The audio is a focus of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ investigation into whether Trump and his allies broke Georgia law by trying to overturn the election results.
Credit: Jason Getz/AJC
Credit: Jason Getz/AJC
State and federal elections officials have said there’s no evidence of widespread irregularities in Georgia and other battleground states, and courts at every level have dismissed challenges from Trump’s campaign and its allies seeking to overturn Georgia’s close election.
Legal experts said Trump’s remarks could bolster Willis’ case as she nears an announcement, expected as early as July, whether she’ll seek criminal charges against Trump and key members of his inner circle.
“Subjects of criminal investigation aren’t usually reckless enough to go on national television and admit their corrupt intent, but Donald Trump just handed Fani Willis a new piece of evidence and tied a bow on it,” said Antony Kreis, a Georgia State University constitutional law professor.
“Trump stated in relatively plain terms that he felt entitled to votes as a matter of personal right, regardless of the evidence laid before him that he did not win Georgia, and that vote tallies and recounts be damned he is going to pressure Brad Raffensperger,” Kreis added.
In a turbulent 70-minute-long primetime event, a pro-Trump crowd rewarded the former president with raucous applause and laughter as he parroted conspiracy theories, promoted falsehoods, berated Collins and mocked a writer who claimed she was raped by Trump.
Among other takeaways, Trump said he doesn’t regret inciting the deadly Jan. 6, 2021 riot, blamed Mike Pence for failing to overturn the election, wouldn’t say whether he wanted Ukraine to defeat Russia and refused to adhere to the results of next year’s vote if he lost.
Here’s the full exchange involving the Raffensperger call:
Trump: “Yeah, I called questioning the election. I thought it was a rigged election. I thought it had a lot of problems … We’re having a normal call. Nobody said, ‘Oh, gee, he shouldn’t have said that.’ If this call was bad -- I questioned the election.
Collins: “You asked him to find you votes.”
Trump: “I didn’t ask him to find anything.”
Collins: “We’ve heard the audio tape, Mr. President. There’s audio of you asking him to find 11,000-something votes.”
Trump: “I said, you owed me votes because the election was rigged. That election was rigged. If this call was bad, why didn’t him and his lawyers hang up? How dare you say that. This was a perfect phone call.”
Collins: “They were clearly concerned enough that they recorded the phone call.”
Trump: “This was a call that was made to question the results of the election. When we can’t make a call to question the election results, then this country ought to just forget about it.”