explainer

'The truth will come out.' What we know about Donald Trump's "extraordinary" leaked phone call.

In the 18 days before the end of his presidency, Donald Trump has pleaded and pressured Georgia's top election official, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, to "find 11,780 votes" to change the result of the election in the state of Georgia. 

First published by the Washington Post on Sunday, the leaked phone call follows a two-month effort by President Trump to claim his loss to President-elect Joe Biden was the result of widespread voter fraud. 

In the conversation, fellow Republican Brad Raffensperger rejected Trump's claims of corruption, saying at one point: "We believe that we do have an accurate election."

Raffensperger and his office's general counsel continually dismissed Trump's assertions and told the president he was relying on debunked conspiracy theories spread on social media.

“We don’t agree that you have won,” Raffensperger told the President firmly.

Donald Trump made a desperate plea to election officials to change the result in the state of Georgia. Image: Getty.  

Even if Trump had won Georgia's 16 Electoral College votes, he would still have lost the White House to Biden, who will be sworn into office on January 20.

Following the phone call, but before the Washington Post published the phone call, 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!"

Raffensperger responded on Twitter: "Respectfully, President Trump: What you're saying is not true. The truth will come out."

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Whilst Trump refusing to admit he lost the election is nothing new, the phone call provides an "extraordinary" insight into how the President is attempting to pressure and threaten his political colleagues to change the election outcome, despite having no substantial evidence.

Notable moments from Donald Trump's "extraordinary" phone call.

Here are a number of key quotes from the phone call. 

  • Donald Trump: “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.” 
  • Donald Trump: “So what are we going to do here, folks? I only need 11,000 votes. Fellas, I need 11,000 votes. Give me a break.” 
  • Donald Trump: "The people of Georgia are angry, the people in the country are angry. And there's nothing wrong with saying that, you know, um, that you've recalculated." 
  • "Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is the data you have is wrong." - Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state.
  • "We believe that we do have an accurate election." - Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state.
  • "Mr. President, the problem you have with social media, they — people can say anything." - Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state.

The response.

The leaked phone call has made headlines worldwide.

As the Washington Post reported in their initial publication of the recording, the phone call potentially lands him in contentious legal territory.

"By exhorting the secretary of state to 'find' votes and to deploy investigators who 'want to find answers,' the president appeared to be encouraging him to doctor the election outcome in Georgia," the publication reported. 

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has called the phone call a "bold abuse of power by the President of the United States".

Former Republican congressman David Jolly has said the President should be impeached over the tapes - however his limited days left in office leaves this option unlikely. 

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There was further criticism from congressional Democrats including Representative Adam Schiff, chairman of the House intelligence committee.

"Trump's contempt for democracy is laid bare. Once again. On tape," Schiff wrote on Twitter. "Pressuring an election official to 'find' the votes so he can win is potentially criminal, And another flagrant abuse of power by a corrupt man who would be a despot, if we allowed him. We will not."

Other Republicans who have been vocal allies of Trump in his claims of election fraud have largely remain quiet in the wake of this tape leak. 

Feature image: Getty. 


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