Trump asked Georgia election investigator to find the ‘right answer’

Then-President Donald Trump asked Georgia’s lead elections investigator to uncover evidence of wrongdoing during an investigation of absentee ballot voter signatures in December that later found no fraud, according to audio of a phone call made public Wednesday. “When the right answer comes out, you’ll be praised,” Trump told Frances Watson. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Combined ShapeCaption
Then-President Donald Trump asked Georgia’s lead elections investigator to uncover evidence of wrongdoing during an investigation of absentee ballot voter signatures in December that later found no fraud, according to audio of a phone call made public Wednesday. “When the right answer comes out, you’ll be praised,” Trump told Frances Watson. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Donald Trump asked Georgia’s lead elections investigator to uncover evidence of wrongdoing during an investigation of absentee ballot voter signatures in December that later found no fraud, according to audio of a phone call made public Wednesday.

Trump told Frances Watson, chief investigator for the secretary of state’s office, that he hoped her investigation would help show that he had won reelection in the presidential race. Recounts and audits of election results found that Democrat Joe Biden defeated Trump by about 12,000 votes in Georgia.

Channel 2 Action News and The Wall Street Journal first reported the six-minute recording of the call from Dec. 23, the day after Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, made a surprise visit to Georgia to observe the investigation.

“When the right answer comes out, you’ll be praised,” Trump told Watson.

The release of the call comes as a Fulton County grand jury this month is reviewing whether Trump committed election fraud in Georgia. Trump called Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Jan. 2, urging him to “find” enough votes to reverse Biden’s win.

The December investigation of 15,000 absentee ballot envelopes in Cobb County didn’t reveal a single fraudulent ballot.

In his call with Watson, Trump repeated unsubstantiated claims that “something bad happened” in Georgia’s election, saying “they dropped all these ballots.” Trump didn’t elaborate on how ballots could have been falsified.

Watson said in the call that she was “shocked” that Trump would take the time to call her.

“I appreciate your comments, and I can assure you that our team and the GBI, that we’re only interested in the truth and finding the information that’s based on the facts,” Watson said.

The secretary of state’s office said in a statement that Trump’s phone call to Watson is another example of how it handled the election.

“We would follow the law, count every legal vote and investigate any allegations of fraud. That’s exactly what we did, and how we arrived at the accurate final vote tally,” spokesman Ari Schaffer said.