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“Give me a break:” U.S. President Donald Trump recorded attempting to persuade Georgia election result to be overturned

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Posted: Monday, January 4, 2021. 4:24 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Ahead of the Congress meeting two days hence that will formally end his presidency, incumbent Donald Trump mounted a last-ditch effort to persuade Republican Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state, to “find” enough votes to overturn his defeat in an extraordinary one-hour phone call Saturday, the Washington Post reports.

It failed in what the newspaper says legal scholars described as a flagrant abuse of power and a potential criminal act.

The call was recorded and the Post describes Trump using a combination of berating, flattering, threatening and even begging Raffensperger to pursue false claims that would overturn Joe Biden’s 11,779-vote victory last November; but he and his general counsel stood firm.

The President tweeted on Sunday that the secretary of state was “unwilling, or unable, to answer questions such as the ‘ballots under table’ scam, ballot destruction, out of state ‘voters’, dead voters, and more. He has no clue!” Raffensperger responded: “Respectfully, President Trump: What you’re saying is not true.” Neither side would comment for the Post’s story.

Georgia “went blue,” as did Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, Nevada, and New Hampshire, to hand Biden victory in the Electoral College by the same margin as Trump in 2016: 306 votes to 232. The Peach State voted Democratic for the first time since Bill Clinton won it in 1992. Its two incumbent Republican senators face tough run-off elections this week to keep their jobs and not hand control of the Senate to the Democrats via tiebreaker.

“The people of Georgia are angry, the people of the country are angry,” Trump said during the call. “And there’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, that you’ve recalculated.”

Raffensperger responded: “Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is, the data you have is wrong.”

But the President was unmoved, insisting repeatedly he had won and that if the Georgia domino fell, others might as well to keep him in office. As he said, “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state…I only need 11,000 votes. Fellas, I need 11,000 votes. Give me a break.”

Conservative lawyer Cleta Mitchell, a prominent GOP attorney whose involvement with Trump’s efforts had not been previously known, said in a statement that 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.”

Throughout the call, Trump detailed an exhaustive list of disinformation and conspiracy theories to support his position. He claimed without evidence that he had won Georgia by at least a half-million votes. He floated a barrage of assertions that have been investigated and disproved: that thousands of dead people voted; that an Atlanta election worker scanned 18,000 forged ballots three times each and “100 percent” were for Biden; that thousands more voters living out of state came back to Georgia illegally just to vote in the election. Each was roundly dismissed.

Some Democrats have called for criminal investigations, but two legal professors who spoke to the Post say that while his actions are morally wrong, proving that he violated federal or state statutes is different.

Trump also attacked several persons he believed responsible for the result including state Governor Brian Kemp and Democratic former candidate and organizer Stacey Abrams.

It fell to Raffensperger to put an end to the conversation and perhaps the Trump era: “Thank you, President Trump, for your time.”

 

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