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(File photo) Pool/ABACA/PA

Donald Trump recorded pressuring official to ‘find’ votes to overturn election result in Georgia

The conversation is the latest step by Trump to reverse the outcome of the US election.

US PRESIDENT DONALD Trump has come under fire after a recording emerged in which he is heard asking Georgia’s election chief to overturn Joe Biden’s win in the state.

The recording, first reported by the Washington Post, shows Trump suggesting in a telephone call that the official “find” enough votes to hand him the victory in the state.

The conversation was the latest step by Trump to pressure a state official to reverse the outcome of a free and fair election that he lost in November last year.

The renewed intervention and the persistent and unfounded claims of fraud come nearly two weeks before Trump leaves office and ahead of two crucial runoffs in Georgia tomorrow that will determine which party controls the US Senate.

Trump confirmed in a tweet Sunday that he had spoken to Georgia’s secretary of state, Republican Brad Raffensperger, who tweeted that claims the president had made during the call were untrue.

“All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” Trump said on the call. “Because we won the state.”

Georgia counted its votes three times before certifying Biden’s win by a margin of 11,779, and Raffensperger responded: “President Trump, we’ve had several lawsuits, and we’ve had to respond in court to the lawsuits and the contentions.”

He added: “We don’t agree that you have won.”

Audio snippets of the conversation were posted online by The Washington Post. A recording of the call was later obtained by The Associated Press from a person who was on the call.

The president used the hour-long conversation to tick through a list of claims about the election in Georgia, including that hundreds of thousands of ballots mysteriously appeared in Fulton County, which includes Atlanta.

However, officials have said there is no evidence of that happening.

The Georgia officials on the call are heard repeatedly pushing back against the president’s assertions, telling him that he’s relying on debunked theories and, in one case, selectively edited video.

At another point in the conversation, Trump appeared to threaten Raffensperger and Ryan Germany, the secretary of state’s legal counsel, by suggesting both could be criminally liable if they failed to find that thousands of ballots in Fulton County had been illegally destroyed. There is no evidence to support this claim.

“That’s a criminal offense,” Trump says. “And you can’t let that happen.”

‘Disgraceful story’

Democrats and some Republicans condemned Trump’s actions, while at least one Democrat urged a criminal investigation.

One of Biden’s advisors, Bob Bauer, called the recording “irrefutable proof” that Trump was pressuring and threatening an official in his own party to rescind the state’s lawful vote “and fabricate another in its place”.

“It captures the whole, disgraceful story about Donald Trump’s assault on American democracy,” he said.

Trump has repeatedly attacked the way Raffensperger ran Georgia’s elections, claiming without evidence that the state’s 16 electoral votes were wrongly given to Biden.

“He has no clue!” Trump tweeted of Raffensperger, saying the state official “was unwilling, or unable” to answer questions about a series of claims about ballot handling and voters that have been debunked or shot down by judges and election authorities.

Raffensperger responded on Twitter: “Respectfully, President Trump: What you’re saying is not true. The truth will come out.”

There was no widespread fraud in the election, which a range of election officials across the country, as well as Mr Trump’s former attorney general, William Barr, have confirmed.

Republican governors in Arizona and Georgia, key battleground states crucial to Biden’s victory, have also vouched for the integrity of the elections in their states.

Nearly all the legal challenges from Trump and his allies have been dismissed by judges, including two thrown out by the Supreme Court, which includes three Trump-nominated justices.

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