Trump calls Georgia election official to interfere in county investigation

The Trump Timeline

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Donald Trump calls Frances Watson, Georgia elections investigator who is leading an inquiry into allegations of ballot fraud. Trump tells tells her she’ll be a hero if she finds a way to turn the state red.

Watson has been swamped with an audit of over 15,000 signatures on mail-in ballots in Cobb County. Trump claims that he is calling at the request of Mark Meadows, his chief of staff. They want her to expand the investigation to previous years and “find the fraud.”

“I hope you are going back two years as opposed to checking one against the other,” Trump tells her. “Because that would just be a signature check that didn’t mean anything… If you go back two years, and if you can get to Fulton, you are going to find things that are going to be unbelievable… Fulton is the mother lode.”

Fulton County is home to most of Atlanta.

“Something bad happened,” Trump says, suggesting that he won in Georgia. “When the right answer comes out, you’ll be praised.”

Watson tells Trump that she appreciates his call and assures him that her only goal is to do her job to the best of her ability, no matter what the president is suggesting. “We are only interested in the truth and finding the information that is based on the facts.”

In the call, Mr. Trump offered no evidence of any wrongdoing. At one point, he said his loss in Georgia “never made sense and, you know, they dropped ballots. They dropped all these ballots. Stacey Abrams, really, really terrible,” he said. Ms. Abrams, the 2018 Democratic candidate for governor in Georgia, and her group Fair Fight Action registered thousands of new voters in Georgia in recent years.

The Wall Street Journal

In a similar call to Brad Raffensperger in January, Trump tells the Georgia state secretary to “find the votes.”

Watson’s investigation finds no evidence of voter fraud, and two statewide recounts confirm Joe Biden’s win in Georgia.

At the time of this writing in March 2021, Georgia is investigating these and other calls made to state election officials to influence the outcome of the 2020 election.

The Phone Call Transcript

Unknown: Ms. Watson, the president.

Donald Trump: Hello, Frances. How are you?

Frances Watson: Hello, Mr. President. I am actually doing very well.

Trump: Good. Well you have a big fan in our great chief, right? Chief of staff, Mark.

Watson: I did! I met him. I, um, it was a pleasure to meet him yesterday.

Trump: That is great. He’s a great — he was a big success for us. He was a great congressman and then, when you lead by 35 points it’s hard to get people out of there, but I tried very hard, for two years. And we got him, and he’s done a fantastic job. I just wanted to thank you for everything. He told me you’ve been great.

And you know, look, this country is counting on it. Because it’s very interesting. So I won Florida in a record number. Ohio in a record. Texas in a record. Alabama by 40 — 40 points. And I won everything but Georgia. And, you know, and I won Georgia. I know that. By a lot. And the people know it. And, you know, something happened. Something bad happened.

And I hope you’re doing that [inaudible] — you know, I hope you’re going back two years, as opposed to just checking, you know, one against the other because that would just sort of be a signature check that didn’t mean anything.

But if you go back two years, and if you can get to Fulton, you are going to find things that are going to be unbelievable. The dishonesty that we’ve heard from— 

Watson: Right.

Trump: Rudy —  you know, just good sources. Really good sources. But Fulton. Fulton is the motherload, you know, as the expression goes. Fulton County —

Watson: Right.

Trump: And, uh.

Watson: Well, Mr. President, I appreciate your comment. And I can assure you that our team, and the GBI, that we’re only interested in the truth.

Trump: That’s great.

Watson: And finding the information that’s based on the facts. We’ve been working 12-, 16-hour days. And— 

Trump: Great.

Watson: — you know we’re working through it. So I can assure you that. I do appreciate you calling. I know that you’re very, very busy, a very important man, and I’m very honored that you called. And, you know, and quite— 

Trump: It’s so important what you’re doing.

Watson: Quite frankly I’m shocked that you would take time to do that, but I am very appreciative.

Trump: Yeah, Mark asked me to do it. He thinks you’re great. You know, you just have the most important job in the country right now, because if we win Georgia — first of all, if we win, you’re going to have two wins. They’re not going to win right now, you know. They’re down. Because the people of Georgia are so angry at what happened to me. They know I won. Won by hundreds of thousands of votes. It wasn’t close.

And Alabama, you know… I won South Carolina in a record. Alabama in a record. Florida in a record. You know, I won Florida by 6- or 700,000 votes. It’s never happened before with a Republican. With all the money they spent. You know, you heard all that, these guys going down, spending a fortune.

And we won Texas by a record. Texas was won by the biggest, the biggest number ever. And it, you know. And Ohio of course. You know that. You know about that. That was won by nine points or something. And it’s… all of it. Iowa. And it never made sense. And, you know, they dropped ballots. They dropped all these ballots. 

Stacey Abrams. Really, really terrible. Just a terrible thing.

And I will say this. If and when — I mean, hopefully this will show, because if you go back two years or four years you’re going to see it’s a totally different signature — but, but hopefully when the right answer comes out you’ll be praised. I mean, I don’t know why, you know they’ve made it so hard. They will be praised. People will say, “Great.” Because that’s what it’s about. That ability to check and to make it right. Because everyone knows it’s wrong. There’s just no way.

You know, they had people in Georgia, for instance, that won, and I was way ahead of them, and they won because of me — you know I pulled them, as they call it, coattails — we pulled them across and they say, “There’s no way I beat you by 15 points,” you know. I’ve had that — we’ve had plenty of those calls too.

So, anyway. But whatever you can do, Frances. It’s a great thing. It’s an important thing for the country. So important. You have no idea, it’s so important.

Watson: Well, Mr. — 

Trump: And I very much appreciate it.

Watson: Well, I appreciate your call. And I hope you and your family have a very healthy and happy Christmas. And I certainly appreciate you and everything that you’ve done.

Trump: Well, and I appreciate it too, Frances. Do you think they’ll be working after Christmas, to keep it going fast? Because, you know, we have that date of the 6th, which is a very important date.

Watson: Right, right. I know you’ve got that coming up. And I can assure you that I’m going to be working and we’re going to be working. And it’s— 

Trump: Good.

Watson: And I appreciate it. And you know, our team’s out there working, you know. We’ve got pandemic—

Trump: I hear the Georgia, it’s not the FBI, what was it, the BI, right?

Watson: Right.

Trump: But I hear, I hear they’re fantastic. And I hear that I’m 96% with them, so that’s good, okay.

Watson: [laughter]

Trump: But say hello to those guys. Tell them I appreciate it very much. Let ’em all know.

Watson: I will certainly do that.

Trump: You just take care. Call anytime you need, if you need help. Call me. Mark has the number. Mark appreciates it, but I wanted to call you and thank you.

Watson: Well, thank you so much. And you have a good evening.

Trump: Thanks, Frances. Take care. Have a good Christmas and everything. So long. Thanks, Frances.

Watson: Thank you. Goodbye.

Trump: Appreciate it. Bye.

External Sources

The Washington Post (Archived)

The Wall Street Journal, Archived


Business Insider – Transcript (Archived)

Photo: Public Domain

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