Jan. 3, 2021 at 12:59 p.m. EST
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.”
The White House, the Trump campaign and Meadows did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Raffensperger’s office declined to comment.
On Sunday, Trump tweeted that he had spoken to Raffensperger, saying the secretary of state was “unwilling, or unable, to answer questions such as the ‘ballots under table’ scam, ballot destruction, out of state ‘voters’, dead voters, and more. He has no clue!”
Raffensperger responded with his own tweet: “Respectfully, President Trump: What you’re saying is not true.”
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.
During their conversation, Trump issued a vague threat to both Raffensperger and Ryan Germany, the secretary of state’s general counsel, suggesting that if they don’t find that thousands of ballots in Fulton County have been illegally destroyed to block investigators — an allegation for which there is no evidence — they would be subject to criminal liability.
“That’s a criminal offense,” he said. “And you can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you and to Ryan, your lawyer.”
Trump also told Raffensperger that failure to act by Tuesday would jeopardize the political fortunes of David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, Georgia’s two Republican senators whose fate in that day’s runoff elections will determine control of the U.S. Senate.
Trump said he plans to talk about the fraud on Monday, when he is scheduled to lead an election eve rally in Dalton, Ga. — a message that could further muddle the efforts of Republicans to get their voters out.
“You have a big election coming up and because of what you’ve done to the president — you know, the people of Georgia know that this was a scam,” Trump said. “Because of what you’ve done to the president, a lot of people aren’t going out to vote, and a lot of Republicans are going to vote negative, because they hate what you did to the president. Okay? They hate it. And they’re going to vote. And you would be respected, really respected, if this can be straightened out before the election.”
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 B. 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.
“So tell me, Brad, what are we going to do? We won the election, and it’s not fair to take it away from us like this,” Trump said. “And it’s going to be very costly in many ways. And I think you have to say that you’re going to reexamine it, and you can reexamine it, but reexamine it with people that want to find answers, not people who don’t want to find answers.”
Trump 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 himself a “schmuck” for endorsing Kemp, whom Trump holds in particular contempt for not embracing his claims of fraud.
“I can’t imagine he’s ever getting elected again, I’ll tell you that much right now,” he said.
He also took aim at Kemp’s 2018 opponent, Democrat Stacey Abrams, trying to shame Raffensperger with the idea that his refusal to embrace fraud has helped her and Democrats generally. “Stacey Abrams is laughing about you,” he said. “She’s going around saying, ‘These guys are dumber than a rock.’ What she’s done to this party is unbelievable, I tell you.”
The secretary of state repeatedly sought to push back, saying at one point, “Mr. President, the problem you have with social media, that — people can say anything.”
“Oh this isn’t social media,” Trump retorted. “This is Trump media. It’s not social media. It’s really not. It’s not social media. I don’t care about social media. I couldn’t care less.”
At another point, Trump claimed that votes were scanned three times: “Brad, why did they put the votes in three times? You know, they put ’em in three times.”
Raffensperger responded: “Mr. President, they did not. We did an audit of that and we proved conclusively that they were not scanned three times.”
Trump sounded at turns confused and meandering. At one point, he referred to Kemp as “George.” He tossed out several different figures for Biden’s margin of victory in Georgia and referred to the Senate runoff, which is Tuesday, as happening “tomorrow” and “Monday.”
His desperation was perhaps most pronounced during an exchange with Germany, Raffensperger’s general counsel, in which he openly begged for validation.
Trump: “Do you think it’s possible that they shredded ballots in Fulton County? ’Cause that’s what the rumor is. And also that Dominion took out machines. That Dominion is really moving fast to get rid of their, uh, machinery. Do you know anything about that? Because that’s illegal.”
Germany responded: “No, Dominion has not moved any machinery out of Fulton County.”
Trump: “But have they moved the inner parts of the machines and replaced them with other parts?”
Trump: “Are you sure? Ryan?”
