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

President TrumpDonald TrumpWhite House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine Poll: 30 percent of GOP voters believe Trump will 'likely' be reinstated this year Black Secret Service agent told Trump it was offensive to hold rally in Tulsa on Juneteenth: report 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 HoyerBiden signs Juneteenth bill: 'Great nations don't ignore their most painful moments' House passes political spending, climate change corporate disclosures bill House to vote Wednesday on making Juneteenth a federal holiday 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 Gohmert21 Republicans vote against awarding medals to police who defended Capitol GOP's Gohmert, Clyde file lawsuit over metal detector fines Wray grilled on FBI's handling of Jan. 6 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 BidenObama: Ensuring democracy 'continues to work effectively' keeps me 'up at night' New Jersey landlords prohibited from asking potential tenants about criminal records Overnight Defense: Pentagon pulling some air defense assets from Middle East | Dems introduce resolution apologizing to LGBT community for discrimination | White House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine 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. JohnsonBlack Democrats press leaders for reparations vote this month Bottom line Schumer waiting for recommendation on Supreme Court expansion 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 CheneyCheney: 'It is disgusting and despicable' to see Gosar 'lie' about Jan. 6 GOP's Stefanik defends Trump DOJ secret subpoenas McCarthy pushes back on Biden criticism of GOP at NATO MORE (Wyo.), the highest-ranking Republican woman in Congress, said Monday.