- Monday, 04 January 2021
(CNN)Astonishing new evidence of a desperate President Donald Trump caught on tape trying to steal the election exposes the depth of his corruption and makes his Republican Capitol Hill allies complicit in his bid to thwart the will of voters.
In a fresh abuse of power, Trump tried to bully a top Georgia GOP official into finding votes to overturn President-elect Joe Biden's win in the state. The staggering telephone call, audio of which was obtained by CNN and first reported by the Washington Post, amounted to the most serious threat yet posed by his authoritarian instincts to American democracy. Even before the latest outrage, this week already marked a watershed moment for Biden's coming presidency, a ruptured Republican Party and for the integrity of the US political system.
Read the full transcript and listen to Trump's audio call with Georgia secretary of state : A GOP attempt, for example, to block Congress' certification of Biden's win based on lies and false conspiracy theories about fraud on Wednesday has no chance of succeeding but will further convince millions of Trump voters the election was rigged. Scores of GOP lawmakers plan to choose the vanquished President and his voters over the cherished principles of free elections in a fracturing that will have lasting consequences for the GOP and the nation.
On Tuesday, two Georgia runoff elections will decide whether Republicans will hold their Senate majority and retain the power to block Biden's sweeping agenda and hopes of swiftly confirming a Cabinet at a time of national crisis.
All of this is coming to a head as Trump incites protests in Washington in a bid to disrupt the election certification effort, amid fears of violence, while ignoring a worse-than-ever pandemic and the consequent deaths of 350,000 Americans.
In fact, the President blasted the world-leading US death toll as "fake news" on Sunday, while disregarding growing evidence his White House has botched the rollout of crucial new vaccines just as it did earlier stages of the pandemic.
But Surgeon General Jerome Adams contradicted Trump's false claim on CNN's "State of the Union," telling Jake Tapper: "From a public health perspective, I have no reason to doubt those numbers."
'I just want to find ... votes' : The release of the stunning telephone conversation between Trump and Georgia's GOP Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger escalated the constitutional crisis Trump started stoking even before his election loss. "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," Trump said, in a comment that at best was an abuse of power and that could raise legal questions. Throughout the hour-long call, the President repeatedly prods Raffensperger to agree to his false claims that thousands of votes were illegally cast, that some ballots were destroyed or came from dead people or out-of-state voters. The Georgia secretary of state tells the President that he has false information.
Trump's audio call with Georgia secretary of state : CNN has obtained the full January 2 audio call between President Donald Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Trump is joined on the call by White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and several lawyers. CNN obtained the audio from a source who was on the call and had direct knowledge of the conversation. CNN has redacted the name of one individual about whom Trump made unsubstantiated claims.