President Donald Trump called Ronna McDaniel, the leader of the Republican National Committee, a few weeks after he had lost the 2020 election, with a strategy for retaining his position.
He invited John Eastman, one of the strategists behind the plan, to explain it during the call. Trump supporters in states that the president had lost would pose as legitimate Electoral College delegates in a bold effort to trick voters.
McDaniel sent Trump’s executive assistant an “elector summary” report once the strategy was put into action, and she quickly responded, “It’s in front of him!”
These data, which were included in the report from the House committee that looked into the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, provide new proof that Trump was at the epicenter of the campaign to rig the election rather than on the fringes.
Prosecutors in Atlanta have been looking into whether the Trump campaign tampered with the Georgia election for president, which Trump narrowly lost to President Biden, for the past two years. The main concern is whether Trump will be charged with a crime given that the investigation has already moved into the indictment stage.
There are two areas where legal experts who have studied the case feel Trump is at significant risk. First, there are the phone conversations he made to state officials, like one with Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state, in which Trump said he needed to “find” 11,780 votes.
However, the Jan. 6 committee transcripts, which were just made public, shed new insight on the other matter that could put the former president in legal peril: his active involvement in assembling a list of fake presidential electors in the days following the 2020 election.
The now-famous phone made by Trump on January 2, 2021, in which he put pressure on fellow Republican Raffensperger, served as the catalyst for the probe. Trump stated on the call, which Raffensperger’s staff recorded, “I simply want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.”
For weeks, Trump had been contesting the election results. On November 13, he posted on Twitter, “Everyone knows that we won the state.”
By Nov. 20, Republican Georgia Governor Brian Kemp claimed he was constitutionally compelled to certify the results of that state’s election, securing Biden’s victory. On that day, Trump tweeted, “The Governor of Georgia and Secretary of State refuse to let us look at signatures which would expose hundreds of thousands of illegitimate ballots.”
Giuliani next drove to Georgia to hold a hearing in the state Senate, where he highlighted concerns about tainted voting machines and trash cans filled with Biden ballots. Even within the Trump team, these assertions were viewed as questionable.
Asserting that there were “justifiable complaints about election administration,” Josh Findlay, a lawyer for the Trump campaign, informed the committee that “the big complaints that you would hear about, you know, massive vote flips and things like that, we just didn’t ever – at least in Georgia, we did not ever find any evidence of that.”
Georgia electoral officials recertified Biden’s victory on December 7. Findlay was instructed to investigate the potential for alternate electors in places like Georgia around the same period.
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In his testimony to the committee on January 6, he stated, “From what I gather, the president made this decision.
Also, Trump intervened more forcefully.
He called Kemp on December 5 and begged him to let state legislators decide who would receive the state’s electoral votes. The governor said “no.”
Later that month, the president spoke incoherently over the phone with Frances Watson, the chief elections investigator in Raffensperger’s office, about “lost ballots” and the requirement for a “signature check.” Watson expressed disbelief that you would take the time to call.
Trump’s efforts reached their apex with his call to Raffensperger on January 2. The president scolded him, “You know what they did and you’re not reporting it.” “That’s a criminal act; that is a criminal infraction, you know. You must prevent that from happening, you know. That poses a serious risk to you.
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Soon after, Willis began his investigation.
She mentioned the idea of filing charges under Georgia’s version of the federal Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act in February 2021, saying that “Anything relating to attempts to tamper with the Georgia election will be subject to scrutiny.”
Legal professionals envision several possible criminal accusations; even Trump’s remarks to Raffensperger might be interpreted as breaking a state rule prohibiting influencing or intimidating those involved in nonjudicial government action, like the certification of elections. That is one of the claims made by a group from the Brookings Institution that is composed of bipartisan members and has thoroughly examined the Georgia probe.
The former district attorney for DeKalb County, which covers a portion of Atlanta, Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming, said, “We jointly thought that there’s a high probability of some pretty serious charges.”
According to the Brookings Institution, Trump may be charged with first-degree criminal solicitation to conduct electoral fraud, a felony, if he calls Watson or Raffensperger.
Trump might be charged with recruiting people to participate in what amounted to illegal “tampering” with the genuine elector’s list, as defined by Georgia law, and by soliciting the “counterfeiting” of the state’s electoral ballots by putting together the elector’s plan.
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