Trump Sues Georgia Sec of State Over Leaked Phone Call

Mish

Trump pressured Georgia officials to "find votes", then sued Brad Raffensperger over the disclosure.

Find the Votes

The red hot story of the day just got hotter. First here is the background.

‘There is nothing wrong with saying, you know, that you recalculated,’ the president told Brad Raffensperger.

The Wall Street Journal reports Trump Pressured Georgia Secretary of State to ‘Find’ Votes

President Trump in a Saturday telephone call urged Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to overturn the November election results that delivered the state to President-elect Joe Biden. 

“I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have because we won the state,” he told Mr. Raffensperger on the call, adding later, “It’s not a problem that is going away.” Mr. Biden won the state by 11,779 votes out of about 5 million cast.

Transcript and Audio

Kudos to Brad Raffensperger for recording the call and disclosing it. You can Listen to the Audio and Read a Full Transcript at the WSJ.

At the Phone Meeting

  • President Trump
  • Brad Raffensperger, Secretary of State, State of Georgia
  • Ryan Germany, General Counsel and Assistant Commissioner of Securities, State of Georgia
  • Cleta Mitchell, partner, Foley & Lardner
  • Jordan Fuchs, Deputy Secretary of State, State of Georgia
  • Mark Meadows, White House chief of staff

Kurt R. Hilbert, managing member and founder, the Hilbert Law Firm

Partial Transcript With My Comments

Mish Comment: In the transcript Trump rambled on and on about various fraud allegations, all long ago disproved. Following the lengthy rambling, Meadows chimed in.

MR. MEADOWS: What I’m hopeful for is, is there some way that we can – we can find some kind of an agreement to look at this a little bit more fully?

MR. RAFFENSPERGER: Well, I’ve listened to what the president has just said. President Trump, we’ve had several lawsuits, and we’ve had to respond in court to the lawsuits and the contentions. We don’t agree that you have won and we don’t – I didn’t agree about the 200,000 number that you mentioned. But I could go through that point by point. .... we did a hand re-tally, a 100 percent re-tally of all the ballots and compared that to what the machine said, and it came up with virtually the same result. Then we did the recount and we got virtually the same result. So I guess we could probably take that off the table. I don’t think there’s an issue about that.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, Brad – Brad, not that there’s not an issue, but – because I – we have a big issue with Dominion in other states and perhaps in yours, but we haven’t felt we needed to go there. ... If you took – these are the most minimal numbers, the numbers that I gave you. Those are numbers that are certified: your absentee ballots sent to vacant addresses; your out-of-state voters, 4,925. You know, when you add them up, it’s many more – it’s many times the 11,779 number. ... And the people of Georgia are angry. The people of the country are angry. And there’s nothing wrong with saying that – you know, that you’ve recalculated because the 2,236 on absentee ballots, I mean, they’re all exact numbers that were done by accounting firms, law firms, et cetera. And even if you cut them in half, cut them in half, and cut them in half again, it’s more votes than we need.

MR. RAFFENSPERGER: Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is the data you have is wrong. We talked to the congressmen and they were surprised, but they – I guess there was a person named Mr. Braynard that came to these meetings and presented data. And he said that there was dead people – I believe it was upward of 5,000. The actual number were two – two. Two people that were dead that voted. And so that’s wrong. That was two.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, Cleta, how do you respond to that? .... I mean, you tell me. we’re so far ahead of these numbers, even the phony ballots of Ruby Freeman – known scammer. You know the internet? You know what was trending on the internet? “Where’s Ruby,” because they thought she would be in jail. “Where’s Ruby.” It’s crazy. It’s crazy. That was – the minimum number is 18,000 for Ruby, but they think it’s probably about 56,000. But the minimum number is 18,000 on the Ruby Freeman night where she ran back in there when everybody was gone and stuffed – she stuffed the ballot boxes. Let’s face it, Brad. I mean, they did it in slow-motion replay magnified, right? She stuffed the ballot boxes. They were stuffed like nobody’s ever seen them stuffed before. ...And by the way, that one event – that one event is much more than the 11,000 votes that we’re talking about. It’s – you know, that one event was a disaster. It just – you know, but it was – it was something that – it can’t be disputed. And again, we have a version that you haven’t seen, but it’s magnified.

