US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

What have Biden and Democrats said about Trump’s leaked Georgia phone call

So far, president-elect Joe Biden is yet to publicly comment on the leaked phone call recording, but his second-in-command Kamala Harris has.

What have Biden and Democrats said about Trump’s leaked Georgia phone call
JIM WATSON MANDEL NGAN AFP

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 tapes: what did president say about Georgia votes?

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.

Trump to Raffensperger: “find” the 11,780 votes I need to flip Georgia

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.

What have Democrats said about Georgia "Trump Tapes" scandal?

Joe Biden is yet to publicly comment on the leaked audio, which commentators are now suggesting is worse than the Richard Nixon Watergate scandal. Vice president-elect Kamala Harris, while campaigning Sunday night for Reverend Warnock and Jon Ossoff in the Savannah area of Georgia ahead of 5 January Senate runoff elections, said “Have y'all heard about that recorded conversation? Well it was certainly the voice of desperation. Most certainly that. And it was a bald-faced abuse of power by the president of the United States."

House Representative from New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was quick to speak out, telling reporters on Capitol Hill as the 117th session of Congress began; "I absolutely think it's an impeachable offence, and if it was up to me, there would be articles on the floor quite quickly, but he, I mean, he is trying to — he is attacking our very election.”

House Democrat for Georgia, Rep. Hank Johnson tweeted plans to formally censure Trump Monday; ".@realDonaldTrump's call to the Ga. SOS was far from 'perfect.' In fact, it is a violation of state and federal law. Tomorrow, I will introduce a resolution of Censure. Trump should resign NOW!" Johnson tweeted.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who headed up Trump's impeachment in the fall of 2019, condemned Trump's actions on Sunday but stopped short of advocating for another round of impeachment; "I think it is among the most despicable abuses of power of his long list, possibly criminal, morally repugnant, virulently anti-democratic and dangerous to our democracy," Schiff told reporters, adding "...if it's potentially criminal, then it's potentially impeachable, and even in the absence of a crime, it's potentially impeachable."