’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Biden’s transition office had no immediate comment.
Georgia is one of several crucial swing states where Trump lost the Nov. 3 election to Biden, and where Trump has since made unfounded allegations of election fraud and sought to overturn the results.
Reporting by Michael Martina in Detroit; Additional reporting by Jonathan Landay and Nandita Bose in Washington; Editing by Scott Malone and Daniel Wallis