Recording of Trump asking Georgia election investigator to review ballots was found in her trash folder: Report
In January, it was reported that former President Donald Trump urged Georgia’s lead elections investigator to identify wrongdoing in the state’s vote in a December phone call, shortly before Christmas. Two months after the report, the Georgia secretary of state released an audio recording. As per reports, the recording of this call was found in a trash folder on election investigator Frances Watson’s device.
In the call, Trump reportedly urged the investigator to scrutinize ballots in Fulton County, Georgia, asserting she would find “dishonesty” there. He also told her that she had “the most important job in the country right now.” As per reports, state officials originally said that they did not think an audio file of the call between Trump and Watson existed. The Daily Mail reported that it is currently unclear why Watson moved the audio file into her trash folder.
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Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, the Washington Post reported, had launched the inquiry following allegations that Cobb election officials had improperly accepted mail ballots with signatures that did not match those on file. Raffensperger said that Trump had placed the December 23 call. “That was an ongoing investigation,” Raffensperger said. “I don’t believe that an elected official should be involved in that process.”
The Wall Street Journal, which reviewed the recording of the phone call, reported that during the six-minute call, Trump repeatedly said that he won Georgia. “Something bad happened,” he said. “When the right answer comes out, you’ll be praised,” Trump told the chief investigator, Frances Watson. She responded: “I can assure you that our team and the [Georgia Bureau of Investigation], that we are only interested in the truth and finding the information that is based on the facts.”
During the call, Trump told Watson that she had the “most important job in the country” at the time and urged her investigators to review signatures going back several years, according to the recording. While her audit was focused on Cobb County, he said she should look at Fulton County, the state’s most populous county that includes most of Atlanta. “If you can get to Fulton, you are going to find things that are going to be unbelievable,” he said.
Watson, during the call, said she was surprised that he was calling her. “I do know that you are a very busy, very important man and I am very honored that you called,” she said. “And quite frankly I’m shocked that you would take time to do that, but I am very appreciative.”
The Post reported that Trump’s call to Watson occurred more than a week before he spent an hour on the phone with Raffensperger, pushing him to overturn the vote on January 2. During the conversation, Trump reportedly the secretary of state, tried to flatter him, begged him to act, and even threatened him with vague criminal consequences if the fellow Republican refused to pursue his false claims, at one point warning that he was taking “a big risk.”