State Watch

Corrected: Trump asked Georgia elections investigator to identify wrongdoing in state’s presidential vote: report

Correction: An initial version of this report, based on reporting by The Washington Post, said that President Trump told Georgia’s top elections investigator investigator in a December phone call to “find the fraud” and said they would be “a national hero” if they did so. However, the Georgia secretary of state later released an audio recording of Trump’s call revealing that the Post misquoted Trump’s comments during the call in its report, which was based on information a source provided. This version has been corrected.

President Trump made a “lengthy” phone call to Georgia’s top elections investigator in December asking her to identify wrongdoing in state’s presidential vote, an individual familiar with the call told The Washington Post.

The call was reportedly placed shortly before Christmas, while Frances Watson, the chief investigator of the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, was looking into allegations of ballot fraud in Cobb County — a county President-elect Joe Biden won. The investigator was looking into now-disputed allegations that county elections officials improperly accepted mail ballots with signatures that didn’t match those on file.

According to audio of the call later obtained by The Wall Street Journal, Trump told Watson she had “the most important job in the country right now” and would find “dishonesty” in ballots cast in Fulton County, Ga.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) confirmed to the Post that Trump called on Dec. 23 but said he was unfamiliar with the contents of the discussion. He told the newspaper that it was inappropriate for Trump to attempt to intervene. 

“That was an ongoing investigation,” Raffensperger told the Post. “I don’t believe that an elected official should be involved in that process.”

The call to the investigator came before the one-hour phone call Trump had with Raffensperger on Jan. 2, in which the president urged the secretary of state to “find” more than 11,000 ballots to flip the Peach State’s election result.

The Post released excerpts of that call earlier this month. 

Biden won the state of Georgia in November by more than 11,000 votes — the first time a Democrat has won in the reliably red state since 1992, when former President Clinton clinched a victory there. 

“All I want to do is this,” the president said during the call with Raffensperger. “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.”

Trump previously called Gov. Brian Kemp (R) to pressure him to call a special session of the state’s legislature to appoint a new set of electors for Trump.

Despite the repeated efforts by the president and his campaign to overturn his election defeat, Trump acknowledged the end of his presidency  after Congress certified the Electoral College vote.

The president, in a video posted to social media, said that he was committed to a peaceful transition of power following the violent riots started by a mob of his supporters that roiled the Capitol on Jan. 6.

–Updated on March 15 at 3:41 p.m. 

Tags 2020 election Bill Clinton Brad Raffensperger Brian Kemp Capitol Riots Donald Trump Georgia Georgia 2020 election Joe Biden peaceful transition of power pressure

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