In an extraordinary phone call with the Georgian Foreign Secretary, President Donald Trump put forward a dizzying series of fuzzy accounts and completely false claims to reverse his electoral defeat and fabricated a number of votes that he said were in his favor should be counted.
In Saturday’s hour-long conversation with Georgian Foreign Secretary Brad Raffensperger, Trump suggested that Republicans “find” enough votes to hand Trump the victory.
The Associated Press received the full audio of Trump’s conversation with Georgian officials from a person on the phone. The AP’s policy is not to reinforce disinformation and unsubstantiated allegations. The AP publishes the full audio while commenting on a transcript of fact-checking material.
A look at Trump’s claims about the call and how they compare to reality:
TRUMP: “If we can go through some of the numbers, it’s pretty clear that we won, we won very strongly in Georgia.”
THE FACTS: No, Trump lost Georgia in an election that the state approved for Democrat Joe Biden. Republican election officials have confirmed that the election was conducted and counted fairly.
With ballots counted three times, including one by hand, the Georgia-certified totals show that Trump lost 11,779 votes out of nearly 5 million votes cast to Biden. Raffensperger confirmed the total with officials who said they had found no evidence that Trump won.
No credible claims of fraud or system failure have been maintained. The judges have denied legal challenges to the results, although at least one is still pending in a state court.
TRUMP: “People should be happy to have an accurate count … We have other states that I believe will be joining us shortly.”
THE FACTS: In Georgia or other countries, no reversal of the election results is in sight.
Biden defeated Trump nationwide with around 7 million votes and in the electoral college with 306 to 232 votes, gaining victory in other key states such as Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Arizona.
Trump’s former Attorney General William Barr found no evidence of widespread election fraud. Trump’s allegations of massive electoral fraud have been denied by a number of judges and dismissed by election officials and an arm of his own administration’s Homeland Security Department.
A group of Senate Republicans, led by Sens. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, plan to object to the election results when Congress meets on Wednesday to count Biden’s electoral college victory over Trump.
The objections will force votes in both the House and Senate, but are not expected to prevail.
TRUMP: “The other thing, dead. So dead were true. And I think the number is – almost 5,000 people. And they went to obituaries. They went to all possible methods to get an exact number. And a minimum is around 5,000 voters. “
THE FACTS: Not true. Georgia officials debunked previous Trump campaign allegations in November that three specific people voted illegally and found that others voted with similar names. At the time, a local district attorney announced an investigation into whether a ballot had been illegally cast on behalf of a man from northwest Georgia who died in 2015.
On Saturday, Raffensperger said two illegal voices on behalf of the dead had been confirmed, not thousands as Trump claimed. “The actual number was two. Two. Two dead who voted. And that’s wrong, ”said Raffensperger.
TRUMP: “We mysteriously threw between 250 (thousand) and 300,000 ballots, much of which had to do with Fulton County that was not verified.”
THE FACTS: There is nothing mysterious or suspicious. It describes a legitimate process of vote counting, not a sudden increase in wrongdoing.
Trump appears to be referring to a large number of votes tabulated in the early hours of Wednesday morning after election day and later. The arrival of these votes was not a mystery, but was expected because many of Georgia’s 159 counties had large stacks of postal ballot papers that had to be tabulated after the polls were completed and personal ballots were counted.
In fact, in the days leading up to the election, news organizations and officials had warned that the results were likely to come about as they did: personal votes, which tended to be counted faster, would likely favor the president, who had spent months spending his supporters warned to avoid mail-in votes and to vote in person either early or on election day.
And postal ballots that take longer to count because they have to be removed from envelopes and checked before counting would prefer Biden. States tend to count mail-in ballots at the end of the process.
TRUMP: “We think … if (there is) a real signature check in Fulton County, you will find at least a few hundred thousand forged signatures.”
THE FACTS: In reality there is no basis.
It would not be possible for anyone to forge hundreds of thousands of signatures on postal ballot papers in Fulton County, as Georgia’s most populous county had only about 147,000 postal ballots, of which about 116,000 went to Biden.
