Earlier this year, the Washington Post reported on the contents of a damning December phone call Trump made to Georgia’s lead elections investigator, telling her that if she found evidence of fraudulent votes, she would become a “national hero.”
Now there’s audio of the conversation, if you’re the sort of person who would enjoy listening to Trump make an ass out of himself. During the six-minute phone call, the recording of which was obtained by the Wall Street Journal, Trump repeatedly insists that he technically won the state of Georgia—it’s just that “something bad happened” to prevent him from actually winning it.
He goes on to tell Frances Watson, the chief investigator of the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, that his loss “never made sense and, you know, they dropped ballots. They dropped all these ballots. Stacey Abrams, really, really terrible.”
Trump also urges Watson to look into the ballots from Fulton County, a county with a high percentage of Black voters where Trump says there’s a “motherlode” of fraudulent votes. “When the right answer comes out, you’ll be praised,” he reassures her.
“Well, Mr. President—right, yeah,” Watson says, cutting him off at one point. “I appreciate your comments and I can assure you that our team and the [Georgia Bureau of Investigation], that we are only interested in the truth and finding the information that is based on the facts.”
This is one of at least two dubious conversations Trump and his associates made to Georgia officials during the state’s election recount. The month before Trump’s call to Watson, Senator Lindsey Graham called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, allegedly asking him to toss out all of the mail-in ballots cast in counties with higher rates of nonmatching signatures. Raffensperger told the Washington Post about the conversation not long after, telling the outlet that he viewed the call as a request to void legally-cast ballots. “It sure looked like he was wanting to go down that road,” Raffensperger said.
Both calls will undoubtedly be under consideration when a grand jury convenes later this month as part of a Fulton County district attorney’s criminal investigation into efforts to influence the 2020 election in Georgia. In February, the district attorney, Fani Willis, ordered some top state officials to preserve any potential evidence related to the probe.
Trump’s last-ditch efforts to sway the election were desperate at the time, but hindsight makes them seem even more pathetic. Of course, the results of the Georgia recount did not alter the outcome of the presidential election. It barely altered Biden’s and Trump’s vote counts. The “something bad” that happened to Trump in Georgia’s 2020 election wasn’t widespread voter fraud; it was that he lost.
Unluckily for him, artifacts like the audio from his Watson call make it all the more embarrassing—as well as potentially criminal.