Germany: “I’m sure. I’m sure, Mr. President.”
It was clear from the call that Trump has surrounded himself with aides who have fed his false perceptions that the election was stolen. When he claimed that more than 5,000 ballots were cast in Georgia in the name of dead people, Raffensperger responded forcefully: “The actual number was two. Two. Two people that were dead that voted.”
But later, Meadows said, “I can promise you there are more than that.”
Another Trump lawyer on the call, Kurt Hilbert, accused Raffensperger’s office of refusing to turn over data to assess evidence of fraud, and also claimed awareness of at least 24,000 illegally cast ballots that would flip the result to Trump.
“It stands to reason that if the information is not forthcoming, there’s something to hide,” Hilbert said. “That’s the problem that we have.”
Reached by phone Sunday, Hilbert declined to comment.
In the end, Trump asked Germany to sit down with one of his attorneys to go over the allegations. Germany agreed.
Yet Trump also recognized that he was failing to persuade Raffensperger or Germany of anything, saying toward the end, “I know this phone call is going nowhere.”
But he continued to make his case in repetitive fashion, until finally, after roughly an hour, Raffensperger put an end to the conversation: “Thank you, President Trump, for your time.”
It is very clear that not only does the truth and reality not mean anything to tRump it is also clear tRump thinks of himself as a single person ruler able to dispense punishment or grant boons as he chooses. He sees himself as above the laws. He also sees himself in great trouble if he doesn’t stay in office. In his business he has been able to use his voice to threaten, beg, wheel and deal to get what he wants. Like a little kid just not taking no for an answer until the adults give in, or bullying those who can not stand up to him. This time we may stop him. I worry about the next one like him but smarter? Unless we strengthen our system, make our democracy stronger, we may lose. Hugs
“The die is cast for the Republican Party. It will be destroyed on January 6th in much the same way the Whig party was destroyed by the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854. The act unraveled the Missouri compromise and allowed for the westward expansion of slavery.
“The party could not survive its factionalism. There could be no more accommodation, compromise and partnership between pro-slavery and anti-slavery Whigs. A new political party was born, the Republican Party. That party will divide into irreconcilable factions on January 6th.
“The 6th will commence a political civil war inside the GOP. The autocratic side will roll over the pro-democracy remnant of the GOP like the Wehrmacht did the Belgian Army in 1940. The ‘22 GOP primary season will be a blood letting. The 6th will be a loyalty test.
“The purge will follow. Does anybody doubt the outcome of the Ivanka Trump vs. Marco Rubio primary in Florida? Anyone willing to make a bet on Rob Portman? It turns out JFK was right. The problem of trying to ride the tiger is the likelihood of winding up inside the tiger.
“The poisonous fruit from four years of collaboration and complicity with Trumps insanity, illiberalism and incompetence are ready for harvest.
“It will kill the GOP because it’s pro-democracy faction and autocratic factions can no more exist together then could the Whig Party hold together the abolitionist with the slave master.
“It won’t happen over night but the destination is clear. The Conservative party in America is dead. It may continue to bear the name ‘Republican”but it will be no such thing.
“Fascism has indeed come to America and as was once predicted. It is wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross. This movement must be defeated. It cannot be appeased, accommodated or negotiated with.
“It must be recognized for what it is and we must all recognize the new age of American politics it has wrought. It has reset the debate Entirely. There are only two sides in American politics now.
“There is the American side and the autocratic side. May God help us all if we falter, flag or fail in defense of American democracy.” – Former GOP strategist Steve Schmidt.
Could it be they are upset over what the Biden team will find out that the tRump team gave to Russia? Hugs
The meetings planned for Friday were postponed due to “rapidly changing priorities here,” said a defense official.
The tension between the Trump administration and President-elect Joe Biden’s team spilled out into the open on Friday, as officials traded accusations over the status of a series of Defense Department transition meetings that a Biden spokesperson called “invaluable” for national security.
