ATLANTA — 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 “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 pressure a state official to reverse the outcome of a free and fair election that he lost. The president, who has refused to accept his loss to Democratic president-elect Biden, repeatedly argued that Raffensperger could change the certified results.

“All I want to do is this. 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 a 11,779 margin, Raffensperger noted: “President Trump, we’ve had several lawsuits, and we’ve had to respond in court to the lawsuits and the contentions. 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 will be posting the full audio as it annotates a transcript with fact check material.

Trump’s renewed intervention and the persistent and unfounded claims of fraud come nearly two weeks before he leaves office and two days before twin runoff elections in Georgia that will determine political control of the U.S. Senate.

The president used the hourlong conversation to tick through a list of claims about the election in Georgia, including that hundreds of thousands of ballots mysteriously appeared in Fulton County, which includes Atlanta. Officials have said there is no evidence of that happening.

The Georgia officials on the call are heard repeatedly pushing back against the president’s assertions, telling him that he’s relying on debunked theories and, in one case, selectively edited video.

At another point in the conversation, Trump appeared to threaten Raffensperger and Ryan Germany, the secretary of state’s legal counsel, by suggesting both could be criminally liable if they failed to find that thousands of ballots in Fulton County had been illegally destroyed. There is no evidence to support Trump’s claim.

“That’s a criminal offense,” Trump says. “And you can’t let that happen.”

Others on the call included Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, and attorneys assisting Trump, including Washington lawyer Cleta Mitchell.

Democrats and a few Republicans condemned Trump’s actions, while at least one Democrat urged a criminal investigation. Legal experts said Trump’s behavior raised questions about possible election law violations.

Biden senior adviser Bob Bauer called the recording “irrefutable proof” of Trump pressuring and threatening an official in his own party to “rescind a state’s lawful, certified vote count and fabricate another in its place.”

“It captures the whole, disgraceful story about Donald Trump’s assault on American democracy,” Bauer said.

Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat in that chamber, said Trump’s conduct “merits nothing less than a criminal investigation.”

Trump confirmed in a tweet Sunday that he had spoken with Raffensperger. The White House referred questions to Trump’s reelection campaign, which did not respond Sunday to an emailed request for comment. Raffensperger’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Trump has repeatedly attacked how Raffensperger conducted Georgia’s elections, claiming without evidence that the state’s 16 electoral votes were wrongly given to Biden.

“He has no clue!” Trump tweeted of Raffensperger, saying the state official “was unwilling, or unable” to answer questions.

Raffensperger’s Twitter response: “Respectfully, President Trump: What you’re saying is not true. The truth will come out.”

Various election officials across the country and Trump’s former attorney general, William Barr, have said there was no widespread fraud in the election. Republican governors in Arizona and Georgia, key battleground states crucial to Biden’s victory, have also vouched for the integrity of their state elections. Nearly all the legal challenges from Trump and his allies have been dismissed by judges, including two tossed by the Supreme Court, which includes three Trump-nominated justices.

In Georgia, the ballots were counted three times, including a mandatory hand count and a Trump-requested recount.

Still, Trump has publicly disparaged the election, worrying Republicans that may discourage GOP voters from participating in Tuesday’s runoffs pitting Sen. Kelly Loeffler against Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican David Perdue against Democrat Jon Ossoff.

Rebecca Green, who helps direct the election law program at William and Mary Law School, said that while it is appropriate for a candidate to question the outcome of an election, the processes for doing so for the presidential election have run their course. States have certified their votes.

Green said Trump had raised “lots of questions” about whether he violated any election laws.

Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond, said Trump is guilty of “reprehensible and, possibly illegal, conduct.”

Trump noted on the call that he intended to repeat his claims about fraud at a Monday night rally in Dalton, a heavily Republican area in north Georgia.

“The people of Georgia are angry, the people of the country are angry,” he says on the recording.

Biden is also due to campaign in Georgia on Monday, and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris stumped in Garden City, Georgia, on Sunday, slamming Trump for the call.

“It was a bald, bald-faced, bold abuse of power by the president of the United States,” she said.

Loeffler and Perdue have largely backed Trump in his attempts to overturn election results. But on Sunday, Loeffler said she hadn’t decided whether to join Republican colleagues in challenging the legitimacy of Biden’s victory over Trump when Congress meets Wednesday to affirm Biden’s 306-232 vote win in the Electoral College.

Perdue, who was quarantining after being exposed to a staff member with the coronavirus, said he supports the challenge, although he will not be a sitting senator when the vote happens because his term has expired. Still, he told Fox News Channel he was encouraging his colleagues to object, saying it’s “something that the American people demand right now.”

His rival, Ossoff, speaking at the Garden City rally, attacked Perdue and Loeffler for failing to stand up for Georgia’s voters, specifically saying that the state’s Black voters were being targeted.

