Monday Morning Thoughts: Lines Are Crossed – Trump Urges State Official to ‘Find’ Votes

By David M. Greenwald

It has taken two months after the election for us to finally have irrefutable evidence of election fraud.  Ironically, it was at the hands of the President himself, as on Sunday a recorded phone conversation with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, revealed the President attempting to pressure and perhaps threaten the public official with a “criminal offense.”

“I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” he said on the recording first obtained by the Washington Post.

“You know what they did and you’re not reporting it,” the President said during the call. “You know, that’s a criminal—that’s a criminal offense. 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.”

Biden Senior Advisor Bob Bauer said on Sunday, “We now have irrefutable proof of a president pressuring and threatening an official of his own party to get him to rescind a state’s lawful, certified vote count and fabricate another in its place.”

The revelation comes at the beginning of a very consequential week.  On Tuesday, voters will cast their votes—and huge numbers already have—in the Georgia Senate contests that will determine control of the Senate.

On Wednesday, the final results should be certified during a congressional session, which will receive challenges from Republicans in both the Senate and House.

While the efforts to overturn the election results will not succeed, the battle is now tearing the Republican party apart.  At least 11 Republican Senators and as many as 140 House Republicans are expected to challenge and oppose certification of the presidential election results in what is normally a pro forma proceeding that will be heavily watched on Wednesday.

While some of the normally outspoken Republicans have opposed it, the opposition runs deeper and cuts across normally conservative lines.

Former Speaker and former Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, warned against lawmakers attempting to overturn the votes.

“Under our system, voters determine the president, and this self-governance cannot sustain itself if the whims of Congress replace the will of the people,” he warned.

He said efforts to reject the vote of the Electoral College and sow doubt about Biden’s victory would “strike at the foundation of our republic.

“It is difficult to conceive of a more anti-democratic and anti-conservative act than a federal intervention to overturn the results of state-certified elections and disenfranchise millions of Americans,” he said.

Liz Cheney, daughter of the former Vice President and third ranking Republican in the House, is also opposing the challenge, urging Trump to respect “the sanctity of our electoral process.”

She warned in a memo on Sunday against attempts to set up a special commission to audit the election results.

“By objecting to electoral slates, members are unavoidably asserting that Congress has the authority to overturn elections and overrule state and federal courts,” the memo stated. “Such objections set an exceptionally dangerous precedent, threatening to steal states’ explicit constitutional responsibility for choosing the president and bestowing it instead on Congress.”

The Hill quoted an anonymous GOP Senator.

“The president thinks the idea of getting a lump in your throat about the orderly transition of power is quaint and he’s trampling on that,” the Senator said.

He quipped, “They’re making us look like Afghanistan.”

Even some strong Trump supporters like Lindsey Graham are speaking out, calling it a “political dodge” that had “zero chance of becoming reality.

“Proposing a commission at this late date—which has zero chance of becoming reality—is not effectively fighting for President Trump.  It appears to be more of a political dodge than an effective remedy,” he said.

Conservative leader Tom Cotton of Arkansas, also a strong ally of the President, warned that the effort could “establish unwise precedents.

“The Founders entrusted our elections chiefly to the states—not Congress. They entrusted the election of our president to the people, acting through the Electoral College—not Congress. And they entrusted the adjudication of election disputes to the courts—not Congress,” he said in a statement released Sunday evening.

“Under the Constitution and federal law, Congress’s power is limited to counting electoral votes submitted by the state,” he said.

Cotton warned that if Congress threw out the electoral votes of states such as Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where President Trump has alleged without evidence widespread election fraud, it would “take away the power to choose the president from the people.”

Will there be political consequences to this?  It was interesting listening to Carl Bernstein who believes that the recording of Trump attempting to sway and threaten the Georgia Secretary of State represents worse conduct than Nixon during Watergate.  But, unlike the 1970s, Republicans for the most part have allowed Trump to get away with egregious conduct.

Looking at future fallout, the results on Tuesday might be a tell.  There are few states that were competitive in Presidential Elections and more and more Senate races reflect national politics than local politics.

That has been one reason Republicans have been reluctant to speak out—many live in areas where their voters are convinced that the election was stolen from Trump.  However, Senate control will come down to Georgia this time, and could come down to voters in swing states where there are Republican Senators but where Biden won.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. Dave Hart

    The recording sounds like Tony Soprano telling one of his boys what he wants done over the phone and speaking in code because he assumes the line is tapped.

