Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger leaked the tape of his hour-long conversation with President Donald Trump after the president attacked him on Twitter and claimed he had ‘no clue’ following his refusal to bow to pressure and threats.
The release of the tape – where Trump demands Raffensperger ‘find’ 11,780 votes and make immediate statements that he won the election – followed Trump’s public attacks on the elected Republican official.
Brad Raffensperger, Georgia Secretary of State, took part in an hour-long recorded phone call where President Trump told him to ‘find’ 11,780 votes, which would make him the winner
‘I spoke to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger yesterday about Fulton County and voter fraud in Georgia,’ Trump tweeted Sunday morning from Washington, on a day when area golf courses were soggy from rain.
‘He 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!’ Trump wrote.
Trump’s tweet referenced some of the allegations and conspiracy theories he raised in the hour-long call with Raffensperger, where the official and his counsel repeatedly resisted or sought to counter Trump’s repeated claims.
‘Respectfully, President Trump: What you’re saying is not true. The truth will come out,’ Raffensperger replied Sunday at about 10:30 AM from his official account.
President Trump repeatedly pressured Raffensperger on the call, even suggesting that failing to declare him the winner was ‘a criminal offense’
Trump wrote Sunday that Raffensperger ‘has no clue!’ What followed was a leak that has Trump facing potential criminal exposure, although it is unclear if he would be prosecuted for laws that prohibit knowingly pressuring an election official
Later Sunday, the Washington Post reported on the stunning phone call, having obtained a copy of the complete conversation.
The call has the potential to impact the critical Georgia Senate runoff elections on Tuesday – and could even put Trump on the wrong side of criminal statutes barring interference in elections.
‘All I want to do is this: I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,’ Trump says on the call. ‘There’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, that you’ve recalculated.’
”Mr. President, the challenge that you have is the data you have is wrong,’ Raffensperger tells him on the call in response to his claims.
Raffensperger previously accused South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Trump ally and golf partner, of calling him and asking him to toss out ballots. Graham acknowledged the call but denied the pressure, which appears to have prompted Raffensperger’s team to record his conversation with Trump.
The call that finally took place Saturday, following state certification and a recount, came after the White House sought to contact Raffensperger’s office 18 times, CNN reported.
When it finally did happen, Raffensperger and his team had evidence of the president’s pressure.
‘This is a man who has a history of reinventing history as it occurs,’ a Raffensperger advisor told Politico. ‘So if he’s going to try to dispute anything on the call, it’s nice to have something like this, hard evidence, to dispute whatever he’s claiming about the secretary. So yeah, after that call, we decided maybe we should do this,’ the person said.
Raffensperger told ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ Monday he has ‘been fighting a rumor whack-a-mole.’
‘He did most of the talking. We did most of the listening but I did want to make my points that the data that he has is just plain wrong,’ he said.
Trump on the call claimed the ballots were ‘corrupt’ and that failing to say so and make him the winner was a ‘criminal offense.’
‘And you are going to find that they are — which is totally illegal — it is more illegal for you than it is for them because, you know, what they did and you’re not reporting it. That’s a criminal, that’s a criminal offense. And you can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you and to Ryan, your lawyer. And that’s a big risk,’ Trump said on the call.