Chicago Tribune (Sunday)
Trump pressured Ga. investigator to ‘find the fraud’ in December call
ATLANTA— While election officials in Georgia were verifying signatures on absentee ballot envelopes in one metro-Atlanta county, President Donald Trump pressed a lead investigator to “findt he fraud” andsaid it would make the investigator a national hero.
The December call, described by aperson familiar with it who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to describe the sensitive nature of the discussion, is yet another link in the chain of the extraordinary pressure campaign waged by Trump on state officials as he sought to overturn the results of the November election, which he lost to Democrat Joe Biden.
It is one of at least three phone calls, held over the course of a month between early December and early January, where Trump sought help from high-level Georgia officials in subverting the election— only to be rebuffed each time. Trump lost to Biden in Georgia by 11,779 votes.
The call to the investigator preceded Trump’s Jan. 2 call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger where he asked election officials to“find” enough votes to overturn Biden’s win in the state. It occurred as election officials were conducting an audit of signatures on absentee ballot envelopes in Cobb County.
The audit, which reviewed more than 15,000 signatures, found no cases of fraud. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation helped conduct the signature audit.
Trump and his allies have for months made false claims about Georgia’s signature verification process for absentee ballots and about the results of the November election.
The White House had no immediate comment. The call was first reported Saturday by The Washington Post, which said itwas withholding the name of the investigator, who did not respond to requests for comment, because of the risk of threats and harassment directed at election officials.
The new details about the president’s pressure campaign come as House Democrats announced plans to introduce an article of impeachment against the president for “willfully inciting violence against the government of the United States,” a reference to the pro-Trump mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Trump is also facing growing calls to resign, while his Cabinet is underpressure to invoke the 25 th Amendment to remove him from office.
During another call in early December, Trump pressed Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to order a special session of the state legislature to subvert Biden’s victory. Kemp refused.