President Trump reportedly pressured a Georgia elections investigator to “find the fraud” during a December phone call.
The investigator, whom the Washington Post did not name in its report over concerns that he or she might be targeted, was called by the president on Dec. 23, according to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
Raffensperger, however, said he was unfamiliar with the specifics of the call. Those were filled in by the outlet’s sources.
The investigator was looking into allegations of ballot fraud in Cobb County when they got the call from the president, who said they had an opportunity to be a “national hero.”
“That was an ongoing investigation,” Raffensperger said. “I don’t believe that an elected official should be involved in that process.”
On Jan. 2, the president called Raffensperger, saying, “I just want to find 11,780 votes,” adding that the secretary was taking “a big risk” by not further pursuing claims of election fraud, according to an audio of the call obtained by the Washington Post.
In response to a description of the Dec. 23 call, Nick Akerman, a former federal prosecutor in New York and a former member of the Watergate prosecution team, said, “Oh, my God, of course, that’s obstruction — any way you cut it.”
Other lawyers, though, including Robert James, a former prosecutor in DeKalb County, Georgia, said that obstruction would be difficult to prove in the earlier call, given that no audio of it is available. He added that obstruction would be easier to prove for the Raffensperger discussion given that, in that instance, we do have a recording.
“He says, ‘Go find me some votes.’ That can clearly be interpreted as asking someone to break the law,” James said.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.