Trump repeatedly made the request during an hour-long phone call Saturday.
January 4, 2021, 1:52 AM
• 8 min read
In an hour-long phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Saturday, President Donald Trump falsely claimed it was “not possible” for him to have lost in The Peach State, and asked the secretary to “find” the exact number of votes he would need — just one vote over the margin that he trailed President-elect Joe Biden by — so he could be declared the winner of an election that three separate counts confirmed he lost.
“The people of Georgia are angry. The people of the country are angry, and there’s nothing wrong with saying that, you know, that you’ve recalculated,” Trump said on the call. “All I want to do is this: I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have… Fellas, I need 11,000 votes, give me a break.”
Raffensperger, a Republican who supported the president’s reelection but has maintained Georgia’s election was legitimate and accurate, rebuffed the president’s allegations, saying the data the president is citing to claim tens of thousands of illegal votes, “is wrong.”
Despite the president’s persistence, the secretary plainly stated, “We believe that we do have an accurate election.”
“No, no, you don’t. You don’t have — you don’t have — not even close. You’ve got — you’re off by hundreds of thousands of votes,” Trump claimed in response.
The audio of what appears to be the entire phone call, which was first obtained and reported on by The Washington Post but also independently obtained by ABC News, is just the latest example of Trump attempting to overturn the results of an election he lost. The president and his allies have lost more than 50 lawsuits contesting the outcome in several battleground states, and the conspiracy theories regarding the election, which Trump relitigated with respect to Georgia during this phone call, have been repeatedly disputed and debunked by state and local election officials, as well as former Attorney General William Barr.
Democrats were quick to react to news of the call.
Dick Durbin, the second-highest-ranking Democrat in the Senate, said Trump’s “disgraceful effort to intimidate an elected official into deliberately changing and misrepresenting the legally confirmed vote totals in his state strikes at the heart of our democracy and merits nothing less than a criminal investigation.”
Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who’s been made into a boogeyman among the GOP, said the phone call was an “impeachable offense.”
In Savannah, Georgia, while headlining a rally for the state’s Democratic Senate candidates competing in dual runoff elections Tuesday, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris said it was an “abuse of power.”
“Have y’all heard about that recorded conversation? Well, it was, yes, certainly the voice of desperation.