Georgia prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into a phone call former President Donald Trump made asking for Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to help him “find” votes to overturn the results of the 2020 general election.
Earlier this week, The New York Times reported that Georgia officials were considering opening an investigation. As PoliticusUSA reported at the time, “If the investigation finds that Trump broke the law by trying to pressure state officials to overturn the election, the former president could be referred to the state attorney general for prosecution. Normally, in a state dominated by Republican officials, it would be extremely unlikely that Trump would be prosecuted.”
Last month, the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a criminal complaint against Trump for making the call.
“President Trump’s conduct violates not only the law, but the foundation on which our democracy is built,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in a press release. “This is some of the most egregious conduct we’ve ever seen from a US president, raising the question of whether this country is to continue as a democracy with our leaders chosen by the American people, or a dictatorship in which the leaders choose the election results they want.”
During his phone call with Raffensperger, Trump dismissed any and all arguments that he was wrong to declare the election fraudulent despite several recounts and an audit of the state’s election process that determined the election was free and fair.
“The people of Georgia are angry, the people of the country are angry,” he said. “And there’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, that you’ve recalculated.”
“Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is, the data you have is wrong.” Raffensperger told him.
Later, Trump said, “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.”
News of the call dominated headlines ahead of January 6, the day Congress officially certified President Joe Biden’s win, though was soon usurped by the news that groups of Trump’s supporters who sought to overturn the results had breached the Capitol in a violent display that left five people, including a Capitol Police officer, dead. Trump was later impeached for inciting the insurrection against Congress; the Senate trial is underway.
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.