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Hoyer says Trump Georgia call likely criminal, wants 'serious' investigation

President TrumpDonald TrumpSchumer: Impeachment trial will be quick, doesn't need a lot of witnesses Nurse to be tapped by Biden as acting surgeon general: report Schumer calls for Biden to declare climate emergency MORE's pressure campaign on Georgia election officials to flip the state's voting results in his favor was likely criminal, House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerBudowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Congressional leaders present Biden, Harris with flags flown during inauguration LIVE INAUGURATION COVERAGE: Biden signs executive orders; press secretary holds first briefing MORE (D-Md) said on Tuesday, suggesting that both Congress and law enforcement agencies investigate the matter.

"I do believe [it] may well be a violation of criminal law, both from a state and a federal perspective," Hoyer told reporters on a phone call.

"This president," he added, "is out of control."

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Separately, Hoyer is also calling for Congress to reprimand Rep. Louie GohmertLouis (Louie) Buller GohmertTrust between lawmakers reaches all-time low after Capitol riots Why Trump could face criminal charges for inciting violence and insurrection Democrats to levy fines on maskless lawmakers on House floor MORE (R-Texas), a staunch Trump ally who has claimed, without evidence, that Democrats stole the election and recently told supporters of the president that, if the courts refuse to overturn the results, they "gotta go [to] the streets and be as violent as Antifa."

"That a member of Congress would suggest that people ought to go to the streets and be as violent as some other group is absolutely astounding, extraordinarily disappointing, and worthy of sanction by the Congress of the United States," Hoyer said.

The comments came a day before Congress is set to assemble for a rare joint session of the House and Senate for a ritual that's rarer still: a challenge to the results of the Electoral College, to be backed by scores of Trump's closest Republican supporters.

Despite the clear Nov. 3 victory for President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenBudowsky: A Biden-McConnell state of emergency summit DC might win US House vote if it tries Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman inks deal with IMG Models MORE, with vote totals certified by all 50 states, Trump has refused to accept his defeat at the polls, pelting local election officials with unproven allegations of widespread fraud that, he says, cheated him of another term.

The latest round of Trump's accusations surfaced in remarkable fashion last weekend, when the president pressed Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a fellow Republican, to "find" almost 12,000 votes in his favor — just enough to make him the winner in the state. The audio of the lengthy call was released Sunday by The Washington Post.

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“The people of Georgia are angry, the people of the country are angry,” Trump said during the call. “And there’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, that you’ve recalculated.”

Raffensperger declined to back down, telling the president that Georgia's election was fair and the White House's allegations had no basis in fact.

“Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is, the data you have is wrong,” Raffensperger said.

The call has drawn howls from Democrats, some of whom are comparing it to the "smoking gun" tapes that brought down President Nixon almost five decades ago.

Georgia Rep. Hank JohnsonHenry (Hank) C. JohnsonHouse Judiciary Democrats ask Pence to invoke 25th Amendment to remove Trump Five things to watch during Electoral College battle Hoyer says Trump Georgia call likely criminal, wants 'serious' investigation MORE (D) has introduced a resolution censuring the president, while others, including Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), have urged a criminal investigation to include several members of Trump's inner circle who were also on the call.

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Hoyer on Tuesday joined those calls for a criminal probe.

"There's little doubt that he said what he is alleged to have said. And if that is found to have been a criminal attempt to entice, encourage or threaten somebody to take actions which are illegal themselves, then I think that there may well be liability," Hoyer said.

"Both from the Congress's standpoint and from the legal perspective, the authorities ought to be looking at this very seriously," he added.

For Republicans, Trump's latest scandal has created an enormous headache just as voters in Georgia are heading to the polls Tuesday for two special Senate elections that will decide which party controls the upper chamber for the first two years of the Biden administration.

While Trump's closest allies have rallied in his defense, accusing Democrats of manufacturing wrongdoing where none has been discovered, others have voiced rare concerns that the president's efforts to overturn the will of voters was improper.

“I think that [the call] was deeply troubling, and I think everybody ought to listen to the full hour of it,” Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyTrump, allies raise pressure on Senate GOP ahead of impeachment Trump establishes 'Office of the Former President' in Florida Cheney spokesperson on Gaetz: 'In Wyoming, the men don't wear make-up' MORE (Wyo.), the highest-ranking Republican woman in Congress, said Monday.