Adjectives like “stunning” were commonplace on Sunday afternoon, when America discovered that Donald Trump instructed Georgia’s Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to change the state’s election outcome.
I’m not sure there’s much that’s actually “stunning” about it. As I put it on Saturday, “Nothing should surprise you anymore.”
“There’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, that you’ve recalculated,” Trump told secretary of state Raffensperger, in a Saturday phone call.
Unfortunately for the president, the call was leaked to the Washington Post which released it — in its entirety. The nearly five minute clip (below) captures the most egregious moments, but the full call lasted around an hour.
Also on the call: Mark Meadows, along with attorney Cleta Mitchell. The Post noted that her participation in Trump’s post-election legal maneuvering was not previously known.
Over the course of the call, Trump repeatedly insisted to Raffensperger that “there’s no way we lost Georgia.” The president claimed to have won the state by “hundreds of thousands of votes.”
Nothing could be further from the truth, and Raffensperger made as much clear to the president. “The data you have is wrong,” he said.
Joe Biden won the state by 11,779 votes. Trump explicitly asked Raffensperger to “find” that many votes — plus one. “So look. All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes,” Trump said. “Because we won the state.”
Trump, in a tweet, accused Raffensperger of being “unwilling, or unable, to answer questions” about a so-called “‘ballots under table’ scam.” The president also repeated claims that dead people voted against him. Raffensperger, Trump digitally shouted, “has no clue!”
In a tweet of his own, Raffensperger was blunt. “Respectfully, President Trump: What you’re saying is not true.” “The truth will come out,” he added. Just hours later, the tape was released.
Last month, Gabriel Sterling, one of Raffensperger’s top lieutenants, pleaded with Trump to cease and desist from maligning the secretary of state, whose wife has reportedly received what Sterling described as “sexualized threats” to her personal cell phone.
In the Saturday call, Trump delivered threats of his own, telling the secretary of state as well as Ryan Germany, Raffensperger’s legal counsel, that they are taking “a big risk” by not “finding” the votes Trump wants.
This might fairly be described as the most brazen attempt yet by Trump to overturn the election results. The president has tried every maneuver imaginable to overturn the vote, up to and including pressuring state legislators, both from Michigan and Pennsylvania.
The leaked call comes just days before Ted Cruz is poised to lead a group of GOP senators in objecting to the certification of Biden’s Electoral College victory. Dozens of House Republicans are participating in a parallel effort.
It goes without saying (or at least it should) that were this any other president, the recording released on Sunday would cause a firestorm on Capitol Hill and likely prompt a national backlash among voters.
Just to reiterate: There is now an audio recording of Trump asking a state official to “find” the exact number of votes needed to flip that state.
Because irony is dead in our post-truth world, Trump insisted that, in fact, it was Raffensperger who may be committing a crime. “That’s a criminal offense,” Trump said, alluding to unfounded allegations of ballot destruction. “You can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you and to Ryan, your lawyer,” Trump added, suggesting Republican officials and their attorneys are engaged in a conspiracy against him.
Trump also alluded to the notion that were Raffensperger to reverse the results of the presidential ballot by Tuesday, he could help influence the Senate runoffs.
“Because of what you’ve done to the president, a lot of people aren’t going out to vote, and a lot of Republicans are going to vote negative, because they hate what you did to the president. Okay? They hate it,” Trump said. “You would be respected, really respected, if this can be straightened out before the election.”
It doesn’t get any clearer than this. There is no ambiguity. Donald Trump instructed state officials to “find” votes, doctor a presidential election, and to interfere with two Senate races. He said as much on tape and on Sunday evening, Americans listened to that tape.
This should be the end of Trump in American politics. But it won’t be. Because nothing matters anymore.
25 thoughts on “All Trump Wants Is For Georgia To ‘Find’ Him 11,780 Votes. Is That Too Much To Ask?”
Another “perfect” call.
Yep, it’s clear as day that the Ukraine call likely followed the exact same pattern. The games Republicans are playing have been hugely damaging to the long-term viability of our country. We were largely ungovernable before, but there was at least some modicum of standards and trust. That’s all out the window now. I don’t think it’ll be a big bang, but it’ll just be slow, decades-long decline as we become a failed state despite having every advantage in the world. The only way that changes is if the long-term demographic shifts toward democrats that have long been predicted actually happen. Texas, Georgia, Arizona, and North Carolina have to turn consistently blue as Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Florida will continue to be ever so slightly blue.
