Top House Democrat Hakeem Jeffries calls for criminal probe into Lindsey Graham ‘pressing Georgia Secretary of State to discard legally-cast ballots’
- Top House Democrat Hakeem Jeffries called on Justice Department to investigate comments by Lindsey Graham to Georgia secretary of state
- ‘Did Lindsey Graham illegally pressure the Georgia Secretary of State to rig the election after the fact? The Justice Department should find out,’ Jeffries tweeted
- Attorney General Bill Barr would make such a decision
- Georgia Republican secretary of state said Monday that he felt pressured by Sen. Lindsey Graham to find ways to toss out legally-cast ballots
- Brad Raffensperger told The Washington Post that Graham called him to ask about Georgia’s signature matching law
- Graham asked Raffensperger if he had the power to toss out every mail-in ballot from counties where there was a higher rate of non-matching signatures
- Graham denied allegations: ‘If he feels threatened by that conversation, he’s got a problem,’ he said
- Republicans have turned on Raffensperger after the previously red state went for President-elect Joe Biden over President Donald Trump
Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, a top Democrat in House leadership, has called on the Justice Department to investigate whether Senator Lindsey Graham pressured the Georgia secretary of state to ‘rig’ the election recount.
‘Did Lindsey Graham illegally pressure the Georgia Secretary of State to rig the election after the fact? The Justice Department should find out,’ Jeffries, a Democrat from New York, wrote on Twitter Tuesday morning.
Attorney General Bill Barr would have to order such an investigation but it’s unlikely he will do so. When leadership at the Justice Department changes hands after Joe Biden becomes president, the new attorney general could pursue such a case although Biden has told aides he doesn’t want his presidency overshadowed by investigations into President Donald Trump and his allies.
Top House Democrat Hakeem Jeffries called on Justice Department to investigate comments by Lindsey Graham to Georgia secretary of state
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said Monday that Graham, a senator from neighboring South Carolina and a close ally of President Trump, pressured him to find a way to toss out legally cast ballots during the state’s recount process.
Biden leads Trump in Georgia, where the president demanded a recount of the close race. The state allows recounts when the vote margin is under .5 per cent. Thus far the hand count has proceeded smoothly with no voter fraud detected.
Nearly 5 million votes were cast for president in Georgia, and Biden was leading Trump by about 14,000 votes. If Biden wins, he will be the first Democrat to carry the state since the 1992 presidential election, a cumulation of a long Democratic effort to flip the state from red to blue.
The hand count is expected to conclude this week with no major changes to the election outcome.
But, speaking to The Washington Post, Raffensperger – a Republican – said he talked to Graham, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Friday and the South Carolina senator asked if he could toss out every mail-in ballot from counties that have higher rates of non-matching signatures.
‘It sure looked like he was wanting to go down that road,’ Raffensperger told the newspaper, expressing disbelief that Graham wanted him to disenfranchise large swaths of Georgia voters.
Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said he felt like Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, was pressuring him to find a way to toss out swaths of legally-cast ballots in the 2020 presidential race
Sen. Lindsey Graham denied Raffensperger claims saying, ‘If he feels threatened by that conversation, he’s got a problem.’ Graham said he wasn’t doing President Donald Trump’s bidding when he called Georgia’s secretary of state to ask about the state’s signature laws
President Donald Trump, photographed golfing at his Virginia club on Sunday, has refused to concede the presidential race to President-elect Joe Biden. Georgia was one of two previously red states that looks to have flipped in favor of Biden
Georgia has a signature-matching law for ballots.
Graham also asked Raffensperger if he believed political bias could have clouded poll workers’ judgments when signatures didn’t match.
The senator denied he was trying to influence the recount.
He told reporters on Capitol Hill he talked to Raffensperger about ‘how you verify the signatures, about voting machines and all that good stuff.’
Graham scoffed when he heard that his conversation with Raffensperger had left the Georgia secretary of state unsettled.
‘I think that’s just ridiculous,’ Graham said. ‘If he feels threatened by that conversation, he’s got a problem. I actually thought it was a good conversation.’
Graham also said he didn’t ‘trust The Washington Post on anything.’
‘So he needs to call me, tell me that,’ Graham continued. ‘Until he calls me and tells me that, I’m not going to believe a word.’
The South Carolina senator said he initially made the call to the Georgia official ‘because it affects the whole nation.’
He denied he doing so at the behest of Trump and told reporters he hadn’t spoken to the president in a week.
As the recount proceeds, Georgia election officials said Monday it had turned up more than 2,500 votes in Floyd County that weren’t previously counted but that that won’t alter the overall outcome of the race.
The unofficial breakdown of the votes those votes was 1,643 for Trump, 865 for Biden and 16 for Libertarian Jo Jorgensen, according to Gabriel Sterling, a top elections official.
‘The reason you do an audit is to find this kind of thing,’ Sterling told the Associated Press.
Meanwhile, Raffensperger doesn’t have the power – without court intervention – to do what Graham was allegedly suggesting – toss out a full county’s count of absentee ballots. The counties are in control of the elections in the state.
‘Other than getting you angry, it’s also very disillusioning,’ Raffensperger said of the behavior he’s witnessed, particularly when it comes from people ‘on my side of the aisle.’
‘Everyone that is working on this needs to elevate their speech. We need to be thoughtful and careful about we say,’ Raffensperger continued.
He said he’s reported death threats to state authorities, including a text message that read, ‘You better not botch this recount. Your life depends on it.’
And he’s struggled with members of his own party as the recount proceeds, including President Trump, who has mocked Raffensperger on Twitter as a ‘RINO’ – a Republican in name only.
Raffensperger also reported Republican Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia as being particularly ugly.
Collins ran an unsuccessful Senate campaign forcing the race between Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Raphael Warnock into a run-off.
Since his loss, he’s been in charge of rooting out election fraud in state on behalf of Trump, who refuses to concede the presidential race to Biden.
Raffensperger told The Post that Collins was a ‘liar’ and a ‘charlatan.’
‘I’m an engineer. We look at numbers. We look at hard data,’ Raffensperger said. ‘I can’t help it that a failed candidate like Doug Collins is running around lying to everyone. He’s a liar.’
Raffensperger feared that questioning the state’s voting infrastructure – including Dominion Voting Systems, which Trump has railed against – could negatively impact the state’s two January run-offs, potentially keeping Republican voters home.
‘I don’t think it’s helpful when you create doubt in the election process,’ Raffensperger said. ‘People might throw up their arms and say, ‘Why vote?’