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Over the past couple of days, media headlines have tried to convey the impression that a leaked phone call between President Trump and top Georgia officials shows Trump pressuring Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to fraudulently “find” enough votes for him to win the state.
“Trump pressures Georgia’s Raffensperger to overturn his defeat in extraordinary call” read the headline from the Washington Post.
CNN called the leaked audio “astonishing new evidence of a desperate President Donald Trump” trying to “steal the election,” claiming Trump “tried to bully” Raffensperger “into finding votes” for him.
But a review of the transcript of the call shows no such thing. The Washington Post claimed that Trump “repeatedly urged [Raffensperger] to alter the outcome of the presidential vote in the state,” but that isn’t what happened.
Throughout the conversation, Trump lays out the evidence that there was voter fraud in the state, and demands an honest accounting of the ballots, which he believes would give him more than 11,000 votes needed to win the state. “I just want to find 11,780 votes,” is the key quote cited by the media, but there’s more to the quote.
“So look. All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state,” is what Trump said, in context. He also insisted that “there’s no way I lost Georgia. There’s no way. We won by hundreds of thousands of votes.”
During the conversation, Trump laid out the evidence, explaining how there “4,502 voters who voted but who weren’t on the voter registration list,” and “18,325 vacant address voters” whose votes should not have been counted. He even mentioned 904 votes linked to post office boxes, which is also not allowed. Trump also mentioned the State Farm videotape that corresponds to a late-night vote dump of at least 18,000 votes which were counted after Republican poll watchers were told to leave. Trump brought up nearly 5,000 out-of-state votes, 2,326 absentee ballots sent to vacant addresses, and roughly 5,000 votes from dead people. Then there are the suspicious military ballots that went all for Biden.
“So there were many infractions, and the bottom line is, many, many times the 11,779 margin that they said we lost by — we had vast, I mean the state is in turmoil over this,” Trump said on the call.
Raffensperger disputed Trump’s claims, saying that only two dead people voted, that the State Farm video didn’t actually show fraud. Raffensperger also claimed that an audit showed that there weren’t any ballots that were scanned three times.
While it’s true that not all of these allegations by Trump’s team may pan out or be proven, the allegations are linked to many thousands of votes and should be investigated properly. Yes, Trump did acknowledge that he’d only need roughly 12,000 votes to change the result, but that margin is smaller than the number of disputed ballots. “Look, Brad. I got to get . . . I have to find 12,000 votes, and I have them times a lot. And therefore, I won the state. That’s before we go to the next step, which is in the process of right now. You know, and I watched you this morning, and you said, well, there was no criminality.”
Trump very clearly believes that he legitimately won Georgia, and wasn’t asking Raffensperger to fraudulently “find” enough ballots to make up that margin. Trump discussed at length the examples of fraud, which are backed up by video evidence, affidavits, and statistical analyses.
Like the transcript with Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky that Democrats impeached him over, this phone call is yet another nothingburger that has the media and the left crying foul. There’s already a Wikipedia page for the “Trump-Raffensperger scandal.” Democrats are reportedly looking to censure Trump and have asked FBI Director Wray to open a criminal probe. But Trump quite clearly presented evidence that there was fraud, and made the case that the number of disputed ballots is larger than his deficit in the certified results. A proper investigation would resolve these outstanding questions about these disputed ballots.