After former President Donald Trump lost the November election, he and his allies launched an effort to illegally overturn the outcome.
New details of that effort emerged this week, including two files obtained by American Oversight through public records requests. The first was an audio recording of Trump’s Dec. 23 phone call with the lead investigator heading up Georgia’s review of the November election. The file was released to American Oversight on March 10 and is available here along with a transcript. The Wall Street Journal separately obtained and reported on a copy of the recording the same day.
In the call, Trump falsely insists that he won the election in Georgia “by hundreds of thousands of votes, it wasn’t close” and then presses the investigator, saying “whatever you can do Frances, it would be uh– it’s a great thing, it’s an important thing for the county, so important.”
Trump also specifically indicates that it was his then-chief of staff, Mark Meadows, who had asked him to call, saying: “Mark asked me to do it, he thinks you’re great and you know, just you have the most important job in the country right now.”
That’s important, because the second new piece of information we obtained this week was an email sent by one of Meadows’ aides to the deputy secretary of state in Georgia, Jordan Fuchs, following-up on a meeting that Meadows had had with Fuchs the previous week. The email was sent on Dec. 30, just a week after Trump’s phone call to the election inspector and only three days before Trump’s infamous Jan. 2 call to Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, pressuring him to “find 11,780 votes.”
New: Records we obtained show an aide to then Chief of Staff Mark Meadows contacted Georgia’s Deputy Sec. of State Jordan Fuchs on Dec. 30 as the Trump White House was pressuring Georgia to illegally overturn the election result. https://t.co/gfmaHAjZul pic.twitter.com/AepCVp4Vo7
— American Oversight (@weareoversight) March 11, 2021
But the effort to keep Trump in power went beyond the White House and beyond Georgia. Pro-Trump lawmakers in multiple states filed dozens of court challenges attempting, without a valid legal basis, to reverse the election results. More than a dozen Republican state attorneys general supported a lawsuit brought by Texas that ultimately asked the Supreme Court to throw out the results in four battleground states that Trump had lost. Trump supporters in seven states even submitted to Congress fake electoral certificates, which we obtained and posted, seeking to replace the real presidential electors that had been chosen by voters.
All of those attempts failed to keep Trump in power, but the forces behind them are still active and have shifted their focus to the future. As the Washington Post highlighted on Thursday, and as numerous reporters have documented in recent weeks, right-wing lawmakers across the country are pushing new restrictions on voting — many citing Trump’s false claims of election fraud as a justification.
From the Washington Post report:
“In 33 states across the country, Republican lawmakers have proposed at least 250 laws that would limit mail, early in-person and Election Day voting with such constraints as stricter ID requirements, limited hours or narrower eligibility to vote absentee, according to data compiled as of Feb. 19 by the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice….
“…The measures are likely to disproportionately affect those in cities and Black voters in particular, who overwhelmingly vote Democratic — laying bare, critics say, the GOP’s true intent: gaining electoral advantage.”
American Oversight has been actively investigating attacks on voting rights in the states for more than two years, and we’re expanding that work now. We’re closely tracking the situation, and we will be continuing to send public records requests to uncover the facts about efforts to erect new barriers to voting. You can stay up to date with our investigations into voting rights here, and you can follow all of our latest actions here.
The effort to overturn the 2020 election reached its most visible peak on Jan. 6 with the mob attack on the U.S. Capitol building which left five people dead, sent lawmakers and the vice president into hiding, and disrupted the peaceful transfer of power. We still don’t have the full story of what went wrong that day, and this week we went to court to compel the government to respond to our records requests.
Among other documents, the three lawsuits we filed are seeking the release of:
On January 6, our democracy was under attack. We know Donald Trump was watching and tweeting. We need to know what he did.
— American Oversight (@weareoversight) March 10, 2021
Trump’s War on Diversity Trainings
In September, the Trump administration banned federal agencies from conducting racial sensitivity trainings, claiming they were “anti-American propaganda.” Records we obtained from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative show that the directive — which was later that month expanded to include federal contractors — caused confusion among USTR employees about how to implement the order. In one email thread, officials discuss whether existing courses focus on allegedly “divisive” concepts like white privilege.
Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen to meet again with Manhattan DA in Trump probe (Reuters)
Supreme Court rejects another Georgia election lawsuit (Atlanta Journal Constitution)
Even Trump’s defense secretary during the Capitol riot blames him for inciting it (Vice)
‘I was speechless’: Law firm investigated its own ex-client for Trump VOA chief (NPR)
RNC moves portion of its spring donor retreat to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club (Washington Post)
Democratic lawmaker releases social media report on GOP members who voted to overturn election (The Hill)
Officers maced, trampled: Docs expose depth of Jan. 6 chaos (Associated Press)
Arkansas governor signs near-total abortion ban into law (Associated Press)
South Dakota lawmakers vote to halt impeachment against attorney general (Reuters)
After 2020 fraud claims, Donald Trump requests mail ballot (Palm Beach Post)
Gov. Kim Reynolds signs law shortening Iowa’s early and Election Day voting (Des Moines Register)
Georgia Senate Republicans pass bill to end no-excuse absentee voting (NPR)
Bill to remove people from early voting list gets new life, passes Arizona Senate (Arizona Republic)