Georgia’s chief electoral officer systematically rejected and dismantled President Trump and his allies’ inaccurate claims about the election on Monday, calling them “anti-disinformation Monday”. Gabriel Sterling’s press conference came just hours after two House Democrats urged the FBI to open a criminal investigation into President Trumpwith Georgian Foreign Minister Brad Raffensperger over possible violations of federal and state electoral laws.
“This is all easily and demonstrably wrong. Still, the president stands. It will undermine Georgia’s confidence in the electoral system. Everyone deserves their vote to be counted,” Sterling said as he went through the various unfounded and incorrect ones Claims about Dominion Voting Systems and countless ballots.
In his phone call to Raffensperger, President Trump claimed that in Fulton County they “burn their ballot papers, that they shred and shred ballots.”
“There’s no shredding of ballots. That’s not real. It doesn’t happen,” Sterling said, explaining that the only shredding that took place was just “shredding envelopes that weren’t used, or there’s also shredding of secrecy Envelopes … that have no evidential value. “He added,” They are basically just junk. “
Over the weekend, Mr. Trump also launched a conspiracy theory that Dominion Voting Systems “moved the inner parts of the machines and replaced them with other parts.”
Sterling has also put down this claim. “Nobody changes parts of pieces from Dominion voting machines. That’s – I don’t even know what that means, it’s not a real thing. That doesn’t happen. The President mentioned it on the call. … That’s again, doesn’t real.”
An edited video clip was also posted on social media with a false label allegedly indicating election fraud. Sterling gave reporters a detailed explanation of the legitimate process of the vote counting, all of which was videotaped for security reasons. “And that’s really frustrating. The president’s legal team had the entire tape, they looked at the entire tape and, in our view, they deliberately misled the Senate, the electorate and the people of the United States,” he said.
Previously, California Congressman Ted Lieu and New York Congressman Kathleen Rice had written to FBI Director Chris Wray Monday to request an investigation into Mr Trump’s call after audio was received from Mr Trump’s hour-long call to Raffensperger and on Published Sunday by multiple news outlets, including newsdos. In the request, the president put pressure on the foreign minister to “find 11,780 votes” to reverse his loss in the Georgian presidential election.
“The evidence of Mr Trump’s election fraud is now in broad daylight,” the Democrats wrote. “The appearances of the above crimes have been met.”
Lieu and Rice, both former prosecutors, believe the president “initiated or conspired to commit a number of electoral crimes”. The couple cited two federal laws they believe to have violated Mr Trump, as well as a Georgia state law relating to solicitation of election fraud.
In the course of their conversation, Mr. Trump said to Raffensperger: “I just want to do this. I only want to find 11,780 votes, one more than us. Because we won the state.”
“The people of Georgia are angry, the people of the country are angry,” said the president. “And there is nothing wrong with saying that you recalculated it.”
President-elect Joe Biden defeated Mr. Trump in Georgia by 11,779 votes, and ballots cast in the state were counted a total of three times, confirming Mr. Biden’s victory each time.
The president repeatedly claimed he had won the Peach State election and proposed that the Fulton County ballots be destroyed. The president also claimed Dominion Voting Systems, a provider of voting technology, removed or tampered with machines.
Raffensperger and his General Counsel Ryan Germany, who was also on call, repeatedly pushed back against Mr. Trump’s claims, with the Secretary of State claiming the state’s election results were “correct”.
“Mr President, the challenge you have is that your information is wrong,” Raffensperger told the President.
As of November 3, election day, Raffensperger’s office received 18 attempted phone calls from the White House. However, the call on Saturday was the first call the Secretary of State has made to Mr Trump since election day.
Mr Trump’s comments have raised questions about whether he could be subject to legal scrutiny.
Raffensperger told ABC’s Good Morning America Monday that its office would not open an investigation as it could be a conflict of interest, but he believes the Fulton County District Attorney “wants to look at it.”
“Maybe this is the place for it,” he said.
Fulton District Attorney Fani Willis said in a statement that she found the call “disruptive,” citing news reports that the lone Democrat on the state electoral board asked the electoral division to investigate the call, which the board later brought on the case Willis’ office and the attorney general.
“As I made a promise to Fulton County’s voters last year, as a district attorney, I will enforce the law without fear or favor. Anyone who violates Georgian law in my jurisdiction will be held accountable,” she said. “Once the investigation is completed, this matter, like any other matter, will be handled by our office on a factual and legal basis.”
Justin Levitt, a law professor at Loyola Marymount University, said it was “very possible” that the president violated federal law and likely violated Georgia state law.
“It mostly depends on what the president honestly believes at the time, and the only choices aren’t great,” he told newsdos. “Either he understands reality and knows that there aren’t 11,800 ballots somewhere that are Trump votes and have not been counted in recounts and audits. In this case, he has committed a crime. If he actually understands the true nature of the world, when he can tell fact from fiction, he has probably committed a crime. “
But “if he doesn’t, we have a manager who is 16.5 days in power and who cannot reliably differentiate between fact and fiction based on the information he receives,” Levitt continued.
“That’s not a great consolation prize,” he said, adding that Mr. Trump’s call to Raffensperger “contains a lot,” which alarmingly indicates that the president cannot distinguish fact from fiction he has bought into his own conspiracy theories . “
Levitt suggested that the President and Chief of Staff of the White House, Mark Meadows, who was involved in the call, may also have violated an 1871 Criminal Conspiracies Act to undermine civil rights if they agreed to the call’s aim to “see if we can convince him to make a wrong count.”
“If Meadows knows if he can tell the difference between fact and fiction, and has the same goal as the president, that’s all conspiracy requires,” he said
Former Attorney General Eric Holder, who headed the Justice Department under President Obama, tweeted Sunday that those who hear the tone of Mr. Trump’s phone call should “consider this federal criminal law,” and he added a picture of a law that says that every person in a Bundestag election who “knowingly and willfully deprives the inhabitants of a state of a fair and impartial electoral process, cheats or tries to rob or cheat them by … procuring, casting or tabulating the ballot papers known to the person to be materially false, fictional or fraudulent under the laws of the state in which the election is being held would be fined up to five years or imprisoned.
Adam Brewster contributed to this report.