Trump’s Second Phone Call Scandal

President+Trump%27s+phone+call+with+Georgia+Secretary+of+State+Brad+Raffensperger+is+in+violation+of+laws+that+prohibit+extortion.

The White House and the Office of the Georgia Secretary of State

President Trump’s phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is in violation of laws that prohibit extortion.

On January 2, two days into the new year, President Trump involved himself in a second phone call scandal. This past Saturday, President Trump had a phone call with Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger. During this hour-long call, Trump urged Raffensperger to “find” him enough votes to overturn the presidential election. The president also proceeded to threaten Mr. Raffensperger with “a criminal offense,” adding on to the controversy. 

The assumed aim of the phone call was to find the “fraud” in Georgia’s presidential votes. If this said “fraud” was found in favor of Mr. Trump, it would grant Trump 16 electoral votes. Trump stated on the call,  “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.” The president then continued to say, “You know what they did and you’re not reporting it…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.” 

Trump, having only days left in office, has been making his last efforts to turn around a long-over election. Every state in the country has certified the votes and judges across the country have already dismissed Trump’s legal campaign revolving around potential fraud. Dismissals include the Supreme Court, despite it having a conservative majority.

It can be recalled that a similar situation arose in the past. In 2019, Trump faced an investigation as well as impeachment due to a phone call with the Ukraine’s president. Parallel to the call from last Saturday, Trump requested President Volodymyr Selensky to “do us a favor.” 

Looking at the legality of President Trump’s recent actions, it can be determined he may find himself in a similar position as the one he was in early January 2020, meaning impeachment. Atlanta based criminal defense attorney, Ryan Locke, explained that, “The recording alone is certainly enough to launch an investigation. It’s likely probable cause to issue an indictment.” Locke has gone on to elaborate that Trump may be in violation of laws that prohibit extortion. 

Speaking her mind during a drive-in rally for Georgia’s Democratic Senate candidates, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris stated that the phone call was “the voice of desperation” and added that “it was a bald, baldfaced, bold abuse of power by the president of the United States”. Democratic Senator of Illinois, Richard J. Durbin, described the call as  “more than a pathetic, rambling, delusional rant,” calling the president “unhinged and dangerous.” Durbin went on to add that Mr. Trump’s Republican allies “are putting the orderly and peaceful transition of power in our nation at risk.” Paul D. Ryan, former speaker of the House, emphasized the need to abandon the challenge of fraud in the election, referring to the challenge as the most “anti-democratic and anti-conservative act.”

With days before the end of Mr. Trump’s term, it is unclear whether an investigation will begin into his actions. On the morning of January 7, Congress confirmed President-elect, Joe Biden, won in the 2020 election. In light of the recent mobs that Trump incited at the Capitol building, the possibilities of the 25th Amendment being invoked are becoming more prevalent. Vice President Pence and the majority of either the Cabinet or Congress would have to declare to the Senate in writing that Trump is incapable of holding office, in order to invoke the 25th. Regardless of the actions of the government moving forward, there will surely be actions taken toward the president for his actions, as they displayed an outright disrespect for the laws of the United States of America.