'The evidence of election fraud by Mr. Trump is now in broad daylight.'
Following the shocking phone call between Donald Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger — during which Trump asked Raffensperger to "find 11,780 votes" to overturn his loss in the state — there have been multiple calls for investigations into Trump's conduct.
Audio first obtained by the Washington Post revealed that Trump told Raffensperger during an hourlong conversation on Saturday that "the people of Georgia are angry, the people of the country are angry. ... And there's nothing wrong with saying, you know, that you've recalculated."
But Raffensperger refused, responding with, "Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is, the data you have is wrong."
On Monday, Democratic Reps. Ted Lieu (CA) and Kathleen Rice (NY) wrote a letter calling for the FBI to open a criminal probe, claiming Trump solicited election fraud and violated three laws.
"The recording of that phone conversation has been publicly released. As Members of Congress and former prosecutors, we believe Donald Trump engaged in solicitation of, or conspiracy to commit, a number of election crimes. We ask you to open an immediate criminal investigation into the President," their letter said. "The evidence of election fraud by Mr. Trump is now in broad daylight."
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) said the call "merits nothing less than a criminal investigation."
"This disgraceful effort to intimidate an elected official into deliberately changing & misrepresenting the legally confirmed vote totals in his state strikes at the heart of our democracy," Durbin tweeted on Monday. "The President is unhinged and dangerous."
David Worley, the sole Democratic official on Georgia's state election board, on Sunday called for Raffensperger's office to launch a civil and criminal investigation into the call, telling the Post that there is "probable cause" that Trump violated the state's election code.
"It's a crime to solicit election fraud, and asking the secretary to change the votes is a textbook definition of election fraud," Worley told the Washington Post.
He said in a letter to Raffensperger that the incident "cannot be ignored or brushed aside."
Since then, Raffensperger has said his office won't investigate the call, stating on Monday, "I don't think that would be appropriate and not needed at this time."
However, the district attorney of Fulton County, where Raffensperget's office is located, called the phone call "disturbing" in a statement.
"As I promised Fulton County voters last year, as District Attorney, I will enforce the law without fear or favor," Fani Willis said.
Lieutenant Gov. Geoff Duncan wouldn't confirm to CNN whether Georgia Attorney General Christopher Carr would investigate the matter, but he said: "I am 100% certified to tell you that it was inappropriate. And it certainly did not help the situation."
"It was based on misinformation, it was based on, you know, all types of theories that have been debunked and disproved over the course of the last 10 weeks," Duncan added.
Meanwhile, civil rights groups and law experts are also calling for investigations.
The NAACP called for Willis to investigate the matter, with its president and CEO Derrick Johnson telling ABC News on Monday, "This is a racist attack on Black voters. President Trump's desperate and futile attempts to invalidate and falsify votes cast by Georgia voters add to a growing list of criminal acts that must be addressed. His blatant disregard of the election's accurate results is harmful to the American people and democracy itself."
Georgia Washington University law professor John Banzhaf also filed a formal complaint with the State Election Board of Georgia and the secretary of state, citing three criminal statutes that Trump "may have violated." Banzhaf formerly played a role in the investigations of Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew.
Trump has launched an all-out bid to overturn the election since losing in November to President-elect Joe Biden. Trump's campaign filed lawsuit after lawsuit to challenge the election results but has been unsuccessful.
Trump is also pushing GOP senators to refuse to certify the electoral vote in Congress on Wednesday. It's a move that Durbin slammed, tweeting: "Those who encourage and support his conduct, including my Senate colleagues, are putting the orderly and peaceful transition of power in our nation at risk."
Trump's demands rely on baseless and thoroughly debunked claims of widespread voter fraud, which his own administration has said does not exist.
"To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election," former Attorney General William Barr told the Associated Press in December of last year.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.