Almost a year after Americans voted in the 2020 presidential election, Donald Trump is still pressuring the state of Georgia to decertify its election results, a move one commentator compared to “a setup for insanity defence” in court.
On Friday, Mr Trump sent a vague letter to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger claiming 43,000 absentee ballots should be tossed out “or whatever the correct legal remedy is,” because of alleged violations of obscure rules regarding the timing of when the ballots changed hand from drop boxes to county officials.
“I would respectfully request that your department check this and, if true, along with many other claims of voter and voter irregularities, start the process of decertifying the Election, or whatever the correct legal remedy is, and announce the true winner,” Mr Trump wrote. “People do not understand why you and Governor Brian Kemp adamantly refuse to acknowledge the now proven facts, and fight so hard that the election truth not be told.”
President Donald J. Trump’s letter to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger pic.twitter.com/RrFWVWsLT0
— Liz Harrington (@realLizUSA) September 17, 2021
There are no indications any of these ballots were changed, and the accusation likely came from the Georgia Star News, which The Washington Post described as being part of “a group of sites established to mimic local news coverage but largely promoting stories friendly to the right.”
Mr Trump is currently facing a criminal probe in the state for his efforts to tamper with election results, and investigators have been interviewing state officials, preserving documents, and potentially communicating with Congress as they present their evidence to a grand jury to decide on potential charges.
Political commentators were incredulous that Mr Trump, facing such potential legal action, months after the legal deadline to challenge election results had passed, and with virtually all of his and his supporters’ election lawsuits failed, the ex-president would so openly be trying to change results.
“He is continuing to ask for the election to be decertified, trying to interfere with the election. Is this a setup for insanity defence?” CNN political analyst Job Avlon said on Monday. “He is no longer president of the United States, he is not shielded — not that he ever thinks about whether he is making his lawyer’s case more difficult, but he is making it doubly difficult.”
“I think it increases why there needs to be legal accountability. It’s clear he doesn’t care. He does not believe he will ever be held accountable and, until someone shows him he’s wrong, he will continue,” Avlon added.
The Independent has reached out to Mr Trump for comment.
Georgia’s election results were recounted three times, under the guidance of explicitly pro-Trump Republican officials, and no genuine irregularities or fraud were found that would’ve compromised the vote tallies.
The most clear attempts to improperly sway the contest came from Mr Trump, who was recorded on a call with Mr Raffensperger, the Georgia Secretary of State, telling him to “find” the more than 11,000 votes he needed to beat Joe Biden. The ex-president also called another election official and asked her to find fraud, promising, “When the right answer comes out, you’ll be praised.”
The continued challenges to the Georgia results may be a way to fire up Donald Trump’s political base, New York Times reporter and CNN analyst Maggie Haberman suggested on the panel with Avlon.
“I spoke to some of his folks over the weekend and the response is this is really, really about boosting his base and he’s targeting [Georgia Secretary of State Brad] Raffensperger — he wants the election to be undone,” she said. “It is not the same as when he was in office and pressuring the secretary of state to do that. Still it’s jarring. There are people who believe it, his followers are not going to understand that he might not believe it.”
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