“When the president of the United States calls up Georgia’s election officials and tries to intimidate them to change the result of the election, to disenfranchise Georgia voters, to disenfranchise Black voters in Georgia who delivered this state for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, that is a direct attack on our democracy,” he said.

———

Superville reported from Washington and Brumback from Atlanta. Associated Press writer Russ Bynum in Garden City, Georgia, contributed to this report.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

(47) comments

Greg F

I'm sure he had the idea to pardon anyone who would "find" votes for him also. Quid-Pro-Pardon Donnie

In a co op letter, 10 living former Secretaries of Defense led by Dick Cheney wrote: "Our elections have occurred. Recounts and audits have been conducted. Appropriate challenges have been addressed by the courts. Governors have certified the results. And the electoral college has voted," the 10 men are from both Republican and Democratic administrations. They were all calling for the military not to interfere in the transition of administrations.

16 days can’t come too soon.

Greg F

And we have about 120 house members who think otherwise...all led by blind fealty to the Russian agent in the Oval Office trying to usurp the constitution. Ted (Rafael) Cruz wants now to act like he wants to support a new Castro regime rather than overturn one like his pappy came from.

Greg F

What we are witnessing here is no less than an attempt at a coup. GOP house members signing on to this are conspiring in seditious acts and treason to overthrow the democracy. https://www.teenvogue.com/story/trump-call-attempted-coup-congress-electoral-college-votes

gary4books

Sooner or later, it IS later. Later than many think. Say "Good Night" Donald.

Greg F

Sooner, I hope this is heard being said to Agent Orange: "You have the right to remain silent..." to which he won't ever shut up.

gary4books

And he will say "Good Night Donald."

saogirl52

Hey Matt853, don't be so harsh. I committed my spelling errors at 10:30 PM. I haven't started day drinking yet, but Trump and his ilk could push me there.

matts853

I’m with you, girl. Not judging. I was digging at CD. Trump has pushed me there as well! Carry on!

matts853

Are you not entertained, Trump supporters? Are you not entertained?

To all the ‘proud boys’, MAGA sycophants, QAnon cult members, and every idiot out there that is still flying the Trump flag - just know that the president you hold in such high regard is INSANE and attempting a coup. He’s lying to you and has tricked you into believing he’s a patriot. With this recording, you no longer have any excuse to believe that he won the election. So please, for the sake of our democracy, just stop supporting this grotesquely UN-American, seditious criminal. Stand down and go home.

saogirl52

Matts 853...

I've not resorted to day drinking yet, but Trump could easily push me there.

matts853

I see you original post was from last night. I was drinking then too!

Thewheelone

Well done, Matts853

Hayduke2

Matt - [thumbup][thumbup]

olefool

I listened to the tape, front to back. This is bad, bad, bad for Donny, Meadows and their lawyer.. Suborning (to bribe or otherwise induce (someone) to commit an unlawful act such as perjury.) a government official to violate laws in his official capacity is a felony, both Federal and State. A reasonable person listening to that tape would draw conclusions that Meadows, Trump and his Lawyer engaged in a conspiracy to harass, threaten, intimidate or otherwise cajole another person to commit felonies and perjury has occurred.

matts853

100% correct olefool. Trump is an enemy of the state.

shiftless88

"recalculate".....that says it all

Dwasserba

'“All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,' Trump said.'" Super clear on just what he needs them to "find." They need to respond in a way he can understand: Go directly to jail. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200.

threecents

Isn't this obviously conspiracy to commit election fraud, and isn't it just Trump's impeachable offence of the week? It's no longer ironic that he is guilty of the offence he accuses others of. That is simply his way of doing business.

public-redux

Yes, Trump finally provided evidence of election fraud.

Thewheelone

This man has been our chief executive for 4 years and he has been becoming more and more unhinged all along the way. Listen to the recording. Does this give his supporters in this forum any pause at all? Please comment. Jsk, CD, Des, Blatchford, Leonardkeepers, or anyone else who has defended this guy, please chime in.

newspostreader

Thewheelone - It doesn't give them pause. That is the scary thing. They believe everything he says and does. It is concerning that we have that many Americans who buy into this cult type mentality.

Hayduke2

Wheel - want to bet that you won't get a response? I find it unbelievable that Cruz and other spineless Congress people still back these made up claims. Even former Joint Chief's/military leaders ( including Rumsfled and Chaney ) found the need to write a letter expressing their concern about the president. Sad that the Republican party and those faux patriots who claim to be law and order proponents support these acts of sedition.

