- Democratic lawmakers are calling for President Trump to be impeached after he asked Georgia’s secretary of state to ‘find’ extra votes to declare him the election winner in the state.
- A leaked hour-long recording of the call was published by the Washington Post on Sunday.
- Neal Katyal, who was an acting solicitor general under President Obama, said he believed Trump’s actions on the phone call were “really, truly an impeachable offense.”
- Vice President-elect Kamala Harris said Trump’s behaviour was “a bald-faced, bold abuse of power by the president.”
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Democratic lawmakers are calling for President Trump to be impeached after a recording showed him pleading with Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger to “find” thousands of extra votes and overturn Joe Biden’s election victory there.
Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar, two prominent members of the Democratic Party’s progressive flank, were among those in Congress who said that President Trump’s comments appeared to be impeachable.
Omar tweeted: “This is clearly an impeachable offense and I believe there is nothing under the law giving Trump immunity from criminal process and indictment for this conduct.”
Per Axios, Ocasio-Cortez told reporters on Sunday: “I absolutely think it’s an impeachable offense, and if it was up to me, there would be articles on the floor quite quickly.”
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris told a rally on Sunday that Trump’s comments were a “bald-faced, bold abuse of power by the President of the United States,” according to a CNN report.
The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington on Sunday backed calls for Trump to be impeached.
“While the logistics of holding impeachment proceedings in the final two weeks of a presidency are admittedly hard to pull off, if this isn’t impeachable conduct, then literally nothing is,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in a statement.
During the call, President Trump can be heard sharing unsubstantiated theories about election fraud and telling Raffensperger: “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.”
President-elect Joe Biden won the vote in Georgia by nearly 13,000 votes, winning a total of 306 electoral college votes to defeat Trump, who won 232.
Raffensperger can be heard in the phone call telling Trump that his claims that he won Georgia are based on inaccurate data. “Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is, the data you have is wrong,” he said at one point in the call.
Trump has already been impeached once by the House of Representatives in 2019, when he was subsequently acquitted by the Senate, and no president has ever been impeached twice.
Neal Katyal, a former acting solicitor general under President Obama, added to growing calls for Trump’s second impeachment on Sunday, saying he believed Trump’s actions on the phone call were “really, truly an impeachable offense.”
“So one question is whether or not a high crime and misdemeanor was committed,” Katyal told MSNBC on Sunday. “Certainly the tape makes it sound like it has.”
He said that Trump also appeared to have committed breached a criminal law that prohibits federal officials from interfering in a state election process, and called for the Department for Justice to launch an investigation.
—MSNBC (@MSNBC) January 3, 2021
Other Democrats have also criticised Trump’s behaviour. Rep. Adam Schiff, one of the lead investigators in the first impeachment inquiry against President Trump, said of the recording: “Trump’s contempt for democracy is laid bare. Once again. On tape. Pressuring an election official to “find” the votes so he can win is potentially criminal, And another flagrant abuse of power by a corrupt man who would be a despot, if we allowed him. We will not.”
Rep. Don Beyer tweeted: “Trump is on tape threatening elected officials like a cheap gangster – trying to get them to commit massive, criminal election fraud – and Republicans in Congress want to keep him in power by overturning the vote of the American people. They are absolutely complicit here.”