Last night, the Washington Post published the audio of a phone conversation between President Donald Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. In addition to Trump and Raffensperger, others were on the phone call including attorneys and staff members.
CNN reports that the White House had made 18 attempts to reach Raffensperger by phone before being successful on Saturday.
The decision to record the phone conversation was made by Raffensperger. During a previous phone call from Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Senator had suggested he find a way to throw out legally cast votes to let Trump win Georgia. When Raffensperger reported publicly what Graham had asked him to do, the Senator claimed Raffensperger was lying Raffensperger was not about to let that happen again, hence the decision to record Trump. Still, Raffensperger did not plan on making the recording public unless the President later attacked him and misrepresented what they had talked about during the phone conversation.
|Georgia Secretary of State|
It didn't take long for that to happen. Slammed with a Trump tweet, the audio recording was leaked to the Washington Post.
During the phone conversation, Trump is heard peddling various conspiracy theories he had read about on social media, or "Trump media" as he called it. When Raffensperger would point out a conspiracy theory wasn't based on facts, Trump would simply move on to another conspiracy theory.
Let me reiterate. This phone call took place this Saturday. The election took place two months ago. The Georgia election results were certified on November 20th and then recertified on December 7th after the completion of a mandatory recount. The results have been signed off by the Governor. After certification, the Georgia electors met and cast their ballots for Joe Biden. Those electoral votes were cast three weeks ago. That Trump thinks the Secretary of State could now step back in and unilaterally change the election results speaks volumes about his complete ignorance about the process.
During the phone call, Trump made it clear the number of additional votes he was seeking that Raffensperger award him - 11,780 - the exact number of votes Trump needed to overtake Biden in the state. Trump said he didn't care where Raffensperger got those votes as long as he found them.
Trump told Raffensperger that if he did not change the results he could be exposing himself to criminal prosecution. Since Trump's Justice Department has the power to prosecute Raffensperger, it was more than a warning - it was a threat. Trump's attempt to intimidate Raffensperger could well amount to violation of federal and Georgia law.
One thing that didn't get enough coverage was that, during the phone call, Trump suggested that if Raffensperger did not change the Georgia vote totals to favor him, Trump would throw the GOP Georgia Senate candidates under the bus by revealing "facts" at tonight's rally about how Raffensperger and Governor Kemp had rigged the November election against him.
I listened to the entire one hour phone call. None of it came as a surprise. That Trump is ignorant, uneducated and peddles conspiracy theories as fact is old, old news. Sadly, the phrase that best describes Trump's performance during the phone call is "unchecked corruption."
For more than four years, Trump has acted in a lawless manner. In 2016, Trump's campaign warmly accepted help from the Russians to win the election against Hillary Clinton. Then when the matter was being investigated, Trump obstructed justice, including lying under oath in a statement he gave to Robert Mueller and dangling pardons for witnesses who refused to cooperate, pardons which he is now handing out. Then in 2019, Trump attempted to use already appropriated military aid to try to bribe Ukraine's President into announcing a phony investigation into Hunter Biden, which announcement Trump could then use against his chief political rival Joe Biden. Throughout his presidency, Trump has also used his position to personally profit, despite the Constitution's emoluments clauses.
Through all this Trump's supporters in Congress gave him a pass EVERY TIME. As a result, Trump knows he can be as corrupt as he wants to be and his Republicans enablers will always have his back. When he made that phone call Saturday, Trump had no reason to think that any of his supporters would turn on him.
One has to wonder how many other of these phone calls Trump made.
OOP's short takes:
- I cringe every time the media label as "conservative" the members of the Sedition Caucus who, on Wednesday, will argue that Congress should override the results of a democratic election and award Trump a second term. Real conservatives believe in free and fair elections, and state and local control of those elections. And real conservatives also believe in democracy not autocracy. Members of the Sedition Caucus are as far from being "conservative" as one can be.
- Last week, Indiana Senator Mike Braun announced he is joining the Sedition Caucus. On the House side, Hoosier Representatives Jim Baird, Jim Bank, Trey Hollingsworth, Greg Pence and Jackie Walorski will make the Sedition Caucus' case for autocracy over democracy.
- Since they are supposed to be considering election "fraud" and efforts to rig the election, one wonders if those seditionists will bring up the Trump-Raffensperger phone call and others like it that the President might have made? I'm guessing "no."
- News is breaking that the House is preparing a censure resolution for the Trump's participation in the phone call. Of course, Republican House members are responding that the phone call was perfectly fine because everything Trump does, no matter what, is always okay.
- I used to believe that real conservatives might choose to walk away from the GOP should Trumpism become permanent. Now, I'm starting to believe that it will be Trumpers leaving the GOP to form their own party. Yeah, good luck starting a political party which has no philosophy except cultish worship of "Dear Leader."