        1. Keith Olsen

          Listen to the tape, in my opinion Trump has a lot of wiggle room for what he stated.  He has already said that there was vote fraud in Georgia, so he’s telling them to find the the fraudulent votes, he only needs 11,779.


          1. David Greenwald

            52 USC 20511 puts the law at “konwingly and wilffully, deprives, defrauds or ATTEMPT to deprive or defraud the residents of a state of a fair and impartially conducted election process…”

            The question then is whether he was “knowingly and willfully” pressuring Raffensperger to count nonexistent votes when he him, “I just want to find 11,780 votes.”

            In other words: Does Trump actually believe that 11,780 ballots in his favor were cast but not counted?

            Given that they have already had two recounts, an audit, and several court cases, I think it’s hard to credibly claim that Trump was simply pushing for an “honest tally” at this point.

            I suppose you can argue the deluded defense, but I think that’s a tall order.

            As one person put it… “Either the president was engaged in the commission of a felony or he has lost his hold on reality such that he can no longer distinguish fact from the fictions he has been fed.”

        2. Keith Olsen

          Trump can just say he was referring to 11,799 more fraudulent votes that need to be exposed.  Like I said, imo he has nothing to worry about.  Either way, he’s out of office in 2 weeks.  It’s time for the FBI to expose the Hunter Biden corruption.

        3. Keith Olsen

          He mentioned the vote fraud in Georgia and that he felt he had won’t the election so it’s not a stretch for him to say that’s what he was referring to.  I read where one pundit said that Trump maybe didn’t break the letter of the law but he almost certainly broke the spirit of the law.

          1. David Greenwald

            Here is what I see:

            “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.”

            Then he repeats this theme over and over…

            “Look, we need only 11,000 votes. We have are far more than that as it stands now. ”

            He didn’t say you need to throw out 11,000 votes that are fraudulent, he said, “we need only 11,000”

            “I have to find 12,000 votes, and I have them times a lot. And therefore, I won the state. ”

            “So what are we going to do here, folks? I only need 11,000 votes. Fellas, I need 11,000 votes. Give me a break. You know, we have that in spades already.”

            “No, we do have a way, but I don’t want to get into it. We found a way . . . excuse me, but we don’t need it because we’re only down 11,000 votes, so we don’t even need it. I personally think they’re corrupt as hell. But we don’t need that. All we have to do, Cleta, is find 11,000-plus votes.”

        4. Alan Miller

          I guess you haven’t realized yet Trump goes “blah, blah, blah, blah” and says all sorts of stuff, much of which makes no sense.  Pretty hard to indite him on anything he says when it’s all blah, blah, blah, blah.

          “No more blah, blah, blah!” – Captain Kirk (episode: Miri)

        5. Hiram Jackson

          Sen. Susan Collins, Maine, 6 February 2020: “I believe that the President has learned from this case…. I believe that he will be much more conscious in the future.”

      1. Bill Marshall

        Actully was probably intended to be covert, that got exposed… by Republicans… the leak was from somebody who was a party (pun unintended) to the phone conversation… Republicans all, by all accounts thus far…

        As to the idea of “crime”… doesn’t matter, legally… Trump might be able to pardon himself (any federal crime), or resign a couple of hours early, and have Pence do it (although I hope he has more backbone than that!)… in any event, the Biden administration will have other ‘fish to fry’, and probably just let the one fish flop around, out of water, and dry out in the sun of history…

        As a student of history, and a NPP, I hope no one ‘saves’ the current POTUS, nor allow him to be a martyr… Dante had it right… he deserves his own private hell, realizing “you’re fired!”… he is, was, an incompetent “apprentice”… great irony, in my view… but like Al Capone, he may well be tripped up by his finances/taxes… federally, or by the states…

        The saving ‘grace’ is that most of his ‘wounds’ were ‘self inflicted’…

        Wonder if Melania will advise him “he’s fired”…


        1. Richard McCann

          Keith O

          Why do you keep going back to the Hunter Biden case when the case against the Trump family members is so much more evident and clear? That Ivanka got her product licenses from China by negotiating on trade terms and that Jared got real estate deals in the Gulf thanks to negotiating on the Israeli situation is so obvious. Why are you holding the Dems to a double standard? When you actually admit the endemic corruption across the Trump family administration then you’ll have some smidgen of credibility. Until then your claims are as valid at the claims of election fraud.

