Democratic lawmakers call for Trump to be impeached for pressuring Georgia's secretary of state to 'find' enough votes to overturn the election
- Democratic lawmakers are calling for President Donald Trump to be impeached after he asked Georgia's secretary of state to "find" extra votes to declare him the election winner in the state.
- A leaked recording of the hour-long call was published by The Washington Post on Sunday.
- Neal Katyal, who was an acting solicitor general under President Barack Obama, said he believed Trump's actions on the phone call were "really, truly an impeachable offense."
- Vice President-elect Kamala Harris said Trump's behavior was "a bald-faced, bold abuse of power by the president."
Democratic lawmakers are calling for President Donald Trump to be impeached after a recording showed him pleading with Georgia's secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, to "find" thousands of extra votes and overturn Joe Biden's victory there.
Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar, two prominent members of the Democratic Party's progressive flank, were among those in Congress who said Trump's comments appeared to be impeachable.
"This is clearly an impeachable offense and I believe there is nothing under the law giving Trump immunity from criminal process and indictment for this conduct," Omar tweeted.
Per Axios, Ocasio-Cortez told reporters on Sunday: "I absolutely think it's an impeachable offense, and if it was up to me, there would be articles on the floor quite quickly."
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris told a rally on Sunday that Trump's comments were a "bald-faced, bold abuse of power by the president of the United States," according to a CNN report.
The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which describes itself as nonpartisan, on Sunday backed calls for Trump to be impeached.
"While the logistics of holding impeachment proceedings in the final two weeks of a presidency are admittedly hard to pull off, if this isn't impeachable conduct, then literally nothing is," CREW's executive director, Noah Bookbinder, said in a statement.
During the call, Trump can be heard sharing unsubstantiated theories about election fraud and telling Raffensperger: "All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state."
Raffensperger can be heard in the call telling Trump that his claims he won Georgia were based on inaccurate data. "Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is, the data you have is wrong," he said at one point.
Trump was impeached by the House in 2019, when he was subsequently acquitted by the Senate. No US president has been impeached twice.
Neal Katyal, a former acting solicitor general under President Barack Obama, added to growing calls for Trump's second impeachment on Sunday, saying he believed Trump's actions on the phone call were "really, truly an impeachable offense."
"So one question is whether or not a high crime and misdemeanor was committed," Katyal told MSNBC on Sunday. "Certainly the tape makes it sound like it has."
Proof of a statutory crime is not necessary for impeachment, but Katyal also said Trump also appeared to have breached a criminal law prohibiting federal officials from interfering in a state election process, and he called for the Department for Justice to launch an investigation.
—MSNBC (@MSNBC) January 3, 2021
Other Democrats have also criticized Trump's behavior. Rep. Adam Schiff, one of the lead investigators in the 2019 impeachment inquiry against Trump, said of the recording: "Trump's contempt for democracy is laid bare. Once again. On tape. Pressuring an election official to 'find' the votes so he can win is potentially criminal, And another flagrant abuse of power by a corrupt man who would be a despot, if we allowed him. We will not."
Rep. Don Beyer tweeted: "Trump is on tape threatening elected officials like a cheap gangster - trying to get them to commit massive, criminal election fraud - and Republicans in Congress want to keep him in power by overturning the vote of the American people. They are absolutely complicit here."
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