Revealed: Recording of Trump call urging Georgia elections investigator to overturn results ‘was found in the TRASH folder of her device’
- Trump called Georgia elections investigator Francis Watson on Dec 23, 2020
- During the call he asked her to look into ‘dropped ballots’, saying he won election
- The official said her agency was ‘only interested in the truth’, but praised Trump
- Legal experts say call, and another made by Trump, could amount to obstruction
- At the time Watson was leading an audit of mail ballot signatures in Cobb County
- It came just days before infamous call to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, whom he asked to ‘find’ 11,780 votes that would make him the winner
The recording of a call in which former president Donald Trump urged a Georgia election investigator to overturn the state’s 2020 result was found in a trash folder on her device, it has been reported.
Before its discovery, state officials originally said they they did not think an audio file of the call between Trump and election investigator Frances Watson existed.
The call to Watson, that legal experts have said could amount to obstruction, came as she was leading an audit of mail ballot signatures in Atlanta suburb Cobb County.
First reported in January by the Washington Post and released late last week by The Wall Street Journal, the call added to the examples of Trump’s efforts to influence Georgia election officials as they certified results, and to push false claims of widespread voter fraud during the 2020 election.
According to an anonymous state official with knowledge of the situation, the Post said the audio file of the December 23 call was found as Georgia Secretary of State’s Office responded to a public records request.
In the call, Trump asked Watson to look into ‘dropped ballots’ and say he was the rightful winner of the November 3 vote in her state – telling her she would be ‘praised’ when the ‘right answer comes out.’
It came just days before his infamous call to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, whom he asked to ‘find’ 11,780 votes that would make him the winner.
The former president lost the state by over 11,000 votes, an outcome that was confirmed by audits and Georgia’s Republican election officials.
The recording of a call in which former president Donald Trump (pictured playing golf in Sunday) urged Georgia election investigator Frances Watson to overturn the state’s 2020 result was found in a trash folder on her device, it has been reported
In February, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis wrote to Georgia state officials, including the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office, asking them to preserve any documents relevant to election interference.
Willis is currently conducting an investigation into Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia, something the secretary of state’s office is also separately investigating.
The call came the day after White House chief of staff Mark Meadows visited Cobb County, Georgia to ask questions about the state’s on-going audit of signatures.
While in the county, Meadows met with Watson and got her phone number. Trump called her the following day.
The elections investigator told an investigative reporter from WSB-TV that she had recorded the call from the then-president for posterity, saying: ‘It’s not every day, that probably will never happen again in my lifetime.’
It is currently unclear why Watson moved the audio file into her trash folder, but Watson told the station that she was surprised Trump called her, saying that she did not believe he was pressuring her during the phone call.
‘It is something that is not expected, as I mentioned in the call you know I was shocked that he would take the time to do that,’ Watson said.
Pictured: Election personnel sort ballots in preparation for an audit at the Gwinnett County Board of Voter Registrations and Elections offices on November 7, 2020 (file photo)
The conversation was filled with cryptic comments where Trump claims ‘something bad happened’ while the state was in the midst of its recount and examination efforts that would ultimately result in Joe Biden being certified as the winner.
In the newly revealed audio tape, obtained by the Wall Street Journal, Trump appears to be trying to court the state’s top elections investigator, Watson – both flattering her and alluding to claims of fraud.
It was a move Raffensperger would later call inappropriate.
‘That was an ongoing investigation,’ he told the Washington Post on January 9. ‘I don’t believe that an elected official should be involved in that process.’
On the call, Trump made repeated claims that he ‘won’ the state – and mentioned other southern states that he did, in fact, carry.
He called vote-rich Fulton County – in which Atlanta sits – the ‘mother lode.’
‘I won everything but Georgia. And I won Georgia, I know that,’ he told Watson.
He complements Watson at the start of the call, and she reveals that Meadows had met her the day before.
‘Something happened. Something bad happened,’ he said of the election – echoing claims by his election lawyers, as well as ‘Kraken’ lawsuits claiming massive fraud in the state, which ultimately came to nothing.
Multiple recounts determined that Biden won the state. Two Democrats were subsequently elected to the Senate from Georgia in runoff elections on January 5.
Trump told Watson that Meadows ‘thinks you’ve been great.’ He continued: ‘And you know, this country is counting on it because it’s very interesting.
‘So I won Florida in a record number, Ohio in a record, Texas in a record, Alabama by 40 – 40 points. And I won everything but Georgia.
‘I won Georgia, I know that, by a lot, and the people know it.’
Pictured: Officials with the Fulton County Registration and Elections Department conduct a machine recount of the county’s presidential election ballots at the the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, November 30, 2020
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger called Trump’s call to the investigator inappropriate
The Watson call came days before Trump rang Raffensperger and asked him to ‘find’ votes
‘Something happened. Something bad happened,’ he said.
He did not offer an explanation, but alluded to his own repeated public comments of widespread voter fraud.
‘I hope you’re going back two years,’ he told the investigator, urging more than a ‘signature check’ that verifies a signed ballot matches the signature on files with state election officials.
‘You’re going to find things that are going to be unbelievable. The dishonesty, That we’ve heard from – just good sources. Really good sources,’ Trump said, without naming them.
‘Fulton is the mother lode, you know as the expression goes, Fulton County.’
The appeal appeared to catch Watson off guard, and she told him she was ‘shocked’ that he called. ‘I appreciate your comment,’ she told him, but made no promises.
‘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.’
Watson told the president: ‘I know that you’re a very, very busy, very important man. And I’m very honored that you called. Quite, quite frankly, I’m shocked that you, that you would take time to do that. But I am very appreciative.’
Trump told the investigator she had ‘the most important job in the country right now,’ adding Georgia residents were ‘so angry’ and claimed he won by ‘hundreds of thousands of votes.’
‘They dropped ballots. They dropped all these ballots,’ he said. ‘When the right answer comes out, you’ll be praised.’
He also told her at the end of the call: ‘Whatever you can do, Frances, it’s a great thing,’ before referencing January 6 – the date Congress met to count the certified votes and thousands of Trump’s MAGA rioters stormed the steps of the Capitol.
The riot in the Capitol resulted in five deaths.
‘We have that date of the 6th, which is a very important date,’ Trump told her.
Published at Mon, 15 Mar 2021 11:22:43 +0000-
Recording of Trump call to Georgia elections investigator ‘found in Trash of her device’