    1. Alan Miller

      DG explained that a few months ago when I noted this.  I don’t have the patience to find that, but basically it was the DV is now four blogs in one.  I think it was something like: national, local, student and justice.  I don’t understand that completely, but apparently it’s OK to talk national in the national blog, but not wander to national issues too far in the local blog.  They all look the same to me, so I guess it’s by content or author.   But feel free to correct me.

      1. Tia Will


        From my perspective, it is more an issue of staying on topic ( with an expanded array of topics) for any given article than it is tight compartmentalization of topics into categories.

        For example, with COVID, we are seeing perhaps the first overlap between previously seemingly disparate topics, public health, local policy, state policy, national lack of policy, and international affairs that I have seen during my 10 years with the Vanguard.

  2. Alan Miller

    We are witnessing here the death of  T.D.S.  I say this honestly:  I hoped and believed that Mr. T would serve as a way for both lefties and righties to take a good, hard look at themselves and their psychoses.  Instead, lefties entrenched with T.D.S. and righties entrenched with T.W.S., and everyone just got more psychotic and divided, and it was all topped off by heapin’ helpin’ of Covid-19.  I no longer believe the culture of America is some ideal to shoot for.  America has grown sick mentally.  Reaction to a crisis is test of a people.  America has failed.  Australia has succeeded.  Move there then, you a-hole one might say, defending their participation in the psychoses; yes, please say that.  Mr. T will be gone soon as Prez and with it, T.D.S.  But the problem wasn’t Mr. T, it was the reaction to Mr. T, and the worship of Mr. T.  Until our sick culture heals itself around this (ha, ha – maybe I’m a dreamer but I’m not the only one – oh, yeah, I am the only one) we are doomed.  Scratch that – let me simplify that to:  we are doomed 😐

      1. Eric Gelber

        What a heartless thing to say. Ask the families and friends of the now 352,000 Americans who have died of COVID-19 whether a phony syndrome concocted by Trump supporters to insult political opponents is worse.

        1. Keith Olsen

          Alan, I might be a genius:

          A 2017 study by Austrian neurologistspublished inCognitive Processing found that people who appreciate dark jokes, which they define as “humor that treats sinister subjects like death, disease, deformity, handicap, or warfare with bitter amusement,” may actually have higher IQs than those who don’t. What’s more, they’re less negative and aggressive than people who strictly prefer G-rated family-friendly jokes. Why? Because if you can see the humor in even the bleakest parts of life, and you can laugh at truly dark jokes, you’re less likely to take the world too seriously.


        2. Eric Gelber

          Yes. I’m sure you and Alan are far more intelligent than anyone else on this forum who doesn’t see things your way. I’d carry on with this side discussion but, to borrow a bit of humor (from Twain? Churchill?), I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent.

        3. Richard McCann


          I see no humor in Keith’s statement. If this what he thinks is humor, it only illustrates why so the humor of hyperindividualist reactionaries seems to be rooted in cruelty towards those who are the least well off in our society.

        4. Alan Miller

          hyperindividualist reactionaries


          I’ve been called a lot of things in my life but I must say that’s a new one.

          I guess it’s not a pejorative or the mods would have pulled it.  So the mods are considering it a compliment 😐 ???

        5. Keith Olsen

          hyperindividualist reactionariesI guess it’s not a pejorative or the mods would have pulled it.  So the mods are considering it a compliment  ???

          I don’t know Alan.  The word has a lot of letters and sounds very scholarly.  So I’ll take it as a compliment.

    1. Bill Marshall

      Covid is not the topic… a concern, a reality, yes… but there is not one scintilla of talk-talk that will be helpful in dealing with it by assigning “blame”… it is what it is… we need to focus on actions we can take, or continue to take, in the here and now… the past is just that… we need to focus on “now”, and “future”… but Covid issues are ‘off-topic’…


        1. Bill Marshall

          No… from my ‘scriptures’… I may be a voice calling out in the wilderness… nothing more… am not fit to tie the sandals/shoes of a real moderator…

      1. Tia Will


        From my perspective, it is more an issue of staying on topic ( with an expanded array of topics) for any given article than it is tight compartmentalization of topics into categories.

        For example, with COVID, we are seeing perhaps the first overlap between previously seemingly disparate topics, public health, local policy, state policy, national lack of policy, and international affairs that I have seen during my 10 years with the Vanguard.

