The spotlight has been on Georgia as evidence of election fraud continues to be ignored. On Saturday, President Donald Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger had a telephone call concerning election integrity and transparency. Throughout the call, the president stressed the need for full and transparent audits and public access.
Also on the call was Raffensperger's lawyer Ryan Germany, GA Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, and Trump campaign attorney Cleta Mitchell.
On Sunday, the Washington Post released a heavily edited version of the call that suggested Trump was demanding votes from his Republican colleagues. Despite the call being characterized by mainstream media as Trump "threatening" Georgia officials for 11,780 votes, at no time during the call does the president threaten anyone for votes, nor does he indicate he wants votes created or fabricated.
In fact, according to David Shafer, chairman of the Republican Party of Georgia, the call was a "confidential settlement discussion" regarding ongoing election litigation in a lawsuit filed by Trump on New Year's Eve in U.S District Court in Atlanta, and is "confidential under federal and state law." In the lawsuit, the president asks the court to decertify the Georgia election before Congress votes Wednesday. A hearing is set for Tuesday.
The call's full transcript highlights the president's depth of knowledge surrounding potential election fraud in Georgia. Trump claims that Georgia officials could face "a big risk" if they failed to pursue his request to find him votes.
Trump repeatedly raised alleged violations in Fulton County, specifically questioning why Raffensperger sent Trump's experts to Cobb County instead of the more densely populated Fulton County. Germany replied to Trump, claiming Cobb County was the only county "where there's been any evidence submitted that the signature verification was not properly done."
President Trump quoted specific circumstances in Fulton County, such as the mysterious deposit into the rolls from 250,000 to 300,000 ballots, which has not been investigated. Trump urged Raffensperger to perform an authentic check of the signatures as he suspected the results would uncover at least two hundred thousand forged signatures.
At one point in the conversation, the president referenced Georgia left-wing activist Stacey Abrams, noting she had "outplayed" Republicans by getting them to sign the Compromise Settlement Agreement and Release, calling it an unconstitutional agreement. Trump contended that no such "consent decree" would be required if no side planned to commit election fraud.
Raffensperger and Germany downplayed why such an agreement was orchestrated, focusing instead on the president calling the document a "consent decree." Raffensperger quipped, "it's a settlement agreement," while Germany disregards it stating, "I don't. I don't. I don't believe [it's a consent decree], but I don't have it in front of me."
Further into the call, Trump Attorney Cleta Mitchell reminded Raffensperger that despite public statements by his office claiming a thorough investigation revealed no evidence of election fraud in Georgia, they have received no reports that confirm this. Mitchell elaborated, saying, "You tell us that you had an investigation at the State Farm Arena. I don't have any report. I've never seen a report of investigation. I don't know what that is. I've been pretty involved in this, and I don't know. And that's just one of 25 categories."
In the latter part of the call, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows attempted to confirm that both sides will, within the next 24 to 48 hours, reconcile the voting data to either validate or invalidate the allegations about election fraud. Germany immediately quashed that assumption.
Interestingly, the original Washington Post audio allegedly references controversial Georgia vote counters Ruby Freeman and her daughter Shaye Moss 18 times. Yet, any reference to the pair has since been redacted by the paper.
The telephone call was conceivably a final effort by the Trump Campaign to get the Georgia Secretary of State to take seriously the allegations listed in the Complaint and address them on their merits. For his part, Raffensperger spoke cautiously while maintaining his office investigated the claims and found nothing suggesting fraud or invalid voting as asserted by the complaint.
Trump's message seems clear. He asked that Raffensperger and his team provide his campaign with the evidence and data that the State is relying upon to conclude that their claims lacked credibility.
At the end of the call, President Trump reiterates that he is looking for accuracy, transparency, and public access. Again, he remarks, "we just want the truth."