President Donald Trump’s attempt to get a Georgia election official to “find” votes for him was a clear abuse of office, but it would prove difficult for federal prosecutors to show his actions were criminal, according to a pair of Northeastern professors.
In a phone conversation last weekend with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Trump called on the fellow Republican to “find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have, because we won the state,” according to a transcript of audio obtained by The Washington Post.
Raffensperger was heard politely but firmly rejecting the president’s overtures and standing by the election results. He also insisted that Trump had been given false information about voter fraud.
The president later tweeted criticism of Raffensperger, saying: “He has no clue.”
The strong-arm maneuver is a sign of someone who doesn’t accept losing and blames a rigged system, says Dan Urman, who teaches constitutional law and the modern U.S. Supreme Court at Northeastern.
The latest vote-scavenging incident in Georgia “is on-brand behavior,” Urman says, noting the way Trump attacked the Emmy Awards in the past when his reality show “The Apprentice” didn’t win.