WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump pressured Georgia's Republican secretary of state to “find” enough votes to overturn Joe Biden's win in the state's presidential election, repeatedly citing disproven claims of fraud and raising the prospect of a “criminal offense" if officials did not change the vote count, according to a recording of the conversation.
The phone call with Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Saturday was the latest step in an unprecedented effort by a sitting president to press a state official to reverse the outcome of a free and fair election that he lost. The Republican president, who has refused to accept his loss to Democratic President-elect Biden, repeatedly argued that Raffensperger could change the certified results.
“I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state," said Trump, who is scheduled to be at a rally in Georgia Monday evening.
In an interview Monday, Raffensperger told The Associated Press that he is confident in Georgia’s general election outcome, despite an electoral college challenge supported by some Republicans in Congress.
“If they support a challenge of the electors for Georgia, they’re wrong, dead wrong,” Raffensperger said. Members of Congress will have to make a decision about the other states, he added, “but in Georgia, we did get it right. I’m not happy with the result, as a Republican, but it is the right result based on the numbers that we saw cast.”
Georgia counted its votes three times before certifying Biden's win by a 11,779-vote margin.
“President Trump, we’ve had several lawsuits, and we’ve had to respond in court to the lawsuits and the contentions," Raffensperger told Trump on the call. "We don’t agree that you have won."
Raffensperger said the White House reached out to his office and he assumed the president wanted to talk about the status of the November election. The secretary of state said his deputy previously met with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows when Meadows was in Georgia last month, but that he hadn’t had any other direct contact with the White House since the general election.