Biden spokesperson Yohannes Abraham directly contradicted acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller’s claims that the two teams “mutually agreed” to pause the interviews until after the holiday, after Axios reported that Miller had abruptly ordered a department-wide halt to cooperation with the transition team.
“Let me be clear, there was no mutually agreed upon holiday break,” Abraham said, adding that the team hopes the Pentagon will resume meetings and answering requests for information “immediately.” “That our agency review teams will be able to have access to the sort of information that is invaluable for keeping the homeland safe.”
Miller said earlier in the day that the Pentagon had rescheduled roughly 20 meetings planned for Friday with members of the transition team until after Jan. 1, but insisted that the Department of Defense is continuing to cooperate with the transition.
In a statement, Miller said the Pentagon has at no time “canceled or declined any interview,” stressing that he is committed to the transition and noted the number of interviews and documents disclosed so far.
“The Department of Defense will continue to provide all required support to the Agency Review Team (ART) to keep our nation and her citizens safe,” Miller said, noting that the Pentagon has already supported 139 interview sessions with more than 200 DoD personnel and disclosed thousands of pages of documents. “Again, I remain committed to a full and transparent transition — this is what our nation expects and the DoD will deliver AS IT ALWAYS HAS.”
Meetings planned for Friday were postponed due to “rapidly changing priorities here,” said a defense official, citing the FDA’s approval of a second coronavirus vaccine, a possible government shutdown, and a massive hack of U.S. government agencies.
The official said six meetings are scheduled for next week. The “pause” is a slowdown, not a halt, this official said.
The meetings will go back into full swing after the holidays, Miller said in the statement, noting that the Pentagon continues to support the transition with reading materials, reporting requirements, and other activities.
But Abraham said the agency review teams were informed Thursday that the meetings were being canceled and blasted the Pentagon for “recalcitrance.”
“There have been many agencies and departments that have facilitated the exchange of info and meetings over the past few weeks,” Abraham said. “There have been pockets of recalcitrance and DoD is one of them.”
Biden spokesperson Jen Psaki added that while the career officials at DoD have been “cooperative and helpful,” the team has had “isolated” issues with Trump political appointees.
Miller is scheduled to meet with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office Friday afternoon, according to the White House.
Meetings between DoD officials and the transition team got off to a late start on Nov. 24, due to a delay in approval by the General Services Administration, which must greenlight cooperation. The approval came 16 days after Biden was declared the winner of the presidential election.
This marks the second time in less than three weeks that the Pentagon has addressed reports that defense officials have blocked requests from the Biden team to meet with department leaders.
Meetings with the defense intelligence agencies were delayed this month after members of the Biden team improperly reached out directly to the agencies instead of the DoD transition team, and was told that they instead needed to submit requests to the Pentagon, defense officials said at the time.
Members of the Proud Boys kick a member of Antifa on the ground during a protest Saturday in Washington, D.C.
A Black policewoman was injured and at least four people stabbed when a day of demonstrations in support of President Donald Trump’s election delusions ended in violence Saturday night in Washington D.C. Many have linked the violence to the white nationalist group the Proud Boys who Trump told to “stand back and stand by” during the presidential debate Sept. 29, 2020. Apparently, no longer standing by, they are shown in multiple videos attacking counter protesters, burning a Black Lives Matter banner, and generally ignoring police orders with much-delayed punishment from authorities. In a video the New York Post obtained, white men in “America Strong” hats and wearing painted gold laurel wreaths associated with the Proud Boys attacked a man in all black, telling him to leave and shoving him when he tried.
“Get out! Get the f— outta here!” they shouted outside of Harry’s Bar, a gathering spot for the Proud Boys The Washington Post reported. When shoved, the man took out a knife to protect himself and tried to run away, the New York Post reported. “Get his ass!” someone in the crowd shouted. Police response as the targetted man vanished into the crowd was: “Stop guys stop — please stop.”
