Trump Facing Possible Criminal Liability For ‘Sustained Assault’ on Georgia’s Electoral Vote Count
During his phone call to Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, on 2 January, Donald Trump repeatedly insisted that he had won the state by “hundreds of thousands of votes”, and pressured his fellow Republican to “find more votes”.
The 107-page report, assembled by multiple legal experts for The Washington Post, found that “the Georgia electoral process and vote count was subjected to sustained assault” by Trump and his allies in a bid to “change the lawful outcome of the election.”
The report stated that the ex-POTUS and some of his allies, such as his former attorney Rudy Giuliani, could be charged with election fraud, intentional interference with an official's performance of poll-related duties, and conspiracy. The think-tank’s analysis also suggests that Donald Trump violated the Georgia Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
Fulton County's District Attorney, Fani T. Willis, has been leading a criminal investigation, focusing on the phone call Trump placed to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on 2 January in which he urged his fellow Republican to “find” the votes to reverse Joe Biden’s win in the state.
© AP Photo / Brynn AndersonGeorgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks during a news conference on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020, in Atlanta. Georgia election officials have announced an audit of presidential election results that will trigger a full hand recount.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks during a news conference on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020, in Atlanta. Georgia election officials have announced an audit of presidential election results that will trigger a full hand recount.
© AP Photo / Brynn Anderson
Raffensperger confirmed to the Daily Beast in early September that Fulton County investigators have “asked us for documents, they’ve talked to some of our folks, and we’ll cooperate fully.”
In the aforementioned phone call Trump had argued that Raffensperger could change the certified results, saying:
“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… There's no way I lost Georgia. We won by hundreds of thousands of votes.”
Georgia’s Secretary of State had firmly rejected Trump’s demands.
"Like other Republicans. I'm disappointed, our candidate didn't win Georgia's electoral votes. I live by the motto that numbers don't lie. As secretary of state, I believe that the numbers that we have presented today are correct," he later said.
Biden claimed victory over Trump by a margin of 12,670 votes, according to the painstaking statewide audit ordered by Raffensperger amid accusations of election fraud from Republicans.
© AP Photo / Mike StewartCobb County Election officials handle ballots during a machine recount, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020, in Marietta, Ga. County election workers across Georgia have begun an official machine recount of the roughly 5 million votes cast in the presidential race in the state. The recount was requested by President Donald Trump after certified results showed him losing the state to Democrat Joe Biden by 12,670 votes, or 0.25%
Cobb County Election officials handle ballots during a machine recount, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020, in Marietta, Ga. County election workers across Georgia have begun an official machine recount of the roughly 5 million votes cast in the presidential race in the state. The recount was requested by President Donald Trump after certified results showed him losing the state to Democrat Joe Biden by 12,670 votes, or 0.25%
© AP Photo / Mike Stewart
The Brookings Institute report also cited instances when Donald Trump contacted other Georgia officials to help him overturn his election loss, including Governor Brian Kemp and Attorney General Chris Carr.
Referring to Trump’s repeated assertions that the presidential elections had been rigged to favour his opponent, the report stated:
“There is a stark absence of any evidence suggestive of irregularity in the Georgia election process.”
The document argues that Trump's actions were “well outside the scope of his official duties”, adding:
“Stated simply, soliciting and then threatening senior state officials to alter the outcome of a presidential election does not fall within any reasoned conception of the scope of presidential power.”
The document conceded that it was based on publicly available evidence, acknowledged that it was not in possession of all the facts and that the investigation was pending. Georgia was the last state to be called in the 2020 presidential election, where Democrat Joe Biden won 2,473,633 votes against predecessor Trump’s 2461,854 votes.
As Biden’s win was being certified officially by a joint session of Congress on 6 January 2021, the building was breached by a mob of Trump supporters. The Capitol Complex was locked down, with lawmakers and staff evacuated, while rioters wreaked mayhem for several hours.
The incident claimed five lives, including that of a Capitol police officer. Donald Trump, accused by Democrats of instigating the riot with claims of voter fraud has vehemently denied any wrongdoing. House Democrats impeached him for a second time during his term, accusing him of inciting insurrection, but the Senate later acquitted him.