Trump placed the call to the investigations chief for the Georgia secretary of state’s office shortly before Christmas — while the individual was leading an inquiry into allegations of ballot fraud in Cobb County, in the suburbs of Atlanta, according to people familiar with the episode.
It is one of at least three phone calls, held over the course of a month between early December and early January, where Trump sought help from high-level Georgia officials in subverting the election — only to be rebuffed each time. Trump lost to Biden in Georgia by 11,779 votes.
The call to the investigator preceded Trump’s call on 2 January to Georgia’s secretary of state Brad Raffensperger, where he asked election officials to “find” enough votes to overturn Biden’s win in the state. It occurred as election officials were conducting an audit of signatures on absentee ballot envelopes in Cobb County.
The audit, which reviewed more than 15,000 signatures, found no cases of fraud. The Georgia Bureau of investigation helped conduct the signature audit.
Trump and his allies have for months made false claims about Georgia’s signature verification process for absentee ballots and about the results of the November election. Among other things, they demanded an audit of the signature matches.
During another call in early December, Trump pressed Georgia’s governor Brian Kemp to order a special session of the state legislature to subvert Biden’s victory. Kemp refused.
Trump repeatedly lashed out at Raffensperger and Kemp, both fellow Republicans, and others he saw as standing in his way of overturning his election loss.
As we reported earlier, Congress certified Biden’s electoral college win early on Thursday — hours after a violent throng of pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol.