Amidst continued national outcry over outgoing President Donald Trump’s feverish fight against the election outcome, The Washington Post is now reporting that, on December 23, the president called the investigations chief in the office of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R), imploring this individual to “find the fraud.” On the call, Trump insisted that the official would be a “national hero” if they followed through on the president’s wishes to find evidence of the imaginary election fraud that he claims plagued the presidential race. Since there is not and has never been any legitimate supporting evidence for Trump’s systematic election fraud claims, following through on the president’s petulant demands to “find the fraud” would require doctoring evidence.
At the time of Trump’s call to the top Georgia investigator, the official was leading an audit of mail-in ballot envelopes in Cobb County, after allegations circulated that local officials accepted fraudulent ballots. The Washington Post reports that Trump’s “attempts to intervene in an ongoing investigation could amount to obstruction of justice or other criminal violations, legal experts said, though they cautioned a case could be difficult to prove.” One such expert, former federal prosecutor Nick Akerman, said “of course that’s obstruction — any way you cut it” when asked about the president’s call, adding that Trump’s behavior “shows that he’s trying to influence the outcome of what’s going on.”
Although pairing individual envelopes with certain ballots is impossible because election workers separated ballots from their envelopes after initial signature verification in order to protect individual voters’ privacy, investigators were examining the envelopes — which contain the signatures — and looking for any issues. In Cobb County, investigators found no systematic issues. Among 15,000 envelopes, they found two with issues, but neither were attributable to fraud. The day before Trump’s call to the top Georgia investigator who was leading the Cobb inquiry, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows himself showed up to the investigation site, seeking answers about the process.
Besides his call to the Georgia investigations chief from Raffensperger’s office, Trump has also spoken on the phone with Raffensperger himself and Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, both of whom he tried to pressure into changing the certified election outcome in the state, where Biden won. While speaking to supporters at an outdoor event in D.C. shortly before the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday, Trump characterized both Kemp and Raffensperger as “corrupt.”