“Today I saw proud boys attack legal observers, call people cockroaches, and mace and assault random people. They can call themselves whatever they want, but they’re the new KKK. They’re domestic terrorists,” Black Lives Matter protester Joshua Potash tweeted early Sunday. He also compared police reaction to the violence with their response to Black Lives Matter protesters and journalists in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Floyd, a Black man, was killed when a white Minneapolis cop kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes on May 25. At least eight people were partially blinded the same day police went on a rampage targeting protesters on May 30. “I’ve been at BLM marches all summer and fall where people are attacked and arrested by cops just for standing in the street. Tonight in DC dozens of Proud Boys maced and attacked people and cops didn’t do shit,” Potash said in another tweet.
Victims of the violence endured potentially life-threatening injuries D.C. fire spokesman Doug Buchanan told The Washington Post. D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham told protesters: “We’re doing the best we can.” He told the Post officers were deployed throughout downtown to keep Trump supporters and counter protesters separated, but portions of the crowd seemed “intent on conflict.” By 9 p.m., 23 people were arrested and one person had an unauthorized Taser, police said. In total, two police officers were hospitalized with moderate injuries and six others suffered injuries of unknown severity, the Post reported.
Bree Newsome Bass, a grassroots organizer, asked in one tweet: “Is there a point at which all the people saying “I never thought this could happen” start listening to the people who’ve been saying for years that this was going to happen?” Author Wajahat Ali tweeted: “I can’t even imagine hundreds of armed Muslims burning flags, beating up people, stabbing people in the streets of the nation’s capital without dozens of folks being shot and killed by the police. Meanwhile it’s Springtime for Proud Boys and White Supremacy right now.”
Journalist David Leavitt tweeted:
“The proud boys are domestic terrorists
The proud boys are domestic terrorists
The proud boys are domestic terrorists
The proud boys are domestic terrorists
The proud boys are domestic terrorists
The proud boys are domestic terrorists
The proud boys are domestic terrorists”
DeSantis “sent the Gestapo”: Video shows FDLE agents with guns drawn at home of woman fired over COVID-19 data.
State police brandishing firearms Monday raided the Tallahassee home of Rebekah Jones, the former Department of Health data scientist who built the state’s much-praised COVID-19 dashboard before being fired over what she said was refusing to “manipulate data.”
“They pointed a gun in my face. They pointed guns at my kids,” Jones tweeted shortly before 5 p.m.
Jones — who launched her own COVID-19 dashboard after she was fired, and used crowdsourcing to raise money to support it — said the agents knocked on her door around 8:30 a.m. that morning, took all her “hardware and tech” after showing her a warrant based on a complaint filed by the Florida Department of Health.
A video accompanying the post shows Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents in vests at the front door with guns drawn, asking who else was in the house. She said her husband and two children were inside as they escorted her out of the house.
The video shows an agent entering the house with his gun drawn, calling for her husband to come down the stairs. When an agent told her to calm down, Jones said, “He just pointed a gun at my children!”
FDLE spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger sent a statement confirming the seizure of computer equipment at Jones’s Tallahassee home and said agents are investigating.
“FDLE began an investigation November 10, 2020, after receiving a complaint from the Department of Health (DOH) regarding unauthorized access to a Department of Health messaging system which is part of an emergency alert system, to be used for emergencies only,” Plessinger said.
Plessinger said when agents arrived, they knocked and waited 20 minutes for Jones to answer the door.
“Ms. Jones refused to come to the door for 20 minutes and hung up on agents. After several attempts and verbal notifications that law enforcement officers were there to serve a legal search warrant, Ms. Jones eventually came to the door and allowed agents to enter,” Plessinger said. “Ms. Jones’ family was upstairs when agents made entry into the home.”
The investigation is active, she added.
“As in all cases, our role is to determine the facts of what happened and a State Attorney determines whether or not charges are filed.”
