Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger addressed the phone call controversy he had with President Trump and practically divulged in the release and has erupted in nonstop coverage and has overshadowed the final hours of the Peach State critical Senate runoffs.
In an exclusive interview with ABC News “Good Morning America” less than 24 hours after the phone call leak, Raffensperger said since the Nov. 3 election, he and his office have “been fighting a rumor Whack-A-Mole” daily, and the data Trump cited repeatedly “is just plain wrong.”
“For the last two months, we’ve been fighting a rumor whack-a-mole. And it was pretty obvious very early on, that we debunked every one of those theories that have been out there, but President Trump continues to believe them,” Raffensperger told ABC News host George Stephanopoulos on Monday.
“He did most of the talking. We did most of the listening but I did want to make my points that the data that he has is just plain wrong. He had hundreds and hundreds of people he said that were dead that voted. We found two, that’s an example of just — he had bad data,” he added.
Raffensperger said he resisted taking the call until Saturday because he “preferred not to talk to someone when we’re in litigation.”
“I never believed it was appropriate to speak to the President,” Raffensperger said. “But he pushed out, like he had his staff push us they wanted to call that the challenge that we have. First of all, we’re in litigation mode with the President’s team against the State of Georgia. And whenever you say anything, then you do have to have your advisors there. They had to have their advice from different lawyers. And so I just prefer not to talk to someone when we’re in litigation. We let the lawyers handle it but we took the call and we had a conversation where he did most of the talking. And we did most listening.”
The Washington Post obtained the hour-long conversation during which Trump asked the Raffensperger to “find” nearly 12,000 votes to overturn Biden’s election victory in the Peach State, while accusing the Republican official of covering up and engaging in criminal acts, claiming that election workers were shredding ballots.
“All I want to do is this: I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” Trump says on the call. “There’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, that you’ve recalculated.”
“It’s more illegal for you than it is for them because you know what they did and you’re not reporting it — that’s a criminal, that’s a criminal offense. And, you know you can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you and Ryan (Germany), your lawyer, that’s a big risk,” Trump went on during the call.
The controversial news drama began when it was revealed Raffensperger had recorded the phone call and waited for the president to make the next move over tweet before leaking it. The White House had attempted to connect Trump with Raffensperger at least 18 times in the last month since Georgia officially certified its election result results after three recounts and audits, according to sources.
The idea to record the call, according to Politico from one of Raffensperger’s advisers as means of “fact-checking purposes” and backup after the Republican official shortly after the General Election accused Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) of calling him personally to pressure him to toss out ballots.
“This is a man who has a history of reinventing history as it occurs,” one of Raffensperger’s adviser told Politico. “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.”
“I spoke to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger yesterday about Fulton County and voter fraud in Georgia,” Trump tweeted Sunday morning shortly before 9 am.
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2021
“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!’ Trump added.
“Respectfully, President Trump: What you’re saying is not true,” Raffensperger said responding to Trump’s tweet about an hour and a half later at 10:27 am. “The truth will come out.”
Respectfully, President Trump: What you're saying is not true. The truth will come out https://t.co/ViYjTSeRcC— GA Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (@GaSecofState) January 3, 2021
Stephanopoulos asked Raffensperger whether he thought the conversation with the president was lawful and whether he would launch an investigation following a request from the Democratic State Election Board member David Worley, who supports Biden to do so following The Washington Post leak.
“I believe that because I had a conversation with the President, also he had a conversation with our chief investigator after we did the signature match audit of Cobb County last week, there might be a conflict of interest,” Raffensperger responded.
However, the Republican official revealed that “Fulton County District Attorney wants to look at it” potential legal matters, saying that such investigation from others “may be the appropriate venue” needed to determine if Trump abused his power.
District Attorney Fani Willis, a Democrat, said her office stood ready to investigate if a case was referred to prosecutors.
“Like many Americans, I have found the news reports about the president’s telephone call with the Georgia Secretary of State disturbing,” Willis said in a statement.
“As I promised Fulton County voters last year, as District Attorney, I will enforce the law without fear or favor,” she said. “Anyone who commits a felony violation of Georgia law in my jurisdiction will be held accountable.”
On whether he would support the president for his reelection or whether he would vote for Trump again after the attacks he endured over the last two months, Raffensperger said he always has and will always “support Republicans.”