MR. RAFFENSPERGER: You’re talking about the State Farm video. And I think it’s extremely unfortunate that Rudy Giuliani or his people, they sliced and diced that video and took it out of context. So the next day we brought in WSB-TV and we let them show – see the full run of tape. I mean, what you’ll see, the events that transpired are nowhere near what was projected by, you know

PRESIDENT TRUMP: But where were the poll watchers, Brad? There were no poll watchers there. There were no Democrats or Republicans. There was no security there. It was late in the evening or late in the – early in the morning, and there was nobody else in the room. Where were the poll watchers? .... And, you know, I give everybody the benefit of the doubt, but that was – and, Brad, why did they put the votes in three times? You know, they put them in three times.

MR. RAFFENSPERGER: Mr. President, they did not put that – we did an audit of that, and we’ve proved conclusively that they were not scanned three times.

MR. GERMANY: We had our – this is Ryan Germany. We had our law enforcement officers talk to everyone who was – who was there after that event came to light. They GBI was with them, as well as FBI agents.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, there’s no way they could – then they’re incompetent. They’re either dishonest or incompetent, OK? There’s only two answers: dishonesty or incompetence.

MR. GERMANY: We’ve been going through each of those as well. And those numbers that we got, that Ms. Mitchell was just saying, they’re not accurate. Everyone we’ve been through are people that lived in Georgia, moved to a different state, but then moved back to Georgia legitimately. And in – and in many cases – (inaudible 38:45) – so far.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Really? How many people do that? You mean they moved out and then they said, ah, all the hell with it, I’ll move back in? You know, it doesn’t sound like a very normal – like you mean they moved out, and, what, they missed it so much that they wanted to move back in? You know, it’s like – (laughs) – it’s crazy.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: And what about – what about the – what about the ballots, the shredding of the ballots? Have they been shredding ballots?

MR. RAFFENSPERGER: No.

MR. GERMANY: The only investigation that we have into that, they have not been shredding any ballots. There was an issue in Cobb County where they were doing normal, you know, office shredding, getting rid of old stuff, and we investigated that. But this is stuff from, you know, past elections. And that’s – and that’s what it turned out to be.

MR. RAFFENSPERGER: We believe that we do have an accurate election.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, I – no, you don’t. No. No, you don’t. You don’t have – you don’t have – not even close. You got – you’re off by hundreds of thousands of votes. And just on the small numbers, you’re off on these numbers. ... OK, so you send us into Cobb County for signature verification, right? You send us into Cobb County, which we didn’t want to go into, and you said it would be open to the public and we could have our – so we had our experts there. They weren’t allowed into the room. But we didn’t want Cobb County. We wanted Fulton County, and you wouldn’t give it to us.

MR. GERMANY: We chose Cobb County because that was the only county where there’s been any evidence submitted that the signature verification was not properly done –

PRESIDENT TRUMP: ...Fulton County – look, Stacey – in my opinion, Stacey is as dishonest as they come. She has outplayed you at every – at everything. She got you to sign a totally unconstitutional agreement which is a disastrous agreement. You can’t check signatures, you can’t do – I can’t imagine – you’re allowed to do harvesting, I guess, in that – that agreement is a disaster for this country.

MR. RAFFENSPERGER: Ballot harvesting is still illegal in the state of Georgia, and that settlement agreement did not change that one iota.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, it’s not a settlement agreement; it’s a consent decree. It even says consent decree on it, doesn’t it? It uses the term consent decree. It doesn’t say settlement agreement; it’s a consent decree. It’s a disaster. ... We could go through signature verification, and we’ll find hundreds of signatures – if you let us do it – and the only way you can do it, as you know, is to go to the past. ... And you will find – you will be at 11,779 within minutes because Fulton County is totally corrupt and so is she totally corrupt. And they’re going around playing you and laughing at you behind your back, Brad. Whether you know it or not, they’re laughing at you. And you’ve taken a state that’s a Republican state and you’ve made it almost impossible for a Republican to win because of cheating, because they cheated like nobody has ever cheated before. ... they are shredding ballots, in my opinion, based on what I’ve heard, and they are removing machinery, and they’re moving it as fast as they can, both of which are criminal fines, and you can’t let it happen, and you are letting it happen. You know, I mean, I’m notifying you that you are letting it happen.

MR. RAFFENSPERGER: Well, we’re –

PRESIDENT TRUMP: – 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, and flipping the state is a great testament to our country because, you know, there’s just – it’s a testament that they can admit to a mistake – or whatever you want to call it – if it was a mistake. I don’t know. .... In my opinion it’s never too late. In my opinion it’s never too late. So – oh, a little double – a little double sound there. ... So that’s the story, fellows. Look, we need only 11,000 votes. We have far more than that as it stands now. We’ll have more and more, and – do you have provisional ballots at all, Brad? Provisional ballots?

