18 Desperate Trump Phone Calls To State A.G. Uncovered

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Prior to President Donald Trump’s phone conversation with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) over the weekend, the White House apparently tried to connect the president with the top Georgia official a whopping 18 times. The White House switchboard “made 18 previous attempts to have Trump speak with [Raffensperger] in the two months since the general election,” according to an NBC source, representing a stunningly frenzied pace of attempted election-meddling on the part of the president and his team. Based on this information, Trump and his top allies yet again seem like they’re wildly freaking out.

In their weekend conversation, Trump tried to pressure Raffensperger into finding some way to overturn the certified election outcome in the state, where Biden won. Trump said that he wanted to “find” enough votes to flip the outcome, insisting that he himself actually won the state by half a million votes, which is just not accurate and completely unsupported by the actual facts at hand. During the call — and on Twitter and in media appearances after the fact, Raffensperger repeatedly repudiated the outgoing president’s lies.

Some have suggested that the phone conversation could expose Trump to criminal liability. As experts summarized for The Washington Post, “Trump’s apparent threat of criminal consequences if Raffensperger failed to act could be seen as an attempt at extortion and a suggestion that he might deploy the Justice Department to launch an investigation.” In Georgia, the lone Democratic member of the state’s Election Board, David J. Worley, called for a state investigation of the call, noting that “[it’s] a crime to solicit election fraud, and asking the secretary to change the votes is a textbook definition of election fraud.” Trump’s claims that fraud unfairly swung the election away from him in the first place are false, meaning that changing the certified election outcome, as he demanded from Raffensperger, would require fraudulently doctoring the numbers.

Congress is scheduled to meet to certify the election outcome on Wednesday, and Trump has repeatedly insisted that the result could be swung back in his favor at that point. Although a number of Republican members of Congress have indicated their intention to object to the certification of Biden’s electoral votes, rejecting any electoral votes would require the agreement of majorities from both houses of Congress, and Democrats control the House.