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Graham-Raffensperger Call 'Investigated' Amid Probe Into Trump's Bid to Quash Georgia Vote Results

© AP Photo / Ben GrayA voter fills out paperwork before casting her vote at the C.T. Martin Natatorium and Recreation Center in Atlanta on the first day of early voting for the senate runoff Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. Early in-person voting began Monday in Georgia for the state's twin U.S. Senate runoffs. The early voting period runs as late as Dec. 31 in some counties. It could determine the outcome of the races between Republican U.S. Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler and Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock.
A voter fills out paperwork before casting her vote at the C.T. Martin Natatorium and Recreation Center in Atlanta on the first day of early voting for the senate runoff Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. Early in-person voting began Monday in Georgia for the state's twin U.S. Senate runoffs. The early voting period runs as late as Dec. 31 in some counties. It could determine the outcome of the races between Republican U.S. Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler and Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.02.2021
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Former US President Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed that there were voting irregularities in Georgia, and that Republican observers were not given proper access to the ballot counting locations during the 3 November election.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is "looking at" last year's phone call between Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, The Washington Post (WaPo) has cited unnamed sources as saying.

According to the sources, the Georgia prosecutor is examining the 13 November call as part of a criminal investigation to determine whether former President Donald Trump or his allies broke state law by trying to overturn the election results in Georgia.

"This investigation includes, but is not limited to, potential violations of Georgia law prohibiting the solicitation of election fraud, the making of false statements to state and local governmental bodies, conspiracy, racketeering, violation of oath of office and any involvement in violence or threats related to the election's administration", Willis pointed out in a letter to announce the inquiry.

During the phone conversation, Graham, a close Trump ally, reportedly asked Raffensperger whether he had the authority to toss out all mail-in ballots in Georgia.

© REUTERS / SAM WOLFESouth Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham in the 2020 US election in South Carolina
Graham-Raffensperger Call 'Investigated' Amid Probe Into Trump's Bid to Quash Georgia Vote Results - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.02.2021
South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham in the 2020 US election in South Carolina

Raffensperger was quoted by WaPo as saying that Graham "appeared to be asking him to improperly find a way to set aside legally cast ballots" in the state.

The senator's spokesman Kevin Bishop has rejected the accusations as "ridiculous".

"Sen. Graham was asking about how the signature verification process worked. He never asked the Secretary of State to disqualify a ballot cast by anyone. The timing on this is also quite curious. It seems to be a less than transparent effort to marginalise anyone who helps President Trump", Bishop argued.

The comments came a few days after Raffensperger's office opened a probe into allegations that Trump tried to overturn the state's 2020 election results.

Leaked Trump-Raffensperger Phone Call

This followed an earlier leaked recording of a 2 January phone call between the former US president and Raffensperger, in which Trump is heard requesting the Georgia secretary of state to "find" additional votes to make him the winner of the 3 November election, which the then-POTUS claimed was stolen from him.

"All I want to do is this: I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have", Trump said, apparently referring to the narrow margin of then-President-elect Joe Biden's victory in Georgia.

Trump, who left the White House on 20 January, claimed that the 3 November election was "stolen" due to massive "voter fraud".  Asserting that it was him, not Biden, who won the swing states, including Georgia, Trump eventually pledged an orderly transition of power in the US.

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump descend from Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.01.2021
Trump Urges Georgia Election Chief to 'Find' Votes to Overturn Biden Victory
The Trump-Raffensperger phone call was dubbed "a smoking gun", with Democrats accusing Trump of abuse of power and calling for second impeachment proceedings against him.

After Trump supporters besieged the US Capitol on 6 January in a bid to prevent Congress from certifying the election results, the former president was impeached by House Democrats for "incitement of insurrection", which claimed the lives of at least five people.

The former POTUS denied responsibility and insisted that he never wanted violence on US streets, while also describing the second impeachment as the continuation of a "witch hunt" against him.

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