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Trump's deranged phone call with Georgia secretary of state reveals a desperate man

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President Donald Trump pushed Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to "find" votes to overturn the election results after his loss to President-elect Biden, according to an audio recording of a phone call obtained by The Washington Post. The White House declined to comment to CNN. CNN has reached out to Raffensperger. The Post's Amy Gardner joins CNN's Fredricka Whitfield to discuss.

Posted: Jan 4, 2021 4:40 PM
Updated: Jan 4, 2021 4:40 PM

The latest turn in loser Donald Trump's campaign to overturn the 2020 election reveals a desperate man willing to say almost anything to get what he wants but instead getting rebuffed by officials who are made of finer stuff. As he pressures them to abandon their duty and come over to the dark side of politics, their refusal makes Trump's corrupt methods all the more obvious.

Heard on an audio recording with Georgia election officials obtained by CNN, and first reported by the Washington Post, Trump sounds more like a dictator than an American president. He is by turns bullying, flattering, and repugnant, frantically trying to close the biggest deal of his life.

"I just want to find 11,780 votes," says the President in a rambling one-hour telephone call with Georgia's secretary of state and others. In another moment he argues, "And the people of Georgia are angry, the people of the country are angry," he said. "And there's nothing wrong with saying, you know, um, that you've recalculated."

If people are angry, it is mainly because Trump and his allies have been careering around the country, and social media, insisting the 2020 election was marred by massive fraud that stole victory from him. No such fraud has been discovered, and some 60 lawsuits pressing the claim have gone down in flames. Nevertheless, the idea of fraud has been so animated by repetition that polls have found a substantial majority of Republican voters believe the election was stolen.

One Republican who clearly disagrees with the majority in his party is Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who can be heard telling Trump, "Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is, the data you have is wrong." He was supported by his office counsel Ryan Germany who clearly tells the President his claim that the state's election was fraudulent is just wrong.

When you listen to Trump attempt to bulldoze the facts you can hear a man who is either completely detached from reality or cravenly devoted to the destruction of democracy in order to retain power. "There's no way I lost Georgia," says Trump, repeatedly. At another point he insists, "We won by hundreds of thousands of votes."

In trying to bring the state officials into his plot to overturn the election, Trump often sounded like a high pressure salesman determined to prevent his mark from walking away. Among the discredited notions he raised were claims that votes have been shredded, voting machines had been moved or tampered with, Joe Biden votes have been counted numerous times over, and people who had moved from the state had returned to vote.

It's hard to imagine that Trump hasn't been told that the fraud theories are wrong. Certainly, dozens of courts have indicated as much by dismissing legal efforts to overturn the election results. Thus, it shouldn't have surprised him that the folks in Georgia refuted the claims.

Blocked by the facts, Trump reversed field to tell Raffensperger that he and his attorney was were in legal peril because he wasn't acting as the President demanded to find fraud. "That's a criminal offense," he said. "And you can't let that happen. That's a big risk to you and to Ryan, your lawyer."

To his enormous credit, Germany put on a master class in standing up to Trump as the President insisted that a voting technology company called Dominion monkeyed with machines. Shot down when he tried one angle, the President pivoted to ask, "But have they moved the inner parts of the machines and replaced them with other parts?"

"No," replied Germany.

"Are you sure, Ryan?" said Trump.

"I'm sure. I'm sure, Mr. President," said Germany.

We know that both men held their ground because someone recorded the call and it was obtained by the media. At this late stage in Trump's game, everyone knows that it's a good idea to record any conversation with him. In this case the recording reveals men who are committed to the American ideal of democracy and to the ethical fulfillment of their duties. They are also courageous.

In the past, little courage was required of those who oversaw our elections and the peaceful transfer of power. But in the Trump years, thanks in part to the President's incitements, officials have been subjected to threats, and armed protesters showed up at the Michigan secretary of state's home. And still they have held firm.

Thousands of those whom the president referred to when he spoke of angry people are expected in Washington DC this Wednesday, as Congress conducts what is typically a proforma certification of the election. Thanks to Trump we live in very atypical times. His prediction that the day will be "wild" has officials in the capital on edge.

To their shame, nearly a dozen Republican senators and senators-elect and more than 100 House Republicans say they are going to challenge the vote certification. This will not alter the result but it will, like that call Trump made to Georgia, affirm what we already knew: Trump is a corrupting force who will reveal a politician's character.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 294091

Reported Deaths: 6669
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19626230
Hinds18745386
Harrison16618278
Rankin12662264
Jackson12509224
Lee9679160
Madison9432199
Jones7928146
Forrest7184136
Lauderdale6813226
Lowndes6017137
Lamar586880
Lafayette5721113
Washington5205130
Bolivar4604122
Oktibbeha440693
Panola428893
Pearl River4144129
Warren4124113
Pontotoc408469
Marshall401892
Monroe3982126
Union394974
Neshoba3782168
Lincoln3508100
Hancock343874
Leflore3367118
Sunflower317686
Tate301774
Pike299795
Scott293170
Alcorn291261
Itawamba289374
Yazoo287962
Coahoma277367
Tippah276765
Copiah276357
Simpson273878
Prentiss269558
Leake252271
Wayne252241
Marion251978
Covington248478
Grenada246677
Adams233877
George231245
Newton227552
Winston221475
Jasper212945
Tishomingo211965
Attala206269
Chickasaw200951
Holmes181770
Clay178550
Stone171929
Tallahatchie170439
Clarke169171
Calhoun157528
Smith152531
Yalobusha143737
Greene127433
Walthall123640
Noxubee122829
Montgomery121838
Perry121534
Lawrence119621
Carroll118124
Amite111232
Webster110230
Jefferson Davis101531
Tunica98923
Claiborne98129
Benton93324
Humphreys92527
Kemper89723
Quitman77114
Franklin75919
Choctaw69516
Wilkinson62326
Jefferson62027
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 492683

Reported Deaths: 9930
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson709061374
Mobile36044725
Madison32355455
Tuscaloosa24093410
Montgomery22536501
Shelby21892215
Baldwin19714283
Lee14950153
Morgan13641251
Calhoun13232286
Etowah13163319
Marshall11250209
Houston10073261
Elmore9371185
Limestone9353134
Cullman8891181
St. Clair8813223
Lauderdale8594211
DeKalb8441175
Talladega7511163
Walker6514255
Jackson6487102
Autauga624891
Blount6095127
Colbert6000118
Coffee5238102
Dale4637107
Russell403930
Franklin398977
Covington3953106
Chilton3868100
Escambia377272
Tallapoosa3581142
Clarke343650
Chambers3406110
Dallas3401141
Pike293272
Lawrence282684
Marion281695
Winston246567
Bibb244960
Geneva239070
Marengo235355
Pickens224454
Barbour211351
Hale209468
Fayette200256
Butler195666
Henry182241
Cherokee176838
Monroe166139
Randolph163640
Washington156435
Crenshaw144354
Clay143854
Macon141743
Cleburne137339
Lamar132533
Lowndes130851
Wilcox121625
Bullock116736
Conecuh106724
Perry105527
Sumter98331
Coosa88823
Greene87532
Choctaw55023
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