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Perdue defends Trump over call pressuring Georgia secretary of state

Sen. David PerdueDavid PerdueGeorgia's top election official looks to shake political drama Lobbying world JPMorgan Chase CEO speaks out to defend voting rights in response to Georgia law MORE (R-Ga.) on Monday defended President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to move ahead with billion UAE weapons sale approved by Trump Fox News hires high-profile defense team in Dominion defamation lawsuit Associate indicted in Gaetz scandal cooperating with DOJ: report MORE’s call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) during which the president pressured the state official to find votes to overturn his election loss.

“I didn’t hear anything in that tape that the president hasn’t already said for weeks now since the November election calling for some sort of investigation, some sort of resolution to the improprieties and the irregularities that we now see happened in November here in Georgia,” Perdue, one of two Republican senators facing runoff elections in Georgia on Tuesday, said on Fox News when asked about the call.

When pressed about other Republican pushback to the call, a recording of which was published by The Washington Post on Sunday, Perdue suggested the president was rightly raising concerns about the state’s election.

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“What he is saying, a lot of people in Georgia and 75 million Americans, I think, align with him right now that something untoward happened here in Georgia and we have not gotten to the bottom of it,” Perdue said.

He also called the leak of the call “disgusting.”

Trump can be heard on the call pressuring Raffensperger to “find” votes that would overturn his election loss. Trump also seems to threaten Raffensperger, whom he has repeatedly attacked on social media, with vague consequences if the Georgia official does not act in his favor.

“The ballots are corrupt,” Trump said on the call. “And you are going to find that they are — which is totally illegal — it is more illegal for you than it is for them because, you know, what they did and you’re not reporting it. That’s a criminal, that’s a criminal offense. And you can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you and ... your lawyer.”

Georgia officials have said there is no evidence of widespread fraud in the state’s election. President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenIRS to roll out payments for ,000 child tax credit in July Capitol Police told not to use most aggressive tactics in riot response, report finds Biden to accompany first lady to appointment for 'common medical procedure' MORE’s win has been affirmed by three state audits and certified twice.

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The phone call has prompted heavy criticism, including from some Republicans. Rep. Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerGaetz was denied meeting with Trump: CNN Boehner finally calls it as he sees it The Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings MORE (R-Ill.) called it “absolutely appalling.” Vice President-elect Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisCongressional Black Caucus members post selfie celebrating first WH visit in four years Harris: Daunte Wright 'should be alive today' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - Biden, lawmakers start down a road with infrastructure MORE, speaking at a rally in Georgia on Sunday, described it as a “bald-faced, bold abuse of power.”

Perdue’s defense of Trump came hours before the president is scheduled to travel to the Peach State to rally for the two vulnerable Republican senators on the eve of the runoffs. Perdue and Sen. Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerGeorgia's top election official looks to shake political drama Collins hits Warnock after All-Star Game pulled: 'Thanks for nothing' High anxiety over Trump in Georgia GOP MORE (R) are facing challenges from Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, respectively.

Republicans view Trump’s presence in Georgia as necessary to turn out the base, but many worry that his unproven accusations about widespread election fraud and his attacks on Georgia Republicans will ultimately hurt the party in the runoffs. Trump has targeted Raffensperger as well as Georgia Gov. Brian KempBrian KempMLB's ratings sink with GOP Trump digs in on attacks against Republican leaders Will Smith moving production of new film out of Georgia over election law MORE (R) over their refusal to back his fraud claims.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyRepublicans need to stop Joe Biden's progressive assault on America Top academics slam Puerto Rico Self-Determination Act Boehner: 'There's a lot of leaders in the Republican Party' MORE (R-Calif.), a staunch ally of the president, also similarly downplayed controversy surrounding Trump’s call to Raffensperger during an appearance early Monday on “Fox & Friends.”

“The president has always been concerned about the integrity of the election and the president believes there are things that happened in Georgia and he wants to see the accountability for it,” McCarthy said.