US President Donald Trump urged Georgia's top election official to "find" almost 12,000 votes so as to overturn Joe Biden's election win in the state.
The Washington Post published on Sunday a recording of a call between Trump, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and the state's General Counsel Ryan Germany, in which the president reiterated his allegations of electoral fraud in the November 3 presidential election.
In the call, which took place on Saturday, Trump said: “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.”
“The people of Georgia are angry, the people in the country are angry,” he said at another point. “And there’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, um, that you’ve recalculated.”
Raffensperger responded: “Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is, the data you have is wrong.”
— Keith Edwards (@keithedwards) January 3, 2021
Trump also appeared to threaten Raffensperger, a fellow Republican, and the state's general counsel, Germany, if they failed to investigate allegations that ballot papers had been destroyed and voting machines removed from Georgia's Fulton county as a means of hiding evidence of the purported fraud.
“You know what they did and you're not reporting it. That’s a criminal offense,” Trump declared in the phone call, adding, “you can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you and to Ryan, your lawyer.”
The president reminded Raffensperger of the pending run-off election in Georgia between sitting Republican Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler and Democratic candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock.
“You have a big election coming up and because of what you’ve done to the president — you know, the people of Georgia know that this was a scam,” Trump continued, adding, “Because of what you’ve done to the president, a lot of people aren’t going out to vote, and a lot of Republicans are going to vote negative, because they hate what you did to the president."
On Sunday Trump tweeted his continuing anger with Raffensperger and Republican Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, repeating his unsubstantiated claims of electoral fraud in the state.
Raffensperger responded in kind, tweeting that Trump's assertions were "not true".
— GA Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (@GaSecofState) January 3, 2021