Sunday, January 03, 2021


This certainly seems felonious:
President Trump urged fellow Republican Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state, to “find” enough votes to overturn his defeat in an extraordinary one-hour phone call Saturday that election experts said raised legal questions.

The Washington Post obtained a recording of the conversation in which Trump alternately berated Raffensperger, tried to flatter him, begged him to act and threatened him with vague criminal consequences if the secretary of state refused to pursue his false claims, at one point warning that Raffensperger was taking “a big risk.”

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.
I've been listening to the tape. Trump tries to intimidate Raffensperger just the way you'd expect from a prize pupil of Roy Cohn. But he's also just another old white crackpot who consumes massive amounts of right-wing "news," and who believes every absurd story that confirms his prior assumptions. He doesn't say Raffensperger should "find" votes that aren't there. He seems genuinely convinced that he won a massive victory in the state -- "I think I probably did win [Georgia] by half a million," he says at one point, which would be a ten-point blowout and a margin more than twice the size of his 2016 margin in the state. He bombards Raffensperger with an endless recitation of every allegation made by every fly-by-night Trumper in America. Raffensperger, when he manages to get a word in edgewise, calmly asserts that the allegations have been investigated and shown to be meritless. But Trump -- the poster child for the Dunning-Kruger effect -- believes that what he knows about the election in Georgia from watching Fox News and One America News Network is more than what Raffensperger, who runs elections in the state, knows.

Trump needs to believe all the fraud allegers; his psyche would be shattered if he had to accept defeat like a normal person. But for that reason, I'm not sure he's guilty of the crimes some people say he committed in this call:
Georgia state law includes two provisions that criminalize “solicitation of election fraud” and “conspiracy to commit election fraud.” Trump’s detractors also pointed to a federal statute that criminalizes “the procurement, casting, or tabulation of ballots that are known by the person to be materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent.”

Anthony Michael Kreis, a Georgia State University law professor, said: “The Georgia code says that anybody who solicits, requests or commands or otherwise attempts to encourage somebody to commit election fraud is guilty of solicitation of election fraud. ‘Soliciting or requesting’ is the key language. The president asked, in no uncertain terms, the secretary of state to invent votes, to create votes that were not there. Not only did he ask for that in terms of just overturning the specific margin that Joe Biden won by, but then said we needed one additional vote to secure victory in Georgia.”
But he talks as if he thinks the votes actually were there.
Ballots were dropped in massive numbers. And we’re trying to get to those numbers and we will have them....

The other thing, dead people. So dead people voted, and I think the number is close to 5,000 people. And they went to obituaries. They went to all sorts of methods to come up with an accurate number, and a minimum is close to about 5,000 voters.

The bottom line is, when you add it all up and then you start adding, you know, 300,000 fake ballots. Then the other thing they said is in Fulton County and other areas. And this may or may not be true ... this just came up this morning, that they are burning their ballots, that they are shredding, shredding ballots and removing equipment. They’re changing the equipment on the Dominion machines and, you know, that’s not legal.

And they supposedly shredded I think they said 300 pounds of, 3,000 pounds of ballots. And that just came to us as a report today. And it is a very sad situation.

... And those are numbers that are there, that exist. And that beat the margin of loss, they beat it, I mean, by a lot....

I mean there’s turmoil in Georgia and other places. You’re not the only one, I mean, we have other states that I believe will be flipping to us very shortly. And this is something that — you know, as an example, I think it in Detroit, I think there’s a section, a good section of your state actually, which we’re not sure so we’re not going to report it yet. But in Detroit, we had, I think it was, 139 percent of the people voted. That’s not too good.

In Pennsylvania, they had well over 200,000 more votes than they had people voting. And that doesn’t play too well, and the legislature there is, which is Republican, is extremely activist and angry. I mean, there were other things also that were almost as bad as that. But they had as an example, in Michigan, a tremendous number of dead people that voted. I think it was, I think, Mark, it was 18,000. Some unbelievably high number, much higher than yours, you were in the 4-5,000 category.
He believes this. He believes this the way your right-wing uncle believes this.

He says he wants Raffensperger to find one more vote than Biden's victory margin -- but he also says he thinks he won by a massive number of votes. So he's strong-arming him to change what is now the official vote total, but he doesn't believe the official vote total.

Or maybe he simply doesn't believe there's any such thing as objective truth -- whatever you can establish as reality is reality. But at least on some level, I don't think he's lying. He believes crazy things. He's the ideal right-wing media audience member, except he's also the most powerful man in the country.

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