In an hour-long phone call on Saturday, Donald Trump demanded that Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger commit multiple crimes in order to overturn the results of the state’s presidential election. It is the latest and most shocking yet of Trump’s efforts to retain power regardless of which laws must be broken, and it is all on tape.
The Washington Post obtained the recording of Trump’s call to Raffensberger, and reports that Trump “alternately berated Raffensperger, tried to flatter him, begged him to act and threatened him with vague criminal consequences if the secretary of state refused to pursue his false claims.”
Trump urged Raffensperger to announce that he had “recalculated” the election results. There is little way to interpret the conversation other than a request by Trump for the state’s election office to commit an unambiguous act of fraud.
“So look. All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state,” Trump said. At another point, he said that it would be a “criminal offense” if Raffensperger and his office did not back up Trump’s false claims of ballot destruction, and a “big risk to you and [state legal counsel Ryan Germany].”
Though Trump’s conversation would appear to constitute a criminal act, lawyer Cleta Mitchell and chief of staff Mark Meadows were also on the line; neither voiced objections to Trump’s demands.
Asking that an election be fraudulently overturned is unquestionably a violation of Trump’s oath of office and an impeachable act. Trump and his top advisers have crossed every line: endorsing fraud, encouraging sedition, and demanding the toppling of government. It is unforgivable, and every Republican who stands with him is betraying this nation.