- BBC World News
According to a recording released Sunday, US President Donald Trump told Georgia’s top election official to “find” enough votes to overturn the election result.
” I just want to find 11,780 votes,” Trump told Republican Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state, according to audio of a phone call released by The Washington Post.
In the recording, Raffensperger responds that Georgia’s results were correct.
Joe Biden won Georgia along with some pendulum states, gaining 306 electoral college votes, up from 232 for Trump.
Since the Nov. 3 vote, Trump has denounced widespread voter fraud without providing no proof.
All 50 states have certified the results of the elections, some after recounting and legal appeals.
So far, US courts have rejected 60 challenges to Biden’s victory.
EJanuary 6, eCongress must certify formally the election result.
Biden of the Democratic party will be sworn in as president on January 20.
Georgia is due to vote again Tuesday to elect the two state senators. The result could determine the balance of power in the Senate.
If the two Democratic contenders win, there will be an equal number of Republican and Democratic senators and Democratic Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will have the deciding vote.
Biden’s Democrats already control the House of Representatives.
What happened during Trump’s call?
In the excerpts published by The Washington Post, you can hear Trump persuaded and pressing to the secretary of state of Georgia.
Trump insists he had won the Georgia election and tells Raffensperger there is no “nothing wrong with saying thats recalculated (the votes) “.
Raffensperger responds by saying “the problem you have, Mr. President, is that the data you have is wrong“.
Later in the call, Trump says the rumor was that the ballots had been shredded and the voting machinery had been removed from Fulton County, a claim that Raffensperger’s attorney denied.
The president then threatens the official with possible legal consequences.
” You know what they did and you are not reporting it. That is a crime. You cannot allow that to happen. It is a great risk to you and to Ryan, your attorney,” says Trump.
Then Trump asks for the 11,780 additional votes, which would have given him a total of 2,473,634 votes in the state, one more than Biden, who received 2,473,633 votes.
” I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have, because we won the state (…),” says Trump.
Trump also tells Raffensperger that he should re-examine the result in the state.
” You can reexamine it, but reexamine it with people who want to find answers, not with people who don’t want to find them,” says the president.
” Mr. President, you have people who send information, and we have our people who send information, and then it appears in court and the court has to make a determination,” Raffensperger responded. “We have to defend our numbers, we believe our numbers are correct. “
On Sunday, Trump tweeted that Raffensperger had not provided details of the fraud alleged by the president. ” You have no idea!” The president tweeted.
Raffensperger responded on Twitter: “Respectfully, President Trump: what you are saying is not true. The truth will come out“.
Analysis by Anthony Further, BBC Washington DC correspondent
In the final weeks of his presidency, Donald Trump is struggling to find ways to hold onto power.
His last act was to reprimand, beg, and threaten the Georgia secretary of state to “find” the votes necessary to have victory in that state.
It does not matter that there is no credible evidence of substantial fraud. It does not matter that Georgia has counted, recounted, and re-counted the ballots and found no major disparities. It does not matter that the state, controlled by the Republicans, has certified its electoral results.
Even if Georgia changed, it wouldn’t be enough to re-elect Trump.
The tenor of Trump’s call, however, suggests that he is not just maneuvering for post-presidential power or trying to boost his fundraising.
Trump appears to firmly believe that he won and is willing to use all tools, some of questionable legality, to pressure state officials to turn the election in his favor.
The call recalls the phrase ” I would like you to do us a favor,” said Trump in a conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelinsky, in which he pressured and persuaded a foreign leader for political help.
That contact resulted in impeachment seeking Trump’s impeachment.
The brashness of Trump’s call on Saturday may make it harder for the president to garner political support for his cause.
The desperate times of the president have led to the most desperate measures.
What else is going on?
An internal division is developing in the Republican party after 12 senators said they would not vote to certify Biden’s electoral victory in the Senate session scheduled for January 6.
Ted Cruz leads a group of 11 senators who ask for a 10-day postponement to audit the unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud.
Vice President Mike Pence, who as president of the Senate is to oversee the session and declare Biden the winner, said he appreciated the move.
Pence did not repeat the fraud allegations, but his chief of staff said he shared what he called “the concerns of millions of Americans about voter fraud and irregularities“.
Republican Josh Hawley, a Missouri senator, has also said he will refuse to certify the result out of concerns about the integrity of the election.
Meanwhile, four Republican senators, including Mitt Romney, along with other Democrats and an independent, signed a statement Sunday saying that Congress “must fulfill your responsibility to certify the results of the elections. “
Leading Republicans have said that the Senate’s role in certifying elections is largely ceremonial and should not be an opportunity for a longer debate on the outcome.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell already acknowledged Biden’s victory and asked other Republicans not to object.
Meanwhile, in the lower house of Congress, the House of Representatives, a group of Republicans also plans to challenge the election results.
On Sunday, a new Congress met for the first time, with newly sworn senators and representatives. Democrat Nancy Pelosi was reelected by a narrow margin as speaker of the lower house.
What will happen on January 6?
Objections to the results of the Electoral College must be supported by a member of the House of Representatives and a member of the Senate, the legislators must debate them for two hours and then vote on them.
For an objection to be upheld, a majority of both houses must vote in favor. Republicans have a majority in the Senate, but some of them have already said they won’t dispute the results.
Democrats are a majority in the House.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.