Trump pressured Georgia’s secretary of state to ‘find’ votes – US politics live

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Trump pressured Georgia’s secretary of state to ‘find’ votes – US politics live” was written by Oliver Holmes, for theguardian.com on Monday 4th January 2021 13.59 UTC

Here is US Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris at a rally on Sunday accusing Trump of a ‘bold abuse of power’ following the president’s call to Georgia’s secretary of state.

 

Donald Trump is reportedly set to bestow the presidential medal of freedom, the highest US civilian honour, on Devin Nunes and Jim Jordan, Republican allies in Congress who supported him in the Russia investigation, his impeachment and other Washington controversies.

Citing “someone familiar with the plans”, the Washington Post reported that Trump, who will leave office on 20 January, had settled on giving the medal to Nunes, a former chair of the House intelligence committee. Other outlets confirmed the report.

Nunes was a loyal ally during special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and links between Trump and Moscow.

He rejected intelligence community findings, promoted conspiracy theories and, in March 2017, made what his Democratic counterpart Adam Schiff called an “extraordinary and peculiar midnight run” to the White House to view specially provided intelligence material.

The Post said Jordan was also likely to be honoured, although plans were not as advanced as in Nunes’ case. Jordan is a former wrestling coach who has been accused of ignoring sexual abuse of athletes by a team doctor at Ohio State, a charge he denies.

He emerged as a key “attack dog” for Trump, employing what one observer called a “style of brash, offensive conduct” during impeachment proceedings.

In 2016, Brad Raffensperger supported Trump. And in 2018, Trump repaid the favour by endorsing Raffensperger’s run to become the secretary of state for Georgia.

But Trump’s sour loss to Joe Biden broke the relationship, with the US president labelling his party member an “enemy of the people”.

A bit more background on Raffensperger here:

Kamala Harris, the Vice-President-elect, is in Georgia to help the campaign.

All eyes are on Georgia, and not just because of the Trump phone call affair.

On 5 January (tomorrow!) the state will vote on two critical Senate races that were too close to call in November.

While only two of the 100-seat Senate are up for grabs, that exactly the number Democrats need to control it and push through their agenda.

More from my colleague, Naaman Zhou:

Here is an opinion piece by New York attorney and former Department of Justice official, Lloyd Green, on the Republicans seeking to overturn the election result.

My colleague and live blog pro, Helen Sullivan, has rounded up the six key points from the leaked Trump phone call. If you’re pressed for time or prefer listicles, have a read:

Trump and Raffensperger followed up on their tense call with a good old Twitter bust-up.

The Washington Post obtained the recording of a conversation on Saturday between Trump and Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state.

Here are some of the key quotes from Trump that are leading to the accusations of election interference and intimidation:

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

There’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, um, that you’ve recalculated.

Raffensperger, who is a Republican, is clearly uncomfortable but stands his ground.

In a reply, he says:

Well, Mr President, the challenge that you have is the data you have is wrong.

Excerpts from the call between Donald Trump and Georgia’s secretary of state– video

Good Morning

Where to start with this one?

Probably with the bombshell revelation that Donald Trump pressured Georgia’s secretary of state to overturn Joe Biden’s victory, leading to accusations the president broke election law by intimidating and coercing a state official.

Then there’s the fact that the spiralling death toll from the coronavirus pandemic has passed 350,000 in the US, a figure the president falsely asserts is “far exaggerated”.

Meanwhile, all of the 10 former US defence secretaries who are still living, including two who worked for Donald Trump, have warned the outgoing president may attempt to foment a crisis with the aim of triggering a military intervention in a last-ditch struggle to hold on power.

The sun has not yet risen on the US east coast. It’s going to be a long day.

Welcome to a fresh US live blog.

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