The hour-long call between Trump and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger featured Trump repeatedly asking Raffensperger to, in effect, throw out the legal results of Georgia’s presidential election on November 3rd, in which Joe Biden defeated Trump by 11,779 votes. Trump was joined on the call by White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who surely must be equally liable to any criminal charges that may grow out of the call.
Amy Gardner of The Washington Post broke the story on Sunday. (Key excerpts can be heard in the audio file above.) Gardner notes that “The rambling and at times incoherent conversation offered a remarkable glimpse of how consumed and desperate the president remains about his loss, unwilling or unable to let the matter go.”
Throughout the call, Raffensperger and his office’s general counsel rejected Trump’s assertions, explaining that the president is relying on debunked conspiracy theories and that President-elect Joe Biden’s 11,779-vote victory in Georgia was fair and accurate.
Trump dismissed their arguments.
“The people of Georgia are angry, the people in the country are angry,” he said. “And there’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, um, that you’ve recalculated.”
Trump also told Raffensperger, “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.” (That is, one more than Biden’s 11,779-vote margin of victory.) “The people of Georgia know that this was a scam… You would be respected, really respected, if this thing could be straightened out before the election.”
It’s like dialogue out of a Martin Scorsese mobster film. Journalist James Fallows puts it in the right perspective:
To underscore the obvious, this tape is incomparably more disqualifying than 1974 tapes, whose court-ordered release led to Nixon’s resignation.
(Which also led to a delegation of senior GOP Sens/Reps to tell Nixon he must step down. Contrast that w current situation.) https://t.co/uqSpsUqIL7
— James Fallows (@JamesFallows) January 3, 2021
Surely this is a criminal and impeachable offense — or would be, if Donald Trump hadn’t already been impeached and protected by Republicans in the U.S. Senate. In fact, Republican senators now are lining up to try to steal the election themselves.
Here’s the complete 62-minute call. Trump kicks things off by rambling for 12 straight minutes. He claims that the size of his political rallies indicates that he must have won the election, then asserts that Fulton County alone had “a least a couple of hundred thousand” forged signatures (out of 524,659 total cast in the county). He also drags out an untrue and thoroughly debunked Q-Anon theory that a poll worker (the Post bleeps out her name) personally brought in suitcases stuffed with 18,000 ballots for Joe Biden.
The President repeats again and again debunked and bizarre theories about the election, and refuses to listen when Raffensperger tells him all the ways those theories have been debunked. Shocking and shameful.