Jan 3, 2021 - Politics & Policy

WaPo: Trump urged Georgia's secretary of state to "find" votes to overturn Biden win

President Trump at the White House

President Trump walks to the Oval Office on Dec 31. Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump on Saturday tried to convince Georgia's Republican Secretary of State to "find 11,780 votes" — enough to overturn Joe Biden's win in the state — in an hourlong phone call obtained by the Washington Post.

Why it matters: Trump's personal appeal to Brad Raffensperger, which included suggesting that the secretary of state could face legal trouble if he did not take action on Trump's grievances, comes as several Senate Republicans plan to object to certifying election results in a last-ditch effort to support the president's unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud.

The state of play: Before the Post published the audio, Trump tweeted that he spoke with Raffensperger on Saturday. The president accused Raffensperger of being "unwilling, or unable" to answer questions on the president's unsubstantiated claims.

  • Raffensperger responded: "Respectfully, President Trump: What you're saying is not true. The truth will come out."

What they're saying: Trump repeated baseless and debunked conspiracy theories about the election, to which Raffensperger responded, "Mr. President, the challenge that you have is, the data you have is wrong.”

  • Trump later during the exchange said: "I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have, because we won the state." Biden won Georgia by 11,779 votes.

Key exchanges:

TRUMP: "You know what they did and you're not reporting it. Thats a criminal, that's a criminal offense. And you can't let that happen. That's a big risk to you and to Ryan, your lawyer. "

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TRUMP: "So tell me Brad, what are we going to do? We won the election, and it's not fair to take it away from us like this. And it's going to be very costly in many ways. And I think you have to say that you're going to reexamine it, and you can reexamine it, but reexamine it with people that want to find answers, not people who don't want to find answers."

RAFFENSPERGER: "Mr. President, you have people that submit information, and we have our people that submit information, and then it comes before the court, and the court then has to make a determination. We have to stand by our numbers. We believe our numbers are right."

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TRUMP: "You should meet tomorrow. Because you have a big election coming up, and 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 ... you would be respected, really respected, if this thing could be straightened out before the election. You have a big election coming up on Tuesday."

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