Jones was fired for insubordination in May after being reprimanded several times, state officials said. Her paperwork doesn’t state a cause for her being fired, but she claims she was terminated for refusing to manipulate health data to cast Florida in a more favorable light.
She tweeted: “They took my phone and the computer I use every day to post the case numbers in Florida, and school cases for the entire country. They took evidence of corruption at the state level. They claimed it was about a security breach. This was DeSantis. He sent the Gestapo.”
There will be no update today.
At 8:30 am this morning, state police came into my house and took all my hardware and tech.
They were serving a warrant on my computer after DOH filed a complaint.
They pointed a gun in my face. They pointed guns at my kids..
They took my phone and the computer I use every day to post the case numbers in Florida, and school cases for the entire country.
They took evidence of corruption at the state level.
They claimed it was about a security breach.
This was DeSantis.
He sent the gestapo.
This is what happens to scientists who do their job honestly.
This is what happens to people who speak truth to power.
I tell them my husband and my two children are upstairs… and THEN one of them draws his gun.
On my children.
This is Desantis' Florida.
If Desantis thought pointing a gun in my face was a good way to get me to shut up, he's about to learn just how wrong he was.
I'll have a new computer tomorrow.
And then I'm going to get back to work.
If you want to help, my website is still at
A lot of people asked me how they can help.
1. A job not in Florida
2. Spread the word
The DOH said recently that someone hacked the emergency communications channel. Jones told a reporter that she is not a hacker: “I don’t know how to do that stuff.”
The FDLE affidavit for the search warrant said a special agent spoke to a DOH official with the Preparedness and Response office about a suspected breach of the custom-made communications system for emergency management.
An unidentified subject gained access to the system and sent out a group text saying: “It’s time to speak up before another 17,000 people are dead. You know this is wrong. You don’t have to be a part of this. Be a hero. Speak out before it’s too late.”
The text message was sent from the ESF-8 mail account to 1,750 recipients before the software vendor could stop the message from being transmitted further, the affidavit said.
The ESF-8 account is the state’s emergency support function for public health and medical services and is used by many people from several agencies, including DOH and Emergency Management.
“Once they are no longer associated with ESF-8 they are no longer authorized to access the multi-user group,” the FDLE affidavit said. All authorized users use the same user name and password.
The FDLE investigator claims he determined through his “investigative resources” that an Internet Protocol, or IP, address associated with Jones’s Comcast account was the source of the ESF-8 text message. IP addresses identify individual devices connected to the internet.
Jones told a reporter for the USA Today Network-Florida that her sources at DOH told her an email had gone out across the department from the ESF-8 email account around the time that five of eight team leaders had been fired.
Jones told the reporter that a series of firings and resignations in DOH, including recently departed public information officer Alberto Moscoso’s departure, were “a purge.”
“It’s like a massacre. And those aren’t the only people that have been fired or left,” she said.
Jones also said she has backups of the data and files that power her websites that were stored on the seized hardware.
“This is what happens to scientists who do their job honestly,” Jones tweeted. “This is what happens to people who speak truth to power.”
Florida Today reporter Alessandro Sassoon and Palm Beach Post data reporter Chris Persaud contributed to this report. Contact Jeff Schweers at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @jeffschweers.
The US has become a fascist police state. Everyone knew the state numbers were wrong. Everyone knew the state numbers were altered to make the statements by DeSantis claiming there was no real problem to having no Covid restrictions, that the state was doing well with the Covid virus. It was all false, and it was being undercut by the real data and news. This woman created the first data web site and knew the real numbers, and kept a civilian web site updated. That DeSantis couldn’t allow as it showed how altered and wrong the state numbers are.
They came in the door with guns drawn! These brave defenders of the law were all ready to shoot kids and a husband of a scientist. The crime they are accused of was not violent, it was telling the truth about Covid deaths. Think about that, no violent crime and they enter with guns drawn to point guns at kids. What the fuck country is this? Republicans have become totally authoritarian with no regard to the rights people have. Hugs