MR. RAFFENSPERGER: Provisional ballots are allowed, you know, by state law.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: – you guys are so wrong and you’ve treated this – you’ve treated the population of Georgia so badly, between you and your governor, who wouldn’t – who was down at 21 – he was down 21 points and, like a schmuck, I endorsed him and he got elected. But I will tell you, he’s a disaster and he’ll never – I can’t imagine. The people are so angry in Georgia I can’t imagine he’s ever getting elected again, I’ll tell you that much right now. But why wouldn’t you want to find the right answer, Brad, instead of keep saying that the numbers are right? Because those numbers are so wrong and –

MR. RAFFENSPERGER: Mr. President, please –

PRESIDENT TRUMP: ... all we have to do, Cleta, is find 11,000-plus votes. So we don’t need that. I’m not looking to shake up the whole world. We won Georgia easily. We won it by hundreds of thousands of votes. But if you go by basic simple numbers we won it easily. Easily. So we’re not giving Dominion a pass, on the record. I will say that. .... But let the truth come out, and the truth – the real truth is I won by 400,000 votes at least. That’s the real truth. But we don’t need 400,000 votes. We need less than 2,000 votes. And, you know, are you guys able to meet tomorrow, Ryan?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: OK. Thank you, Brad. Thank you, Ryan. Thank you. Thank you, everybody.

MR. MEADOWS: Thank you.

MS. MITCHELL: Thank you.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. Bye.

MR. GERMANY: Mr. President.

(END OF CALL)

Wow - Just Wow.

There is much more in the complete transcript.

Trump Files Suit

Here's the Entire Call

Who Broke the Law?

Trump Proves He is Delusional

In case you were wondering if Trump was just playing his fans or if he truly was delusional, you have your answer.

For starters, there was no way Raffensperger was going to partake in this mad scheme. He had already turned down Trump's overtures several times.

Even if Raffensperger agreed to look for votes, and managed to find them, Georgia would not swing the election.

Besides, Raffensperger already investigated all of Trump's false claims.

If anyone broke the law it's Trump and his team for election tampering. Violating state law in a federal election is a federal crime.

Once again, kudos to Brad Raffensperger for recording the call and disclosing it.

Georgia Senate Elections

Earlier today I noted Democrats are In the Lead in Both Georgia Senate Races

It would not surprise me in the least if this reckless move by Trump ultimately is the deciding factor in both races.

Mish

Comments (135)
No. 1-45
ajc1970
ajc1970

Trump isn't going to damage Raffensperger's career.

"Kudos to Brad Raffensperger for recording the call and disclosing it. "

Doing that before polls closed on Tuesday has closed every door that would ever have been open for him.

ajc1970
ajc1970

48 hours... could he not have waited 48 hours on that?

Jojo
Jojo

Raffensperger should have said to Trump - GFY and hung up. That's what I would have done.

Casual_Observer
Casual_Observer

Who is surprised anymore? I'm more concerned that Russia has infiltrated the defense department and that is the reason the transition isnt occurring. Putin is still winning imo.

Augustthegreat
Augustthegreat

tRump's conducts are criminal, and must be prosecuted!

Realist
Realist

This just keeps getting better! As Mary Trump said, "All Donald has now is to break things, which he will do with a vengeance." How right she was!

Get ready proud boys. No more standing back. It is strictly "stand by" now. Is everyone locked and loaded? Maybe Ted Cruz can lead them.

AshH
AshH

There's a story out there that Raffensperger's office wasn't going to release the recording unless Trump denigrated him or misrepresented the conversation. Trump opened the door by insulting Raffensperger in a tweet.

Greggg
Greggg

Glad it's near over... Trump will leave office without conceding to Biden. He will leave that "chad" hanging because at this point he has a significant portion of the population, his supporters, pissed off at the entire system, and the Democrats. Let's just wait and to see how he baits this whole thing with a final speech. More people will watch that speech than will ever see Biden's inauguration... but it's never going to be over: Because he is going to play the news media until he dies.

Augustthegreat
Augustthegreat

tRump likely has done similar things to several other states: let's watch what will happen with those states.

Hat to Brad Raffensperger for his courage and integrity.

