What Americans need to know about the recent Trump tape.
- Leaked phone call between President Trump and GA Secretary of State Raffensperger discussed vote counts from state’s presidential election.
- Allegations of the phone call sparked a backlash from both Democrats and Republicans.
- Criminal offense may have occurred.
Over the weekend, a leaked phone call released by The Washington Post of President Donald Trump and Georgia’s Republican secretary of state sparked a backlash. The phone call between the President and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger discussed vote counts from the state’s presidential election.
In an interview with Fox News on Sunday, Raffensperger confirmed that the phone call took place on Saturday (which is confirmed by the timestamped tweets from the president).
Back in December, Georgia election officials performed a recount for a third time, including mandatory hand count and a Trump-requested recount, and re-certified the election results. The recount of the casted votes did not change the election outcome in the state.
The President is heard saying on the tape: “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”. However, votes confirmed by the Georgia Secretary of State show Joe Biden won the state by 12,670 votes.
On Sunday, President Trump tweeted:
“I spoke to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger yesterday about Fulton County and voter fraud in Georgia. He was unwilling, or unable, to answer questions such as the “ballots under table” scam, ballot destruction, out of state “voters”, dead voters, and more. He has no clue!”
Hours later, GA Secretary of State Raffensperger replied to the president’s tweet saying:
“Respectfully, President Trump: What you’re saying is not true. The truth will come out.”
Democrat Reaction to the Trump Tape
It is not surprising to see Democratic opposition come out against what is being alleged in the Trump tape. For example. “The truth’s on tape,” wrote Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., on Twitter. “For those who’ve joined the effort to subvert the election, you still have a choice: you can either side w/someone who is asking officials in your own party to break the law or you can side with our republic. There is no middle ground.”
Senator Dick Durbin, D-Ill, slammed the president in a tweet saying:
This disgraceful effort to intimidate an elected official into deliberately changing & misrepresenting the legally confirmed vote totals in his state strikes at the heart of our democracy and merits nothing less than a criminal investigation. https://t.co/de6VR3pYg5
— Senator Dick Durbin (@SenatorDurbin) January 3, 2021
However, no Democratic lawmaker has come out publicly in support of the President’s actions.
Republican Reaction to the Trump Tape
There are several Republican members of Congress who came out after the Trump tape was leaked condemning the president. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill, called the president’s actions “absolutely appalling.” Jeff Flake, the former Republican senator from Arizona and frequent opponent of the President, tweeted:
“After the past four years, it’s tough to be shocked by anything @realDonaldTrump does. But hearing him ask a Republican Secretary of State to “find votes” to overturn an election that he lost is truly jarring-and sickening”.
Legal Issues Related to Trump Tape
There has been some minor debate on the legality of President Trump’s asking Georgia officials to “find votes”. On MSNBC, for example, Georgetown University Law Center Professor, Neal Katyal, states that a criminal offense may have been committed and that the Department of Justice needs to open an investigation after Biden takes office.
At this point, it’s all speculation and hyperbole from detractors of the president.
However, it is unlikely any investigation into the allegations made on the Trump tape will be seriously pursued by the Biden administration. In the event, an investigation is pursued, we will open a report.
Why this matters?
The leaked Trump tape comes as Congress is set to certify the Electoral College votes on Wednesday. “At least 12 incoming and current Republican senators, along with well over 100 Republican representatives, have said they are going to challenge the results based on unsupported allegations of voter fraud.” President Trump has yet to concede to President-elect Joe Biden, and his campaign has launched a number of legal challenges in several battleground states.
After the election, Trump has made several unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud in several key battleground states. For example, the president has claimed software used in Dominion Voting Machines “changed or deleted votes” in states that used their machines. Due to the Trump campaign’s frequent allegations, a top Dominion employee filed a lawsuit against the Trump campaign for defamation, as the Colorado Sun reports.
Nevertheless, the allegations made by the President that votes were stolen, changed or there is widespread voter fraud is damaging to our electoral system and have caused several unsubstantiated ‘conspiracy theories’ to go mainstream. However, if evidence surfaces that prove votes have been tampered with or changed, the Department of Justice needs to open an investigation to preserve the integrity of our elections.
Here are the full transcript and audio of the Georgia Trump tape.
Mike Price is the founder and Managing Editor of ThinkCivics. He holds a BA in political science and a master’s degree in public administration from Northern Kentucky University. He has been writing about politics, government, and culture for over a decade. When he is not writing about politics, he writes about his faith over on his Christian men’s blog Joshua’s Outpost. Follow him on Twitter at @MPriceMPA or contact him at [email protected]