Two members of the House, Reps. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) and Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.), have requested the FBI open a criminal investigation into the president following his call with Georgia’s secretary of state. In the call, Trump attempted to get Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find 11,780 votes” in order to reverse his electoral defeat there.
“As Members of Congress and former prosecutors, we believe Donald Trump engaged in solicitation of, or conspiracy to commit, a number of election crimes,” the representatives wrote to FBI Director Christopher Wray on Monday. “We ask you to open an immediate criminal investigation into the president.”
The letter went on to say, “The evidence of election fraud by Mr. Trump is now in broad daylight. The prima facie elements of the above crimes have been met. Given the more than ample factual predicate, we are making a criminal referral to you to open an investigation into Mr. Trump.”
Raffensperger released a recording of the call with Trump to the Washington Post, and the president can be heard telling the secretary of state and his lawyer, “The people of Georgia are angry, the people in the country are angry. And there’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, um, that you’ve recalculated [the vote count].”
Answering why Raffensperger decided to make the recording public, one of his advisors told Politico, “[Trump] is a man who has a history of reinventing history as it occurs. 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.”
To add to the insanity of the story, sources told CNN that the White House made 18 attempted calls trying to get Raffensperger to talk to the president. Appearing on Good Morning America, Raffensperger said he tried to avoid the call because of pending legal matters.
“[Trump] pushed — pushed his staff and called,” he said. “We’re in litigation mode with the president’s team against the state of Georgia. Whenever you say anything, you have to have your advisers there. They had to have their advisers there. I preferred not to talk when we were in litigation. We let the lawyers handle it. We took the call and had a conversation. He did most of the talking. We did most of the listening.”
According to Politico, Raffensperger’s office waited and did not release the recording until after the president tweeted an attack of the secretary of state on Sunday, claiming he was “unwilling, or unable, to answer” his questions about voter fraud, which Trump alleges with zero evidence took place during the election.
Raffensperger replied to the tweet and said, “Respectfully, President Trump: What you’re saying is not true. The truth will come out.” Hours later, it did, in the Post.
Raffensperger’s office is scheduled to hold a press conference on the matter Monday afternoon, and Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis told NBC News’ Blayne Alexander that Georgia’s State Election Board “has requested that the Secretary’s Elections Division investigate the call.” Willis also promised to “enforce the law without fear or favor.” She added, “Anyone who commits a felony violation of Georgia law in my jurisdiction will be held accountable.”
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