WASHINGTON DC, USA: Donald Trump, the president of the United States, has urged Georgia’s top election official to recalculate the state’s presidential election results in his favour, while warning the official he was taking “a big risk” if he did not comply, according to the audio of an hour-long phone call obtained by The Washington Post.
“I just want to find 11,780 votes,” Trump told Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in a recording released by the Washington Post.
Raffensperger is heard replying that Georgia’s results are correct.
Joe Biden won Georgia alongside other swing states, winning 306 electoral college votes to Trump’s 232.
Since the November 3 vote, Trump has been alleging widespread electoral fraud without providing any evidence.
During the call on Saturday, Trump continued his attempts to overturn the election results in Georgia, where President-elect Joe Biden won by a margin of 11,779 votes.
The president then threatened the official with possible legal consequences.
“You know what they did and you’re not reporting it. That’s a criminal offence. You can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you and to Ryan, your lawyer,” Trump said.
He then called for the extra 11,780 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.
He told Raffensperger he should re-examine the result in the state.
At another point in the phone call, Trump told Raffensperger: “The people of Georgia are angry, the people in the country are angry … And there’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, that you’ve recalculated.”
All 50 states have certified the election result, some after recounts and legal appeals.
Congress is due to formally approve the election result on January 6 and Biden, a Democrat is due to be inaugurated as president on January 20.
Respectfully, President Trump: What you're saying is not true. The truth will come out https://t.co/ViYjTSeRcC
— GA Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (@GaSecofState) January 3, 2021
All 10 living former US defence secretaries have urged President Trump not to question the election results in an opinion piece for the Washington Post. The group also said he should not involve the military in voting disputes, an idea that’s been mooted by some of Trump’s supporters.
In excerpts released by the Washington Post, Trump can be heard alternately cajoling and pressurising Georgia’s secretary of state.
He insisted that he had won the election in Georgia and told Raffensperger that there was “nothing wrong with saying you have recalculated”.
Raffensperger responded by saying: “The challenge you have, Mr President, is that the data you have is wrong.”
Later in the call, Trump said the rumour was that ballots had been shredded and voting machinery had been removed from Fulton County in the state – claims denied by Raffensperger’s lawyer.
Trump has refused to concede to Biden, despite a resounding loss in the November 3 election, and the failure to overturn the results in several states.
Georgia had already conducted several audits and recounts of the result, which affirmed Biden’s victory and officially certified those results, which will be approved by Congress on January 6.
Still, Trump told Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in the call: “So look. 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.”