Opinion: Congress evidently not interested in Raffensperger’s election stories

Credit: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

This week brought forth the first excerpts from a book written by Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on the 2020 election, which is certain to produce a lot of interesting details about the pressure put on him to reverse Donald Trump’s election loss in Georgia.

After reading a couple of paragraphs of what Raffensperger had to say, my immediate thought was a familiar one.

Why hasn’t Congress called Raffensperger to testify in public?

I know some of you reading this column think that Joe Biden and Democrats stole the election from Donald Trump. That didn’t happen. Instead, Trump was actively trying to reverse the election results based on never-ending false claims of election fraud.

Raffensperger heard it directly from Trump and his GOP allies, as state Republicans swiftly threw the Georgia Secretary of State under the bus after Election Day, going all-in with Trump and his election fraud fantasies.

It’s been nine months since Raffensperger’s office leaked the audio of a phone call with Trump, whose only goal was to be declared the winner in Georgia.

“There’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, that you’ve recalculated,” Trump told Raffensperger in audio released on January 3. “I just want to find 11,780 votes.”

The Raffensperger book excerpts only confirmed what many thought.

“Raffensperger makes clear that he interpreted Donald Trump’s call as a threat and an instruction to commit election fraud,” said Noah Bookbinder, the head of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

Congressional expert Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute says maybe Democrats could be waiting to see what happens with Fulton County’s investigation of Trump.

“But I agree that this has been a mistake,” Ornstein said of the failure to have Raffensperger testify.

“Public hearings on the leadup to 1/6 should be a high priority,” Ornstein added.

But the lack of an invite for Raffensperger could also be because he doesn’t want to talk just about Trump — as was obvious from an op-ed Raffensperger wrote for USA Today this week, in which he went after Trump and Stacey Abrams.

Raffensperger labeled Trump and Abrams, “Sore losers to the end,” arguing both made false claims of election fraud after their high-profile losses.

Still, a visit to Capitol Hill by Raffensperger could again draw attention to that January phone call by Trump, where the Georgia Secretary of State and his aides shot down Trump’s conspiracy theories about election fraud in real-time.

For example, at one point, Trump said 5,000 dead people had voted in Georgia.

“The actual number were two. Two,” Raffensperger said.

But instead of having him testify before Congress, Democrats will evidently have to find out all the details about that Trump phone call some other way — maybe by buying Raffensperger’s book.

Jamie Dupree has covered national politics and the Congress from Washington, D.C. since the Reagan administration. His column appears weekly in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. For more, check out his Capitol Hill newsletter at http://jamiedupree.substack.com