Guiliani was a Fed Prosecutor and Roy Cohn Trumps mentor. He knows how to put it without saying it to evade convict before a jury. Todays tape and probably why we never heard Ukraine is because impeachment is not the same onus.
I would like someone to ask Susan Collins if the impeachment (for a similar type call to Ukraine) taught Trump a lesson?
It did. It taught him he could get away with anything. That his bombast of being able to shoot someone on 5th Avenue and not lose a single vote is even closer to the literal truth than even he himself thought…
Agree, my question was a bit tongue in cheek.
thumb up emoji 🙂
Trump is fixated on Georgia because of the narrow margin by which he lost — and because Stacy Abrams, a Black woman, is getting too much credit (in Trump’s view) for turning the state purple. The thought of a smart, competent Black woman having a hand in his popular vote and Electoral College defeat drives Trump crazy.
Trump thinks it is the backroom world of his Father in Queens circa 1970. It was a threat to the Republican party which he believes is beholden to him. Influence peddling in some form. Sore loser. This week he may fully step over the line.People are angry because he wants them that way.
Pence is a fool if he thinks he can keep up with the rat pack chasing this piper. Not that I want it but Pence has his one moment to shine and this should have made that clear to him. These men put their hand on the bible and swore an oath to the Constitution.
I think we can now be sure that Trump will (attempt) to pardon himself. Hello Supremes!
Insanity, it’s not what Trump tried to do in that call that will kill American democracy, it is the fact that even after the call is available for all to listen many in the GOP will continue to support this illegal attempt to substitute our system for autocratic rule.
The swamp never smelled so vile as it does after four years of Trump and Mitch.
Makes Nixon look like a Boy Scout, by comparison.
I will be surprised if he does not attempt martial law before removal from office. Do you think he gives a whit what 10 former defense secretaries have warned?
He’s definitely going to attempt everything he can… I have definitely not ruled out him starting a war with Iran or declaring martial law in order to demand full election recounts endlessly until he wins.
I thought it was interesting to read this AM that National Guard units from many states have arrived in DC to show support for Biden. Time for another civil war?
feels like we’ve been in a high tech civil war for several years / decades now with the dismantling of truth in media standards and the rise of Fox “News.”
Can I say that I, a regular critic of R leadership (even got 1 comment here deleted as I had apparently been too brutal with Rs?), am impressed with the middle management level of the R party?
Maybe all is not lost? In Michigan as well as Georgia, it’s R local leaders standing up for democracy. Boo-ya for them!
FWIW, that comment was removed because at least two other readers didn’t understand that you were being sarcastic, and the language was a bit too abrasive. Ultimately, I decided to just remove it rather than try to explain to the other two readers that you were likely joking. 🙂
Np. I gathered as much. But for the record, I was being abrasive for the purpose of being sarcastic/educative. I think I’m right on the gist and this is scary. You’re not saying anything substantially different when you mention undereducated Trump voters and the fact that so many will see Biden as illegitimate b/c he’s a Dem.
We may not have liked Trump (d’oh) and we may have felt he was betraying American values (not my take ; he’s fully reflective of some American values, the bad ones) but we never contested he won the election fair and square. Sure, we complained about Facebook, Russia and above all else the Comey letter but those were offered as explanations/excuses for Clinton losing, not grounds for denying Trump won the EC…
Hawley, Cruz, Pence and the others of their ilk think that unfailing loyalty to Orange Julius Caesar gives them a shot at his blessing in 2024. It’s pretty clear to me that the blessing is reserved for Ivanka (or maybe Junior if things get desperate). Fred taught him to keep it in the (crime) family.
You know what? I’m glad this happened. Republicans have meandered to this lunatic for far too long. Now that the election is over, I hope more of this vitriol becomes public just so Republicans deal with the fallout. There is zero ambiguity here. On the Ukraine call, he was asking for foreign interference. Now, he is point blank asking for votes to be fabricated. Hopefully that is a distinction that will make all but the most ardent supporters cringe. Let Cruz and his merry band of traitors pull their stunts. We can only hope it is the political suicide all reasonable people deserve, and if it’s not, let them deal with the insomnia that follows.
Heard a GOP “strategist” who ran Trump’s 2016 campaign in Georgia interviewed on the BBC this morning. He argued that all Trump was doing was suggesting that the secretary of state “re-examine” the count with no threat made or implied.
They have lashed themselves to the mast of the sinking ship.
Except the ship is not sinking…
The ship is taking on water – they just convinced a bunch of the crew to dive into the water and prop the boat up for their masters while they drown.