An angry President Trump urged Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to overturn the state's election result, according to a recording of a call obtained by Georgia Public Broadcasting.



We're going to begin with news of an extraordinary phone call in which President Trump pressured Georgia's top election official to overturn the state's presidential results. Audio of yesterday's hour-long call was first reported by The Washington Post and obtained by Georgia Public Broadcasting. At some points cajoling, at others threatening, the president pushes Georgia secretary of state and fellow Republican Brad Raffensperger to undo his narrow defeat, and fast, before the Senate runoffs in the state this week.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: You would be respected if - really respected if this thing could be straightened out before the election. You have a big election coming up on Tuesday.

MARTIN: Joining us now is reporter Stephen Fowler from Georgia Public Broadcasting.

Stephen, thank you so much for joining us.

STEPHEN FOWLER, BYLINE: Thanks for having me.

MARTIN: And I just have to say, the president of the United States seems to be blatantly asking an official to break the law. In fact, here's part of what he said.


TRUMP: Well, all I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more that we have.

MARTIN: What was Secretary Raffensperger's response to this?

FOWLER: So Brad Raffensperger is a Republican secretary of state and one of the few Republicans that has stood up to the president in public saying there was no evidence of fraud. And throughout this call, the times that Raffensperger was able to speak - because the president dominated it - he pushed back on these claims, noting that many allegations were false and that law enforcement and judges and courts and elections officials that all looked into these allegations and found that there was no there there.

And the general counsel for the secretary of state's office also repeatedly reinforced to the president that Georgia's elections were secure. And, in fact, they were counted three different times, once by hand - 5 million votes counted - and two other times by machines to find that Joe Biden did narrowly win the state.

MARTIN: Well, you know, in other parts of the call, as you just said, President Trump made baseless claims of absentee ballot fraud. He falsely claimed that he won Georgia's election by hundreds of thousands of votes and, you know, more statements that have not been confirmed in any way. But remind us why Georgia officials are so convinced that November's election was, in fact, secure.

FOWLER: So this is the first year that Georgia has a new election system that has a paper ballot trail. People who vote absentee by mail submit a paper ballot. Those that show up in person use a touch-screen machine that prints out a paper ballot.

So when they did an audit, a hand audit, they physically touched and counted 5 million votes. And so if somebody double-scanned ballots, it would show up. If ballots were added in somewhere, it would have shown up. And the state says none of that was true. And so, you know, you can count on literally 5 million votes being accurate.

MARTIN: And, of course, all of this comes ahead of Tuesday's two U.S. Senate runoffs in Georgia. The president alluded to that. We're going to talk about that more later in this program. But President Trump is headlining a big rally there tomorrow night. Is there any sense of what these revelations could mean for that race?

FOWLER: Well, President Trump, if the Republicans do lose, he's got an idea of who to blame.


TRUMP: You know, the people of Georgia know that this was a scam. And because of what you've done to the president, a lot of people aren't going out to vote. And a lot of Republicans are going to vote negative because they hate what you did to the president.

MARTIN: That is Georgia Public Broadcasting's Stephen Fowler.

Stephen, thank you.

FOWLER: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.