Jojo
Jojo

"Impeachable offense": Democrats react to Trump's Georgia call
Rebecca Falconer
3 Jan 2020

Leading Democrats slammed President Trump's phone call to Georgia's Republican Secretary of State pushing him to "find" enough votes to overturn Joe Biden's election win as "corrupt" an "abuse of power" and an "impeachable offense."
....
ttps://www.axios.com/trump-georgia-georgia-call-democrats-f400259f-9267-4d9a-bcf9-ea9fba890fb0.html

jivefive98
jivefive98

On January 19th, Trump will flee the country and head to either Russia or Saudi Arabia, which have no extradition, and live out whatever life is left him. If he stays here, and Biden puts a muzzle on the DOJ, the state of New York will eat him and his family alive. He really has no other option and supposedly can afford it. What else is he gonna do? Stay here and wait for his 80 million supporters to shut down the country and spring him?

Sechel
Sechel

The language of Georgia's wiretapping law explains that it is a one-party consent law when it comes to recording other people's audio conversations. It is against the law in Georgia to secretly record conversations that happen in private places unless at least one of the parties gives his or her consent.

Sechel
Sechel

Why do so many people feel the need to record and memorialize their conversations with Donald Trump? And as a one party consent state Raffensperger was within his legal rights to record the call. I do appreciate the honesty of those calling out the Georgia secretary of state who make it abundantly clear loyalty to the party and the leader is above the law or duty to country. Fuhrerprinzip in action

Sechel
Sechel

Find me 11780 votes. No the role of the Georgia secretary of state is to count and certify the votes which he did. Trump most certainly broke Federal and Georgia state law and he should be prosecuted. The odds of a self pardon just went up. But a self pardon would certainly get challenged in the Supreme court and don't factor in any state level prosecutions. Ironic since the Georgia call is in many ways similar to Trump's Ukraine call that got him impeached

tracypaints
tracypaints

I have to wonder if Trump's aides begged him not to make the call (it wouldn't be unprecedented). But, mob boss gotta boss. Trump's problem is he thinks he's more intimidating than he actually is.

Sechel
Sechel

Also, settlement negotiations are "confidential" in the sense that settlement offers aren't admissible in court if the case proceeds to trial after the parties fail to reach a settlement. So, not really relevant to what happened here.

Sechel
Sechel

This is NOT how anything works. There's no confidentiality for settlement discussions absent some specific agreement - they just can't be used as evidence in court.

Doug78
Doug78

No one ever got cancelled for saying bad things about Trump.

GoalOpposite
GoalOpposite

Sechel: you don't think that they were trying to lay the foundation to claim some work product privilege? i didn't even think that they settlement negiotations at all. seeing as the trump team filed all their suits, they won't be settling anything lol. that leaves work product bc they couldn't use atty/client priv bc so many 3rd parties on the call.

PecuniaNonOlet
PecuniaNonOlet

16 days for sanity to return to White House.

numike
numike

Neoliberal Champion Larry Summers Opens Mouth, Inserts Both Feet
The former Harvard President and Treasury Secretary offers important thoughts on the negative consequences of aid to the less fortunate https://taibbi.substack.com/p/neoliberal-champion-larry-summers

Rocky Raccoon
Rocky Raccoon

The most important elections of 2020 were fought for control of the House and the Senate--NOT THE WHITE HOUSE. Here we are with the GOP needing desperately to hang onto control of the Senate with Donald Trump making the focus on him with some crazy conspiracy theory that he continues to deliver with no evidence. If the GOP loses control of the Senate tomorrow, Trump will be clearly to blame with things like pushing for more socialist free stuff than what the GOP was willing to give along with actions such like this of a mobster.

There was a time in the GOP they handed out "Character Matters" bumper stickers. The Georgia Gov and Sec of State could get away with pasting one on their car, but most of the GOP would be laughed out of the room with their silly worship of Donald Trump.

Dodge Demon
Dodge Demon

Amen

One-armed Economist
One-armed Economist

Does anyone else get concerned about this nut job having the nuclear football?? @_@

Sechel
Sechel

can't find a major news organization reporting that trump has sued Georgia over the call. I'm suspicious. Perhaps he just mae the threat. He has no case

njbr
njbr

"Settlement negotiations" in which the SOS would award the losing candidate votes?

It's only fodder for the stupid..

njbr
njbr

If you have to deal with liars, this is what you do (from Politico)...