        1. Bill Marshall

          Noted… but disagree…

          Except as to

           local policy, state policy, national lack of policy,

          There we agree, but POTUS (except in his own deranged mind) cannot be held to any of those… Congress, both Demos, Reps, Ind.  could have passed legislation to force national policy… they did not… Gavin Newsom and a big majority of the state legislature chose their own, for better or worse… local policy, have little problem with… they have been limited in their discretion to impose further measures/policy than allowed by State or Feds…  reality…

      2. Tia Will


        In medicine, what you call “assigning blame” we call root cause analysis. Within this model, participants in the adverse event are expected to recount honestly what they did, and why they did it. Often no individual will be found to be a “villain”. Mistakes often are made, but they are made on the basis of systems in place that can be improved. It is just as wrong to deny errors were made in designing future processes as it is to ignore the need for improving future processes. Unfortunately, we have had in a position of great power, and individual and supporters who are unwilling to admit any error. Thus the need for what you call “finger-pointing” to arrive at an accurate assessment of events.

        1. Bill Marshall

          Perhaps… am familiar with root cause analysis… have used it…

          I still maintain this is drifting off-topic as to the article…

          If you insist on “root cause”, we have to look at those who elected the electeds… Pogo:  “we have met the enemy, and it is us.” Not any one individual… the article is focused on an individual, who hasn’t realized yet (or cannot accept) the concept of “You’re fired!”… irony is sweet at times…

        2. Alan Miller

          Mistakes often are made, but they are made on the basis of systems in place that can be improved.

          Though in the case of Covid-19 government policy and citizen cooperation, you can’t fix stupid.

  3. Bill Marshall

    History may repeat itself… Sherman decimated Georgia… Mr T may well do the same as to Georgia senate run off races… he has attacked the Republican Governor, the Republican Secretary of State (in charge of elections)… we’ll see in the next week or two… and results will probably be challenged (close race, and POTUS allegations of election fraud)… in the meantime, there are no credible Senators from Georgia… their terms have ended… they cannot be sworn in…

  4. Tia Will


    Congress, both Demos, Reps, Ind.  could have passed legislation to force national policy”

    I am genuinely curious. What bill or set of bills do you see that could have been enacted in time to force a nationally coordinated response to this rapidly spreading disease? And without timely national action, which would have been preferable in your mind, a state response with the limited resources available, or essentially no response at all as some states chose?

    1. Richard McCann

      Bill M

      The issue is whether Congress could have passed a veto-proof package. That Trump as GOP leader controls a significant portion of the Congressional GOP (as we now see in the Electoral College challenge) means that he is solely responsible for the delay in action–Congress could not have acted quickly without his ascent. In 2008, Bush agreed to the $800B TPP package which is why it passed so quickly.

      1. Ron Glick

        The Congressional challenge to the Electoral College is the final kiss of Trump’s ring (or posterior) by ambitious Republicans willing to sell their souls in the pursuit of inheriting the ring of power. Their willingness to engage in this kabuki theatre of the absurd is nothing more than Republican virtue signaling in the age of Trump.

        As for Trump he seems delusional, like you know who, in the bunker during the final days, as the remaining sychophantic courtesans can’t bring themselves to tell him that its over and that the bill is coming due for all those deals with the devil and Putin. Trump is waking up every night in a cold sweat from nightmares wherein Satan’s hounds are running him down in the Southern District of New York and General James’ nearby office . Those dreams are frightening enough to make him keep trying to re-climb the greasy pole of pols yet no matter how hard he tries to climb back up the slickness of being coated with the humors of 350,000 covid victims prevents him gaining ground as he continues sliding all the way down into the hellish abyss that awaits him after January 20.

    2. Bill Marshall

      They could have passed a joint resolution re:  Covid response… the House could have passed an expenditure bill to fund State, local responses…

      Richard McC raises a good point… would the Senate have passed it (joint resolution and/or funding)?  Republicans feel they have to back Trump, and his base… that might be changing… Trump vetoed the Defense Deparatment apprpriation bill… House and Senate over-rode… no courage in being a non-David, in face of a Goliath… in the past, was known as “just following my orders”… cowards, in the face of the denier-in-chief…

      We may be witnessing the death knell of the Republican party… they succeeded the “Know Nothing Party”, and “Whigs”… Republicans are now in the position, as the first Repulbian president quoted from Scripture, “A house (or Senate/party) divided, cannot stand… ”  [Mark 3:25]  They are torn by the traditional, conservative, Republicans, and the uber-‘it’s all about me’ fake conservatives… like the “proud boys” the neo nazis, etc.

