US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

Trump begs Georgia official to “recalculate” election result in leaked phonecall audio

President Donald Trump has called on Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to "find" the 11,780 votes needed to overturn the election result.

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Trump begs Georgia official to “recalculate” election result in leaked phonecall audio
ERIN SCHAFF / ZUMA PRESS / CONTACTOPHOTO - Archivo Europa Press

 In a telephone call with Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, President Donald Trump told the state’s top election official to “recalculate” the election result to flip the result. President-elect Joe Biden won the state of Georgia in the November presidential election but Trump is heard calling for Raffensperger to “find” 11,780 votes in audio released by The Washington Post on Sunday.

The startling demand is the most blatant of Trump’s attempts to overturn the election result, coming after a serious of courtroom defeats that have left him with few other avenues in his effort to contest the outcome. The President’s actions have been roundly criticised, with Georgia’s Congresswoman-elect Carolyn Bordeaux accusing him of "bullying and strong-arming our election officials".

Trump: The people are angry

The Washington Post have released around four minutes of audio from a conversation held between the President and Raffensperger, during which Ryan German, the Secretary of State’s legal counsel, was also on the call. In the audio that has been released Trump repeated the same baseless conspiracy theories that have characterised his post-election activities.

"Do you think it’s possible that they shredded ballots in Fulton County?" Trump said during the hour-long conversation. "Because that is what the rumour is. And also that Dominion took out machines. That Dominion is really moving fast to get rid of their, uh, machinery. Do you know anything about that? Because that’s illegal."

He also suggested that there was evidence of votes been “shredded” in Fulton County. On both counts, and in-keeping with the courtroom response to the theories, both Raffensperger and Germany told Trump that the claims are untrue.

The President was at great pains to point out that his supporters are unhappy with the election result, coming after months of conspiracy-peddling by the Trump campaign and associated legal team. Trump could be heard saying:

“The people of Georgia are angry, the people in the country are angry. And there’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, that you’ve recalculated," before reciting a “rumour” he had heard about election fraud.

President calls on Raffensperger to “find” the 11,780 votes needed to flip result

In recent weeks it has been suggested that the President is continuing his campaign to overturn the election result outside of the courtroom. After suffering numerous legal defeats he has hit out at a number of top Georgia election officials, labelling Governor Brian Kemp and Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan “a disgrace” on Sunday. Trump has previously been accused of attempting to pressure Kemp into overturning the election result in the state.

The Washington Post report represents the first audio evidence of the President looking to coerce an election official into altering the election result in his favour. In one exchange, Trump told Raffensperger that he needs to "find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.”

In the audio Trump appears adamant that he was the victor, saying: “There’s no way I lost Georgia. There’s no way. We won by hundreds of thousands of votes."

The call, which comes just days before Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to officially count the Electoral College votes and confirm President-elect Joe Biden as the victor, appears to be the most desperate Trump tactic to date. Raffensperger rebutted the President’s claims at numerous points in the conversation and refused to support his allegations.