Trump Call Deserves Criminal Investigation, Virginia Congressman Says


Trump walks across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Saturday, May 30, 2020, after stepping off Marine One as he returns from Kennedy Space Center for the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch. Hours earlier the Secret Service fled him to the White House bunker as protests for George Floyd's murder raged. Image via AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

By Brian Carlton

January 4, 2021

Donald McEachin calls for immediate action after Saturday’s call between Trump and Georgia Sec. of State Raffensperger

WASHINGTON D.C.- Congressman Donald McEachin wants President Donald Trump investigated. But this wouldn’t be another impeachment hearing. On Sunday, McEachin called for a criminal investigation into the president’s recent actions. 

“President Trump has already made clear that he does not respect the will of the American people, but his desperate attempts to overturn our country’s free and fair elections grow more concerning by the day,” McEachin said in a statement to media. 

The congressman referred to audio released Sunday by the Washington Post. The paper obtained audio of a Jan. 2 call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffesberger, during which the president pressured Raffensperger to “find 11,780 votes” that would give him the lead over President-elect Joe Biden. Georgia, however, has already certified its results from the November election. 

McEachin pointed to the fact Trump told Raffensperger he should just change the results. 

“There’s nothing wrong with saying that, you know, that you’ve recalculated,” Trump told Raffensperger on the call. 

Trump said Raffensperger could do it by just going after election fraud. 

“You know, that’s a criminal – that’s a criminal offense,” Trump said on the call. “And you know, you can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you and to Ryan, your lawyer. That’s a big risk.”

Despite repeated claims by Trump and others of fraud, every investigation into Georgia’s election found the opposite. At the end of December, investigators who audited more than 15,000 absentee ballot envelopes found “no fraudulent absentee ballots,” the report said. You can read that report and see the data sets used right here

RELATED: Virginia Leads the Way : Electors Reflect as They Cast Votes For Biden

A Call to Investigate Trump

In his statement, McEachin pointed out Georgia officials repeatedly disproved Trump’s claims. That includes multiple recounts, state certifications and the final rejection, the Electoral College vote. With Saturday’s call, McEachin said Trump’s gone beyond complaining about an election result. 

“The lengths the President has traveled in his assault on American democracy to retain power are irrefutable and criminal,” McEachin said. “By pressuring Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffesberger to arbitrarily change certified vote totals in an attempt to overturn his loss, Trump has again proven himself to be an unparalleled threat to our democracy, and his behavior demands a criminal investigation to protect the sanctity of our nation’s electoral process. There is no time to waste. We must act now.”

Now to be clear, that part is complicated. In 1973, the U.S. Justice Department released a memo saying a sitting president can’t be indicted. That includes immunity from all criminal prosecution. The policy was reaffirmed in 2000, when the department issued another memo stating prosecuting a sitting president would violate the constitutional separation of powers. But those memos are only binding on Justice Department employees. 

No Evidence of Widespread Fraud

These post-election fraud claims go against research from President Trump’s own administration. On Dec. 1, U.S. Attorney General William Barr said the Justice Department had not uncovered evidence of widespread voter fraud that would change the election’s outcome.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Barr said U.S. attorneys and FBI agents have been working to follow up specific complaints and information they’ve received, but they’ve uncovered no evidence that would change the outcome of the election.

“To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election,” Barr told the AP.Last month, Barr issued a directive to U.S. attorneys across the country. The order allowed them to pursue any “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities, if they existed, before the 2020 presidential election was certified. That memorandum gave prosecutors the ability to go around Justice Department policy that prohibits such actions.

Brian Carlton is Dogwood’s managing editor. You can reach him at [email protected].

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