      But Democrats should learn from this… the have the same opportunity to self-destruct in the near future (2-10 years)…

      Covid is a distraction from the topic… dysfunction as to responding to it and many other issues, is slightly on-topic…

      Uber-left, uber-right are doomed… the ‘middle’ will prevail, unless we become an ‘autocracy’, and  I just don’t see that as a “happening thing”… ifit does gonna’ buy me some guns… I have none now…


      1. Eric Gelber

        They could have passed a joint resolution re:  Covid response… the House could have passed an expenditure bill to fund State, local responses.

        Fifty plus independent implementation responses would have been chaotic. The genius of the Constitution drafters was their establishment of three federal branches, one being an administrative branch with the responsibility for implementing centralized policies enacted and funded by the legislative branch. That requires leadership. The administration had all the authority it needed to devise a coordinated response, that could have been funded by Congress. What was lacking was administrative competence and leadership at the top.

        1. Keith Olsen

          It didn’t matter what Trump or his administration had tried to institute with half the country hating him and fighting his every move.  It was all about Resistance!

        2. Chris Griffith

          What was lacking was administrative competence and leadership at the top.

          considering Biden can’t figure out which end of the spoon to stick into the baby food jar the above should read

          What is lacking is administrative competence and leadership at the top.

        3. Eric Gelber

          … should read What is lacking is administrative competence and leadership at the top.

          So, you agree with me. (Trump is still president.) Thanks for the clarification.

  5. Chris Griffith

    I found it great news article it kind of sums up this whole election cycle and 2020 in general.
    U.S.—Across the country, there is general consensus that 2020 has been the “worst year ever.” According to studies, 82% of Americans agree that 2020 has been a terrible year of unprecedented suffering and misery. Experts confirmed that 2020 was indeed the worst year, provided you have never lived in virtually any other time period in all of human history.
    “We noticed that most of the respondents who called 2020 the worst year also enjoyed delicious food being delivered to them for 8 months while they sat on their couches with the air conditioning on and binge-watched shows the whole time,” said one researcher.
    “While we understand it hasn’t been easy, we also found very few instances of Viking raids, Black Plague, famine, world war, using rotary telephones, needing to look things up in a physical dictionary, slavery, people being burned at the stake, walking miles to school, living in caves, sleeping on the ground, ice ages, Nazi holocausts, civil war, infant mortality, global floods, ethnic cleansing, using leaves as toilet paper, using leeches as medicine, using wooden mallets as an anesthetic, fighting wild saber-tooth tigers, cannibalism, occupation by the Persian Empire… what was I talking about again? Oh yeah– most people in 2020 never experienced any of those things, so comparatively speaking it’s been a pretty decent year!”
    “Worst. Year. Ever.” Tweeted one local man who has been making more money than most Zambians make in a lifetime — all from the comfort of his computer.
    “Can 2020 be over yet??” Tweeted a New York fashion executive whose preferred candidate just won the presidential election.
    “I just can’t anymore. Ugh!” exclaimed another after Uber got his dinner order wrong.
    The only exception was one oddball who walked out of his front door and took a deep breath of the morning air. “Thank you, God, for this amazing air!” he said. The oddball has been detained for further scientific study to figure out what the heck is wrong with him.

    1. Matt Williams

      Chris, you are correct that there is a recency bias at work.  2020 doesn’t come close to being the worst year ever. 1918 was the final year of World War I and the year of 675,000 deaths in the United States due to the Spanish Flu.

  6. Alan Miller

    he article is focused on an individual, who hasn’t realized yet (or cannot accept) the concept of “You’re fired!”… irony is sweet at times…

    I think it would be fun if on January 20th, a “million person march” descended on the White House and met the moving vans, yelled (1-2-3) “You’re Fired!” in unison, and went home.

  7. Chris Griffith

    I got two predictions my first prediction is Donald Trump is going to buy CNN news.😁

    My second prediction is Tucker Carlson is going to run for president. 😊

  8. Dave Hart

    What all the smart people here have missed is that the Republican Governor and Secretary of State in Georgia eliminated almost 200,000 votes in Georgia through voter roll purges in 2019 in preparation for the 2020 election focusing mostly, surprise, in zip codes heavily populated by Black residents.  No way to know how all those 200,000 people would have voted, but considering the narrow margin of victory for Biden, it changes how one listens to the recorded conversation.  First of all, it explains why Trump can’t believe after all the work to disenfranchise “certain voters” that he still lost.  It also explains the rather milquetoast response by the Secretary of State because what was probably going through his mind was not “We ran an honest election, how dare you”, but more like “We really did our best to give you the election Donald, but we can’t do anything more short of counterfeiting votes for you which exposes us to prison terms.”

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