A newly surfaced recording of a phone call between Donald Trump and a Georgia top election investigator shows just how desperate Trump was to overturn the state’s presidential election results.
Trump’s phone call to the investigator came several days before he made the infamous call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. It had also been previously reported that Trump had spoken to another official at Raffensperger’s office.
The Wall Street Journal reported on the earlier phone call on Wednesday. In the phone call, Trump attempted to “sweet talk” chief investigator Francis Watson.
During the call, Trump urged Watson to focus her attention on Fulton County which is home to Atlanta.
“You are going to find things that are going to be unbelievable — the dishonesty,” Trump states in the recording.
“Fulton is the motherload, as the expression goes,” Trump adds.
Trump goes on to tell Watson that if he wasn’t declared the winner in Georgia, the two Republicans who were up for a run-off the next month would lose their seats in the U.S. Senate.
“When the right answer comes out, you’ll be praised,” Trump went on before claiming that she had the “most important job in the country right now.”
Trump then went on to state that “the people of Georgia are so angry at what happened to me, they know I won.”
The recording proves that Trump was prepared to produce bogus evidence of fraud ahead of Congress’ certification of Electoral College votes in favor of Joe Biden on January 6.
“We have that date of the sixth, which is a very important date,” Trump said.
Trump’s phone calls to Georgia election officials are now under investigation by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.
“The Secretary of State’s office investigates complaints it receives,” Walter Jones, a spokesman for Raffensperger’s office stated.
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He went on to describe the investigation as “fact-finding and administrative. Any further legal efforts will be left to the attorney general.”
Jones adds that the probe was prompted by a report that was filed by John Banzhaf a George Washington University law professor.
Banzhaf reportedly called Raffensperger’s office on Monday, just after he filed a complaint that requested a probe into Trump’s possible interference. This was Banzhaf’s fourth complaint since Trump’s January 2 phone call.
Trump advisor, Jason Miller, responded by stating that, “There was nothing improper or untoward about a scheduled call between President Trump, Secretary Raffensperger, and lawyers on both sides. If Mr. Raffensperger didn’t want to receive calls about the election, he shouldn’t have run for Secretary of State.”
However, several legal experts have stated that Trump’s call violated at least three Georgia criminal election laws: conspiracy to commit election fraud, criminal solicitation to commit election fraud, and intentional interference with the performance of election duties. The violations are punishable by fines and imprisonment.
If the situation would lead to prosecution, Trump would most likely argue that when he made the phone call he believed that he had lost the election due to massive voter fraud. Most criminal laws require a “guilty state-of-mind” or “deliberate intent.”
During the phone call on January 2, Trump pressured Raffensperger, who is also a Republican, to “find” enough votes to overturn his Georgia loss.
Trump is quoted in the call’s transcripts as stating, “All I want to do is this: I just want to find 11,780 votes,” which is the number Trump needed to win the state.
Four days later on January 6, the day of the deadly insurrection at the Capitol, Trump bragged about the phone call to his supporters at the “Stop the Steal” rally.