TRUMP claimed that thousands of voters moved out of Georgia, registered in another state and then voted incorrectly in Georgia: “They came back and voted. That was a large number. “
THE FACTS: Not like that. Trump supporters are working on a list of questionable accuracy, according to Ryan Germany, the general counsel of Raffensperger’s office. He told Trump on the call that the allegations have been investigated and that in many cases, voters “withdrew years ago. It’s not like it happened right before the election. There is something about this data that is just not correct. “
TRUMP: “It doesn’t pass the smell test because we hear them tearing up thousands and thousands of ballots and now they say,” Oh, we’re just cleaning up the office. ”
THE FACT: The extermination in question took place in the suburb of Cobb County, not Fulton County as Trump claimed. Cobb County’s election officials said Nov. 24th that none of the items shredded by a contractor were “relevant to election or rerun” and instead were items like old shipping labels, other papers with voter information, old emails and duplicates of absenteeism Motions for voting.
TRUMP alleged a Fulton County polling officer put ballots through a machine three times instead of just once and said his campaign was posting a video that proves it: “It cannot be denied. We have a version that you haven’t seen, but it’s enlarged. It’s enlarged and you can see everything. For some reason they put it in three times per ballot. And I don’t know why, I don’t know why three times and not five times, do I? “
THE FACTS: There was no double or triple counting of ballots. Raffensperger noted that the Georgia ballots were counted and then re-counted twice, including once by hand, for accuracy, and that there was no discrepancy in the Fulton County ballot, as would have been the case if someone wrongly voted multiple times would have counted. “We checked that,” Raffensperger told Trump. “It has been conclusively proven that they weren’t scanned three times.”
TRUMP is attacking a legal agreement signed by Georgia with the Democratic Party, which deals with how signatures on requests for postal and postal votes are verified. “You can’t check signatures, you can’t do that … you get to reap in this agreement, I think. This agreement is a disaster for this country. “
THE FACTS: There is nothing in the approval decree of March 6 that prevents Georgian election officials from checking signatures. The legal agreement deals with allegations of a lack of national standards for assessing signatures on postal ballot envelopes. Raffensperger said that it is not only possible to match signatures, but that the state demands it.
Ballot picking, the practice of collecting a number of postal ballot papers and returning them to election officials, remains illegal in Georgia.
TRUMP refers to investigations into its unfounded allegations of election fraud: “You have your never-trumper US attorney there.”
THE FACTS: The US attorney in Atlanta is actually a Trump agent. Byung J. “BJay” Pak is a longtime Republican who also served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 2011-2017. He was named a U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia by Trump in 2017. Upon announcing his nomination, the White House said that Pak and five other candidates for the US attorney post “share the president’s vision of making America safe again.” Pak had also previously served as US assistant attorney.
TRUMP quoted 18,000 “suspicious” voices: “The tape that was shown all over the world … they made it very clear that there was a major water pipe break. Everyone fled the area and then they came back … there were no Republican election monitors … and there were no law enforcement agencies … It was full of votes. They were not in an official voter box, but in suitcases or suitcases. … The minimum number could be … 18,000 ballots, all for Biden. “
THE FACTS: This is a gross distortion of what actually happened.
State and Fulton Counties electoral officials say the surveillance video Trump mentioned does not show inappropriate behavior, but rather normal voting that uses voting bins on wheels rather than suitcases. Officials said the entire video showed that the same workers had previously packed the ballot boxes with valid, uncounted ballot papers.
Republicans have claimed that their observers were told to leave the Fulton County’s polling center, but election officials said they actually walked after the confusion created by poll workers thinking they were ready for the night.
An independent observer and an investigator monitored the number of votes, according to government and district officials. Trump also refers to a false confession attributed by a woman who allegedly was involved in the incident, which was posted on social media.
TRUMP: “In other countries, in our opinion, we have seen enormous corruption in Dominion machines, but we have to see.”
THE FACTS: No “massive corruption” was found.
There is “no evidence that a voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was compromised in any way,” the federal agency that oversees election security said in a statement endorsed by state and electoral industry officials.
Associate press writers Eric Tucker and Mark Sherman contributed to this report.
Editor’s Note – A look at the veracity of claims made by political figures.
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