WASHINGTON — Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said Monday that he has never thought it was appropriate to speak to President Donald Trump about the 2020 election results and that the conversations Trump has had with him and other elections officials could pose a conflict of interest that warrants investigating.
When asked on ABC’s “Good Morning America” whether he had spoken to Trump before a phone call he and the president had on Saturday, Raffensperger said, “I never believed it was appropriate to speak to the president.”
Ultimately, the call happened after White House staff pushed for it, Raffensperger said, adding that he “preferred not to talk to someone when we’re in litigation,” a reference to Trump’s lawsuit against Georgia over the election results.
“We took the call, and we had a conversation. He did most of the talking, we did most of the listening,” Raffensperger said. “But I did want to make my points that the data that he has is just plain wrong.”
“For the last two months, we’ve been fighting the rumor whack-a-mole,” Raffensperger added. “And it was pretty obvious very early on that we debunked every one of those theories that have been out there, but that President Trump continues to believe them.”
Raffensperger received the call Saturday afternoon after the White House switchboard had made 18 attempts to have him speak with Trump over the two months since the general election, according to a Georgia Republican familiar with the call.
Officials in Raffensperger’s office recorded the call, and he made clear to his advisers that he did not want a transcript or an audio recording released unless Trump attacked Georgia officials or misrepresented the conversation, according to the Georgia Republican. Before the audio leaked, Trump attacked Raffensperger on Twitter, saying that they had a call and that the secretary of state was “unwilling, or unable” to answer his questions, to which Raffensperger responded, “The truth will come out.”
Respectfully, President Trump: What you're saying is not true. The truth will come out https://t.co/ViYjTSeRcC
— GA Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (@GaSecofState) January 3, 2021
Asked Monday if he felt any pressure when Trump told him to find the votes to overturn Biden’s victory in Georgia, Raffensperger told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, “No, I, we have to follow the process, follow the law. Everything we’ve done for the last 12 months follows the constitution of the state of Georgia, follows the United States Constitution, follows state law.”
In response to the phone call, whose audio surfaced Sunday, David Worley, a Democratic member of Georgia’s state election board, which Raffensperger chairs, asked him to open an investigation.
Asked if he would do so, Raffenperger said: “I believe that because I had a conversation with the president, also he had a conversation with our chief investigator after we did the signature match audit of Cobb County last week, there may be a conflict of interest, I understand, that the Fulton County district attorney wants to look at. Maybe that’s the appropriate venue for it to go,” Raffensperger said.
Two House Democrats have sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray requesting an investigation into Trump over the call.
As for whether he would vote for Trump again, Raffensperger said he has always supported Republicans and “probably always will,” but that Trump isn’t on the 2024 ballot, “so we’ll just have to wait and see what would happen.”