Trump urged Georgia elections official to ‘find the fraud’ in separate call, report claims

Mr Trump allegedly told the Georgia official they would be a ‘national hero’ if they found evidence of fraud

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Monday 15 March 2021 22:29 GMT
Brad Raffensperger received his own call from Mr Trump, audio of which was made public
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Update, March 15, 2021: The Washington Post issued a correction to its story on 11 March, 2021. It said that following the release of a recording between Donald Trump and Georgia’s top elections investigator that it had misquoted the former president. “Trump did not tell the investigator to ‘find the fraud’ or say she would be ‘a national hero’ if she did so,” The Post wrote. In order to acknowledge this, we have amended our headline to make it clear that this was an allegation, and added this update to state the latest position.

Donald Trump allegedly pressured Georgia’s top elections investigator to “find the fraud” in a phone call last month, as the president continued in his attempts to overturn president-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the state.

The Washington Post reported that Mr Trump made the call on 23 December as the investigations chief for the Georgia secretary of state’s office pursued allegations of ballot fraud in the suburbs of Atlanta.

Citing people familiar with the call, the Post  reported Mr Trump allegedly told the official that they would be a “national hero” if they found evidence of fraud. In later reporting, The Post acknowledged that the ‘hero’ comment was not in fact made.

However, he did tell the investigator that she had “the most important job in the country right now”, the Post added.

The president has made at least three separate calls to state officials in Georgia seeking to overturn or complaining about the results of November’s presidential election.

In this instance, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger had launched an investigation to determine if election officials in Cobb County accepted mail-in ballots that did not match those on file. Mr Trump’s call came as inquiries were underway.

The allegations were eventually determined to have no merit.

Mr Raffensperger confirmed to the Post  that Mr Trump made the call in December but was not aware of the details of what was discussed. He did say it was inappropriate for the president to attempt to intervene in an investigation.

The first known incidence of Mr Trump speaking with Georgia officials regarding the election was in early December when he criticized Republican Governor Brian Kemp for certifying the state’s results.

During a 2 January call, the president both threatened and flattered Mr Raffensperger in an attempt to get him to overturn the election results.

Audio of the conversation was made public. On the recording, Mr Trump told the secretary of state: “Go find me some votes.”

Legal experts have flagged the call as a possible violation of state or federal law.

The Post’s source says that the 23 December call was similar to that made to Mr Raffensperger.

No evidence of widespread voter fraud was found in Georgia or any other state.

President-elect Joe Biden became the first Democrat to win Georgia  since 1992 with 49.5 per cent of the vote with a count of 2,473,633 ballots.

Mr Trump lost Georgia by 11,779 votes.

The Independent has contacted the White House for comment.

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