Isn’t This, Um, Illegal?

If you haven’t gone to WaPo to hear highlights of yesterday’s unhinged call from Trump to Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state, here it is. Trump tries to bully Raffensperger into changing the election result. You can hear the entire call at WaPo, and there’s also a transcript.

Here’s just a sample of Trump talking:

Now the problem is they need more time for the big numbers. But they’re very substantial numbers. But I think you’re going to fine that they — by the way, a little information, I think you’re going to find that they are shredding ballots because they have to get rid of the ballots because the ballots are unsigned. The ballots are corrupt, and they’re brand new and they don’t have a seal and there’s the whole thing with the ballots. But the ballots are corrupt.

And you are going to find that they are — which is totally illegal, it is more illegal for you than it is for them because, you know what they did and you’re not reporting it. That’s a criminal, that’s a criminal offense. And you can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you and to Ryan, your lawyer. And that’s a big risk.

But they are shredding ballots, in my opinion, based on what I’ve heard. And they are removing machinery and they’re moving it as fast as they can, both of which are criminal finds. And you can’t let it happen and you are letting it happen. You know, I mean, I’m notifying you that you’re letting it happen. So look. 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.

And flipping the state is a great testament to our country because, you know, this is — it’s a testament that they can admit to a mistake or whatever you want to call it. If it was a mistake, I don’t know. A lot of people think it wasn’t a mistake. It was much more criminal than that. But it’s a big problem in Georgia and it’s not a problem that’s going away. I mean, you know, it’s not a problem.

Trump and some people with Trump did nearly all of the talking. Occasionally Raffensperger and his office’s general counsel got a word in edgewise, like “that’s not true” or “your data is wrong.”

Anyway — yes, there may be criminal activity going on. This is from Politico:

President Donald Trump’s effort to pressure Georgia officials to “find” enough votes to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory could run afoul of federal and state criminal statutes, according to legal experts and lawmakers, who expressed alarm at Trump’s effort to subvert democracy with less than three week left in his term. …

… Legal experts say the combination of Trump’s request to “find” a specific number of votes — just enough to put him ahead of Biden — and his veiled reference to criminal liability for Raffensperger and his aides could violate federal and state statutes aimed at guarding against the solicitation of election fraud. The potential violations of state law are particularly notable, given that they would fall outside the reach of a potential pardon by Trump or his successor. On Capitol Hill, some Republicans expressed alarm about the call, while Democrats indicated that they viewed it as a potential criminal offense.

Just keep digging, Donald. Oh, and Trump’s sub-brilliant trade adviser Peter Navarro was on Fox News babbling that the inauguration could be postponed while the election is further investigated.

Other stuff to read:

Dan Lamothe, Washington Post, The time to question election results has passed, all living former defense secretaries say

WaPo, All 10 living former defense secretaries: Involving the military in election disputes would cross into dangerous territory

Ashish K. Jha, WaPo, Vaccination is going slowly because nobody is in charge

New York Times Editorial Board, The Wreckage Betsy DeVos Leaves Behind