OMG! This phone call! This will be evidence in court cases and eventually, available in any kind of a Trump Library or museum. Amy Gardner from the Washington Post posted it today and you just have to listen to it. "Trump," she reported, "urged fellow Republican Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state, to 'find' enough votes to overturn his defeat in an extraordinary one-hour phone call Saturday that election experts said raised legal questions... Trump alternately berated Raffensperger, tried to flatter him, begged him to act and threatened him with vague criminal consequences if the secretary of state refused to pursue his false claims, at one point warning that Raffensperger was taking 'a big risk.' Throughout the call, Raffensperger and his office’s general counsel rejected Trump’s assertions, explaining that the president is relying on debunked conspiracy theories and that President-elect Joe Biden’s 11,779-vote victory in Georgia was fair and accurate. Trump dismissed their arguments. 'The people of Georgia are angry, the people in the country are angry,' he said. 'And there’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, um, that you’ve recalculated.' Raffensperger responded: 'Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is, the data you have is wrong.'"
At another point, Trump said: “So look. All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.”
The rambling and at times incoherent conversation offered a remarkable glimpse of how consumed and desperate the president remains about his loss, unwilling or unable to let the matter go and still believing he can reverse the results in enough battleground states to remain in office.
“There’s no way I lost Georgia,” Trump said, a phrase he repeated again and again on the call. “There’s no way. We won by hundreds of thousands of votes.”
Several of his allies were on the line as he spoke, including White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and conservative lawyer Cleta Mitchell, a prominent GOP lawyer whose involvement with Trump’s efforts had not been previously known.
In a statement, Mitchell said Raffensperger’s office “has made many statements over the past two months that are simply not correct and everyone involved with the efforts on behalf of the President’s election challenge has said the same thing: show us your records on which you rely to make these statements that our numbers are wrong.”
Gardner noted that Señor Trumpanzee "did most of the talking on the call. He was angry and impatient, calling Raffensperger a 'child' and 'either dishonest or incompetent' for not believing there was widespread ballot fraud in Atlanta-- and twice calling him a 'schmuck' for endorsing Kemp, whom Trump holds in particular contempt for not embracing his claims of fraud."
The pressure Trump put on Raffensperger is the latest example of his attempt to subvert the outcome of the Nov. 3 election through personal outreach to state Republican officials. He previously invited Michigan Republican state leaders to the White House, pressured Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) in a call to try to replace that state’s electors and asked the speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to help reverse his loss in that state.
His call to Raffensperger came as scores of Republicans have pledged to challenge the electoral college’s vote for Biden when Congress convenes for a joint session on Wednesday. Republicans do not have the votes to successfully thwart Biden’s victory, but Trump has urged supporters to travel to Washington to protest the outcome, and state and federal officials are already bracing for clashes outside the Capitol.
...Trump’s conversation with Raffensperger put him in legally questionable territory, legal experts said. By exhorting the secretary of state to “find” votes and to deploy investigators who “want to find answers,” Trump appears to be encouraging him to doctor the election outcome in Georgia.
But experts said Trump’s clearer transgression is a moral one. Edward Foley, a law professor at Ohio State University, said that the legal questions are murky and would be subject to prosecutorial discretion. But he also emphasized that the call was “inappropriate and contemptible” and should prompt moral outrage.
“He was already tripping the emergency meter,” Foley said. “So we were at 12 on a scale of 1 to 10, and now we’re at 15.”
Throughout the call, Trump detailed an exhaustive list of disinformation and conspiracy theories to support his position. He claimed without evidence that he had won Georgia by at least a half-million votes. He floated a barrage of assertions that have been investigated and disproved: that thousands of dead people voted; that an Atlanta election worker scanned 18,000 forged ballots three times each and “100 percent” were for Biden; that thousands more voters living out of state came back to Georgia illegally just to vote in the election.
Can Trump be impeached again? He should be. Many people would like to see that. Trump may even be wondering what's in it for him. In fact, I just got a statement from Greenbelt mayor Colin Byrd, the progressive candidate primarying Steny Hoyer, urging Congress to take up impeachment again. "I am deeply concerned," he wrote, "by President Trump's call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which he pressured Raffensperger to 'find' enough votes to overturn the state’s presidential election results. I believe that the president should be impeached again. Granted, impeaching a president twice is extraordinary, as is doing so 17 days prior to the next president’s inauguration. But such extraordinary and repeated actions warrant extraordinary consequences. We cannot normalize presidents launching these types of tremendous attacks on America’s already tenuous democracy-- these are attacks on the people of Georgia and the people of America. Impeach 45. Again."
[Emphasis added by me]
Writing for the Daily Beast yesterday, Will Sommer and Asawin Suebsaeng reported that "Many of Donald Trump’s most dogmatic supporters see a mass protest in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6-- just two weeks shy of Inauguration Day 2021-- as their last chance to disrupt President-elect Joe Biden’s win. But for the president himself, it’s just another day to complain. Two people familiar with the matter say that in recent days, Trump has told advisers and close associates that he wants to keep fighting in court past Jan. 6 if members of Congress, as expected, end up certifying the electoral college results. 'The way he sees it is: Why should I ever let this go?… How would that benefit me?' said one of the sources, who’s spoken to Trump at length about the post-election activities to nullify his Democratic opponent’s decisive victory. The president’s exact plans for the Jan. 6 events remain unclear, and it has been common for him to lend his support to these rallies or protests via enthusiastic-sounding tweets, only to then stop short of doing much else."
This morning, Fox News reported that violent right-wing terrorists-- the so-called Proud Boys-- are flocking to Washington "incognito" for the protests, disguising themselves as Anti-fascist patriots.
Both the November and December rallies in Washington saw violence, especially after nightfall. And that seems likely to be the case this coming rally too. Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio claimed in a post on conservative social media network Parler that some Proud Boys would dress in black to disguise themselves as left-wing “antifa” protesters.
“Watch out, January 6-- you ain’t gonna know who the fuck it is standing beside you,” prominent Proud Boy Joe Biggs said in a video posted to Parler.
Rally supporters did, however, suffer a setback on Monday when the Hotel Harrington, a budget hotel in the nation’s capital, revealed that it would be closed during the protest. The hotel and its bar, Harry’s, have become hubs for MAGA activity in the city, even after the bar was fined for violating COVID-19 restrictions after being packed with Trump supporters. But both the hotel and the bar announced plans to close around the rally, a few weeks after four people were stabbed near the bar after a Dec. 12 pro-Trump event.
In response, Trump supporters fumed online and came up with unorthodox plans to find other sleeping arrangements, claiming they would instead camp in parks around the city despite the wintry weather.