Ever since President Donald Trump first assumed office four years ago, Democrats have called for investigations into him and his administration.
With only a few more weeks left of Trump’s term, Democrats are calling for another investigation, this time into a telephone conversation the president had with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, the Washington Examiner reported.
Reps. Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Kathleen Rice (D-KY) led the charge on Monday, asking in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray that a criminal investigation be opened into the call.
“As members of Congress and former prosecutors, we believe Donald Trump engaged in solicitation of, or conspiracy to commit, a number of election crimes,” the representatives wrote. “We ask you to open an immediate criminal investigation into the president.”
At issue were remarks that Trump made to Raffensperger about “finding” Republican ballots in Georgia.
According to a transcript published by The Washington Post, Trump at one point said, “Now, do you think it’s possible that they shredded ballots in Fulton County? Because that’s what the rumor is.”
“And also that Dominion took out machines,” he continued. “That Dominion is really moving fast to get rid of their machinery. Do you know anything about that? Because that’s illegal, right?”
Doesn’t “pass the smell test”
When Raffensperger and General Counsel for the Secretary of State Ryan Germany insisted that neither scenario had happened, Trump continued to probe.
“It doesn’t pass the smell test because we hear they’re shredding thousands and thousands of ballots, and now what they’re saying, ‘Oh, we’re just cleaning up the office.’ You know,” Trump said.
The president then inquired if it would be possible to “find 11,780 votes,” which would be a sufficient number to give him victory in the state over former Vice President Joe Biden.
Washington Examiner reporter Katherine Doyle noted that “legal observers are split on whether Trump’s call offers sufficient basis for a federal investigation.”
“This comes down to a question of intent, and an argument can be made that Trump’s statement was based on his belief that such uncounted votes already exist,” said legal scholar Jonathan Turley. “I do not fault those who read that line in a more incriminating light. At best, it was a deeply troubling and reckless statement from the president.”