Thewheelone

It ain't gonna happen Hay, you are correct; yet, on they press, on they support and on they continue to shift blame, deflect, defer and deny.

matthewboh

Spoiled little frat boi.

saogirl52

Do uou finally believe that Trump is a grifter, a thief, and an aii round ganef?

bosco

Add loser to your list. One of his favorite taunts is to call others losers. Now he's a loser in the nation's biggest contest. Karma at work.

I have little respect for politicians of all stripes.

threecents

This is about Trump. It is not fair to smear all politicians with Trump's poop. Trump is above and beyond. Even McConnell and Graham are in his dust. Even Ted Cruz can't touch Trump's stink, though he sure likes to sniff it.

bosco

True, Trump is above and beyond, but I have little respect for most all politicians who pack bills with pork we don't need and vote on bills that they haven't even read. The theater of politics has been very interesting the past four years by watching the Democrat's shenanigans, but who are now preaching unity. Now it's time to hold Biden's feet to the fire since he has a plan for every problem. The midterms will be his referendum and he has little time to produce.

threecents

Bosco finally coming out of the closet?

shiftless88

bosco; regarding pork and bills they don't read. Pork can be good as well as bad; it is a matter of perspective. As for not reading the bills; they empower their leadership to negotiate these bills so they are merely trusting their internally elected leaders. For example, I vote for politicians without reading every single thing they have written or tracking every single one of their votes. Do you do this?

Hayduke2

Hey bosco, why no comments about the socialist/authoritarian Republicans pushing their anti American agenda..

phydeaux994

bosco, what shenanigans?? Name some. Everything the Democrats have done in the last four years has been in response to Trump’s shenanigans, which are too numerous to list. Why do you keep defending this crazy man?? Or the whole Trumplican Party. You keep saying the same things over and over. Trump is rotten to the core. Admit it!!

bosco

threecents, nope, just refocusing on what the Socialist Democrats have been doing and saying for the past four years and ready to turn their own tactics right back on them. Karma.

bosco

Fido, I've recounted them for you several times in the past. Please pay attention. A few highlights are the fake dossier paid for by Hillary and used by Comey to obtain false FISA warrents, the Shifty Schiff kangaroo court where he denied witnesses from the Republicans, to Pelosi tearing up the SOU address, Biden calling Trump xenophobic, Pelosi inviting everyone down to Chinatown, to the Moscow/Beijing money pipeline to the Bidens, and more. I know you'll deny it all, so just be prepared for the results when Quid Pro Joe and the Socialist left gets control. Ready for open borders and higher taxes?

phydeaux994

bosco, no you haven’t. That’s the favorite dodge of the RRR(RadicalRightRepublicans)/BTT(BullyTagTeam) when they have no answer. And what have the Socialist Democrats been doing and saying for the last four years? I know, I know, you already told us. And you never debate anyway because you have no facts. All you do is call names and whip out another of your “clever” remarks so DM (notCD) will give you a thumbs up. Peace.✌️😷🔬🧪💉💪

threecents

Bosco, Not meant in a religious way, but why not open your eyes and see the truth? In the long run you will be better for it.

bnick467

No one is smearing McConnell, Graham, and Cruz in Trump's stink. They are gleefully rolling around in it on their own. Ever seen that video with the two girls and the one cup? That is McConnell, Graham, and Cruz playing in Trump's stink.

Hayduke2

Phy - don't expect a factual response. More of the Same old same old nonsense from some commenters. Bringing up Pelosi in February, before the extent of the virus was known - Wow, that is so powerful. NOT! More of the QAnon stuff or the rants from the echo chamber known as Parler.. If it weren't so sad, it would be laughable.

saogirl52

I apologize for my atrocious spelling. Apparently I cannot have a beer and type at the same time. Please accept my editing. Do you now believe that Trump is a grifter, a thief, and all around ganef?

C.D.Reid

I hardly think that one little typo constitutes "atrocious spelling," don't be so hard on yourself, saogirl.

Hayduke2

Hey CD, I'b be interested in your answer to her last sentence. You are a big pro Trump guy, so let's hear your take on this one.

matts853

That’s all you got this morning CD,

compassion for a day drinking poor speller?

Please, tell us your thoughts on the call. Was it perfect? Is it sedition? Perhaps, criminal election interference? How about the republicans still supporting him in this conspiracy to overthrow democracy? You’ve never been one to shy away from expressing your opinion on Trump’s actions. Let’s hear it.

threecents

Deplorable comes to mind.

saogirl52

Thank you for your comment, CD. I appreciate it.

C.D.Reid

"matts853 Jan 4, 2021 11:01am

I see you original post was from last night. I was drinking then too!"

Matts, maybe you should worry about what you post rather than what I would write if I felt like writing something.

And Hay, since when have you ever cared about my opinions?

Hayduke2

Come on CD, do you support this farce Trump is pushing? He is your guy.

Welcome to the discussion.

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