What did Georgia Governor Brian Kemp say about Trump’s demand for election audit?
What was the governor’s response to Trump’s requests to push for an audit and aid in overturning the decisive results of the election in Georgia.
Georgia is where it’s all happening this weekend, it seems. Just hours before Donald Trump spoke at a rally in the Peach State to support the Republicans running for control of the Senate in January, he first made a private call to the governor, Brian Kemp, to ask for help in overturning the election.
In what now seems like a futile and rather desperate attempt at changing the results of an election in which Biden now has 279 certified electoral votes and more coming in, Trump made two wild-card requests of Kemp.
The first was to call a special session of the state legislature for all lawmakers in the state to override the results and appoint electors who would back the president in the electoral college, completely overriding the popular vote in the state following three completed full vote counts and a third which is on going.
The president also asked the governor to demand an audit of signatures on mail ballots, something that Kemp has previously noted that he has no power to do. Kemp denied the president’s pleas, according to the sources who remain anonymous.
When California certified its presidential election Friday, that put Biden over the top in the Electoral College, pushing his certified electoral-vote total past the threshold of 270 needed to become president. He reached 279 electoral votes and is on track to finish with 306 to Trump’s 232 once more states certify their results.
The electors meet on 14 December in their states to make the national result formal.
What did governor Brian Kemp say about his conversation with Trump?
In a tweet responding to another from the Donald, Kemp referred to the audit issue saying “As I told the President this morning, I’ve publicly called for a signature audit three times (11/20, 11/24, 12/3) to restore confidence in our election process and to ensure that only legal votes are counted in Georgia."
Kathleen Clark, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis, told the Washington Post that if Trump invoked his federal authority in his conversation Saturday with Kemp, or made the call from the Oval Office, he could have violated criminal provisions of the Hatch Act, which prohibits government officials from political activity in their official roles. Though the civil penalties of the Hatch Act do not apply to the president, the criminal provisions do, she noted.
Was the election in Georgia fair?
Georgia has now certified its election results for Joe Biden. According to the Associated Press, Republican election officials have confirmed that the election was conducted and counted fairly. No credible claims of fraud or systemic errors have been made. An audit was initiated by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, which triggered a full hand recount and audit that confirmed Biden’s victory in Georgia. A third recount, this time by machine, requested by the Trump campaign also confirmed Biden’s win in the state, by 11,769 votes.
A top election official Gabriel Sterling made an impassioned speech last week, frightened by escalating threats of violence sent to election workers in the state over Trump’s false claims of wrongdoing. Sterling pleaded that the frenzy of misinformation and anger over the election “has to stop.”
"It has to stop. Mr. President, you have not condemned these actions or this language," he said. "Senators, you have not condemned this language or these actions. This has to stop. We need you to step up. And if you're going to take a position of leadership, show some."
Trump takes Kemp critique to Valdosta, GA
At his Saturday rally in Valdosta, Georgia, Trump took the opportunity to lashed out again at Georgia governor Brian Kemp for not embracing his misguided allegations of fraud. “Your governor could stop it very easily if he knew what the hell he was doing…so far we haven’t been able to find the people in Georgia willing to do the right thing.”
In other states, Trump has lost almost every single one of the over 40 court challenges he has made, and his lawyers have been all but laughed out of court in some instances.