Georgia officials open inquiry into Trump efforts to overturn election results

The Georgia secretary of state’s office is investigating former President Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results in the Peach State, which included a phone call he placed to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) in early January.

Walter Jones, a spokesman for the office, confirmed the probe in a Monday statement and described it as “fact-finding and administrative.”

“The Secretary of State’s office investigates complaints it receives. The investigations are fact-finding and administrative in nature,” Jones said. “Any further legal efforts will be left to the Attorney General.”

The investigation is likely to focus in part on a Jan. 2 phone call in which Trump pressed Raffensberger to “find” the votes necessary to overturn his electoral loss in Georgia and issued veiled threats.

“The ballots are corrupt, and they’re brand new, and they don’t have seals, and there’s a whole thing with the ballots. But the ballots are corrupt. 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 to Ryan, your lawyer,” Trump said during the hourlong phone call.

“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,” he continued.

Jason Miller, senior adviser to Trump, said in a statement that Trump’s call with Raffensberger was not improper. 

“There was nothing improper or untoward about a scheduled call between President Trump, Secretary Raffensperger and lawyers on both sides,” Miller said. “If Mr. Raffensperger didn’t want to receive calls about the election, he shouldn’t have run for Secretary of State. And the only reason the call became public was because Mr. Raffensperger leaked it in an attempt to score political points.”

Trump in the months following the election falsely claimed that he won Georgia, despite numerous recounts showing that President Biden narrowly won the state.

Georgia was among multiple states where Trump’s lawyers unsuccessfully filed lawsuits to challenge the results. Gabriel Sterling, a top Georgia elections official, repeatedly and publicly pushed back on Trump’s baseless claims of electoral fraud.

Trump in December also pressured Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) to convene a special legislative session to overturn the results, a demand Kemp did not obey. Trump has publicly targeted Kemp, calling for him to resign and face a primary in the 2022 gubernatorial election.

Meanwhile, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D) is deciding whether to open a criminal inquiry into Trump’s efforts to overturn the results in Georgia, according to The New York Times.

—Updated at 8:40 p.m.

Tags 2020 2020 election Brad Raffensperger Brian Kemp Donald Trump Georgia Joe Biden Trump–Raffensperger phone call Walter Jones

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