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President Donald Trump called Georgia’s top elections investigator in December to demand that the official “find the fraud,” the Washington Post reported on Saturday. Trump placed the call shortly before Christmas, telling the official that they would become a “national hero” if they backed his claim that the election was stolen.
Trump made the call while the office of Georgia’s secretary of state—where the investigator works—was conducting an audit of signatures on more than 15,000 absentee ballots in the Atlanta suburb of Cobb County. The audit, which was conducted jointly with the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, found zero fraudulent ballots. Legal experts told the Post that Trump’s phone call could amount to obstruction of justice.
“That was an ongoing investigation,” Raffensperger told the paper on Friday. “I don’t believe that an elected official should be involved in that process.”
News of Trump’s call to the investigator comes one week after the Post published audio of another call in which the president demanded that Raffensberger “find” more than 11,000 votes to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s win in Georgia. Trump had reportedly called 18 times before Raffensberger picked up, signaling the sheer desperation with which Trump has tried to reverse his defeat.
Also on Saturday, the Wall Street Journal shed new light on the mysterious resignation of Byung J. Pak, Trump’s US attorney for the North District of Georgia, which is based in Atlanta. Pak left his job on Monday, weeks ahead of schedule, without explanation. It turns out the White House ordered his dismissal because, according to the Journal, Trump “was upset he wasn’t doing enough to investigate the president’s allegations of election fraud.”
As Trump’s tumultuous presidency winds down to its final days, new scandals—more calls, a riot at the US Capitol building—seem to be popping up everywhere. At the very least, news of this latest meddling will add fuel to the fire in democrats’ call for yet another impeachment.
This story has been updated.