WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump pressured Georgia’s Republican secretary of state to “find” enough votes to overturn Joe Biden’s win in the state’s presidential election, repeatedly citing disproven claims of fraud and raising the prospect of a “criminal offense” if officials did not change the vote count, according to a recording of the conversation.
The phone call with Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Saturday was the latest step in an unprecedented effort by a sitting president to press a state official to reverse the outcome of a free and fair election that he lost. The Republican president, who has refused to accept his loss to Democratic President-elect Biden, repeatedly argued that Raffensperger could change the certified results.
“I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” Trump said. “Because we won the state.”
Georgia counted its votes three times before certifying Biden’s win by an 11,779-vote margin, Raffensperger noted.
“President Trump, we’ve had several lawsuits, and we’ve had to respond in court to the lawsuits and the contentions,” he said on the call. “We don’t agree that you have won.”
Audio snippets of the conversation were first posted online by The Washington Post. The Associated Press obtained the full audio of Trump’s conversation with Georgia officials from a person on the call. The AP has a policy of not amplifying disinformation and unproven allegations. The AP plans to post the full audio as it annotates a transcript with fact check material.