President Trump’s Election-Stealing Efforts in Georgia
On Sunday, the Washington Post released audio from a Jan. 2 call in which President Donald Trump requested that Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger “find 11,780 votes” needed for him to change the state’s election results. During the hourlong call, Trump referenced several conspiracy theories and said that it would be “a criminal offense” if Raffensperger and his chief counsel, Ryan Germany, couldn’t locate more votes in Trump’s favor.
The call is a new low in the president’s unprecedented attempts to overturn the results of a valid election, and legal experts have said it potentially broke federal and state election laws. Trump’s anti-democratic and corrupt efforts to cling to power are hardly surprising at this point, but the public needs to know what else he — and those who have abetted those efforts — have done to pressure Georgia’s state leaders.
On Tuesday, American Oversight filed records requests with the offices of Georgia governor and secretary of state, seeking officials’ communications about the Jan. 2 call. The requests also seek any emails or text messages between those offices and external individuals associated with Trump’s voter-fraud conspiracy, including conservative lawyer Cleta Mitchell and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, both of whom were on the call. Trump lawyers Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani, and anyone communicating from email addresses associated with the White House or the Trump campaign are also included in the requests.
Georgia Voter-Registration Challenges
In late December, we sued Georgia’s Muscogee County for failing to respond to requests for records related to the effort by a right-wing group to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Georgia voters ahead of this week’s Senate runoff election. The group True the Vote, working through activists in the state and citing questionable data, announced last month that it was challenging the registration statuses of 364,541 voters, and Muscogee County election officials voted to require 4,000 voters to submit provisional ballots and additional proof of residency. A federal judge has since ordered Muscogee County to reverse that decision.
American Oversight’s lawsuit seeks records of county officials’ communications with True the Vote or the Public Interest Legal Foundation, another voting-restriction activist group. We also partnered with All Voting is Local to file requests with all counties in Georgia for any lists submitted by True the Vote, the Republican Party, or other outside groups challenging individuals’ voting eligibility.
Postmaster General DeJoy’s Presidential Transition Communications
Up until his appointment as postmaster general, Louis DeJoy was the lead fundraiser for the 2020 Republican National Convention that had been originally planned for Charlotte, N.C. From his status as a Republican Party megadonor to policy changes at the USPS that may have affected the timely delivery of 2020 election ballots, concerns about DeJoy’s partisan history have not dissipated. We filed Freedom of Information Act requests with USPS for communications concerning the presidential transition, as well as for communications with the offices of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Ron Johnson.
Adm. Brett Giroir’s Text Messages
Last month, Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Adm. Brett Giroir — coordinator of the Trump administration’s Covid-19 testing efforts — spoke at a virtual meeting of chemistry experts about testing rollout issues in the United States. Giroir said that testing shortages are a result of production limitations and “not a fault of the administration,” but in recent months, reports have emerged that the federal deployment of tests has also been impeded by the administration’s poor communication with state health officials. We previously obtained records that indicate Giroir conducts official agency business through text messages, so we sent a FOIA request to HHS for Giroir’s text messages regarding the administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
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