US President Donald Trump has been labelled desperate and disgraceful, with calls for his impeachment or prosecution, after a leaked phone call revealed him placing pressure on a top election official to find votes to overturn the Georgia result.
The Washington Post obtained audio of a phone call between Trump and Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, where he attempts to change the outcome of the presidential race, which was won by Joe Biden.
Despite legal challenges, Georgia certified its vote after counting it three times in the wake of the election, confirming Biden’s victory by a final margin of 11,779.
While speaking at a campaign event for Democratic senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock in Savannah, Georgia on Sunday, vice president-elect Kamala Harris described Trump’s pleas as the “voice of desperation”.
“Have ya’ll heard about that recorded conversation? Well it was, yes, certainly, the voice of desperation, most certainly that, and it was a bald, bald-faced, bold abuse of power by the President of the United States,” she said.
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also condemned Trump’s behaviour, calling for his impeachment.
“I absolutely think it’s an impeachable offence and if it was up to me there would be articles on the floor quite quickly,’ she said. ‘But he, I mean he is trying to – he is attacking our very election.”
She was backed by a number of social media users who also rallied for Trump to be impeached. He previously faced impeachment in December 2019 for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, but was cleared.
Several lawyers claimed that Trump may have violated laws that prohibit interference in federal or state elections, while Congressional Democrats vowed to examine the legal implications of the call.
Attacking Trump’s “disgraceful effort to intimidate an elected official”, Senate Democratic whip Dick Durbin appealed for a criminal investigation.
“President Trump’s recorded conversation with Georgia Secretary of State Raffensperger is more than a pathetic, rambling, delusional rant,” Durbin said in a statement to Fox News. “His disgraceful effort to intimidate an elected official into deliberately changing and misrepresenting the legally confirmed vote totals in his state strikes at the heart of our democracy and merits nothing less than a criminal investigation.”
Yet former Republican chairman of the Federal Election Commission, Trevor Potter, argued it would be a decision for the Justice Department in Biden’s administration.
“There is a good argument that Trump is seeking to procure a fraudulent vote count by stating that he needs exactly 11,780 votes and is threatening the secretary of state if he does not produce them,” Potter told The New York Times. “But even if the Biden Justice Department thinks they have a good case, is that how they want to start off the Biden presidency? That is a policy decision.”
But Trump didn’t just have his detractors. His campaign senior adviser Jason Miller came out firing on Twitter, defending the President’s actions.
A Republican candidate for governor of California, Errol Webber, also questioned the legality of releasing the tapes.
On Twitter, users likened Trump’s phone call to Watergate, the political scandal which forced Richard Nixon out of office after his administration attempted to cover up continuous attempts to break into the Democratic National Committee.
Congress is expected to certify the election results on January 6, despite 100 Republican House members indicating they would object to results in a number of states.
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