...It started on Saturday when Trump and his team reached out to talk to Raffensperger, who, according to an adviser, felt he would be unethically pressured by the president. Raffensperger had been here before: In November he accused Trump ally and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham of improperly exhorting him to meddle in the election to help Trump win Georgia. Graham later denied it.

So why not record the call with the president, Raffensperger’s advisers thought, if nothing else for fact-checking purposes. “This is a man who has a history of reinventing history as it occurs,” one of them told Playbook. “So if he’s going to try to dispute anything on the call, it’s nice to have something like this, hard evidence, to dispute whatever he’s claiming about the secretary. Lindsey Graham asked us to throw out legally cast ballots. So yeah, after that call, we decided maybe we should do this.”...

njbr
njbr

Lawyer Mark Elias...Tweet

Trump and his allies have lost 60 post-election lawsuits, including several in GA. There are no cases that could have plausibly been the subject of settlement discussion.

Oh, and I represent parties in all of those cases, so I would have had to be on the phone as well. I wasn't.

CaliforniaStan
CaliforniaStan

Trump saying the only choices are lying or incompetence. Trump! TRUMP!!!!!

FromBrussels
FromBrussels

A STORM IN A TEACUP, again, triggered by the corrupt, socialist biased media serving America's polifuckntically correct establishment ! Trump, and anybody with half a non CNN washed braincell left just KNOWS that the election was stolen from Trump, a well organised foolproof racket I must admit, but fraudulent nevertheless !

Louis Winthorpe III
Louis Winthorpe III

Trump is a criminal and enemy of American democracy as defined by the Constitution. This is no longer deniable or debatable.

This is smoking gun evidence.

FromBrussels
FromBrussels

The ONLY fair way to deal with this dilemma : NEW ELECTIONS !

Carl_R
Carl_R

To me, Trump's behavior is far, far, far worse than anything Nixon did in the Watergate gate. There is only one fair way to deal with this, and that is to go beyond impeaching him, and try him for Treason, and if found guilty, hang him.

Mish
Mish

Editor

The Trump cult nutcases are out in force today - banned two of them

Angelharp25
Angelharp25

Georgia law allows you to record a conversation if you are a party on the phone call. It can also be used as evidence in a trial.

Eddie_T
Eddie_T

What a really sad chapter in America history. Politicians always lie.....one has to expect that.....but no one has never lied this much, cheated this much, gotten away with so much....or left a bigger mess to have to be straightened out.

Sechel
Sechel

Well this answers one of my open questions from Sunday

Cleta Mitchell's law firm says it's "concerned" she was on Trump's call and "are working to understand her involvement more thoroughly."

numike
numike

“I wouldn't want to be a Russian leader. You'd never know when you were being taped.”
― Richard Nixon

Anda
Anda

Confirmation bias much ?

DP0209
DP0209

If you want to know what was REALLY said in the conversation, go online and find the entire hour phone call. He didn't ask him to find anything. And i can say that because I listened to it. So if you only listened to the excerpts released by the media, don't bother refuting this. They did what they always do.

DP0209
DP0209

It is illegal to record a phone conversation without telling the person they are being recorded without a warrant to do so. Always thought it was strange you could videotape someone legally without their knowledge in certain situations, but you can't audiotape them.

FactCheck 2020
FactCheck 2020

Wrong. Georgia's wiretapping law is a "one-party consent" law for purposes of making audio recordings of conversations. Georgia makes it a crime to secretly record a phone call or in-person conversation "originat[ing] in any private place" unless one party to the conversation consents. See Ga. Code §§ 16-11-62(1), 16-11-66 Trmpie did not have to consent...BUZZZZZ next contestant

Sechel
Sechel

First shoe to drop.

Cleta Mitchell is out at Foley Lardner. Foley Lardner had made the decision not to represent any candidates in post election litigation and was not aware Cleta Mitchell was representing Trump. They were caught completely flat footed. She has now resigned.

melsee
melsee

Clearly, Trump was truth seeking. He had the number of votes in question (i.e., 170K-plus) and was asking Raffensperger to revisit potentially fraudulent votes that might have pushed his numbers down to a loss. So he wasn't asking for 170K votes, he was asking whether he would have otherwise have had more than that if not for potential voter fraud.

melsee
melsee

Clearly, Trump was truth-seeking rather than manipulating. He had 11,799 votes, so he wasn't asking for 11,799. He was asking Raffensperger to instead re-check the 11,799 and identify at least one fraudulent vote in question that would push his numbers to a legitimate win (i.e., 11,780) he believed her rightfully won. k


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