Raffensperger Testimony Supports Trump Defense in Georgia Case.By JOEL B. POLLAK
Testimony this week in federal court by Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger reportedly contradicted claims that former President Donald Trump insisted he violate his oath of office by fabricating enough votes to win the state.
As Breitbart News has long noted, the media have misrepresented the January 2021 phone call between Trump and Raffensperger, quoting Trump as telling Raffensperger that he should “find” the votes necessary for him to win. In fact, Trump said “I just want to find” the votes, referring to his own state of mind. Moreover, the context was that Trump believed he actually had won the state of Georgia, and the votes simply had not been properly counted yet.
Raffensperger took the stand in a federal court in the Northern District of Georgia as part of a hearing on a motion by former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who is one of Trump’s 18 co-defendants in the criminal case in Fulton County, Georgia. Meadows argued that the case should be removed to federal court, because he was just working for the president, and therefore cannot be tried in state court under the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause.
Meadows stunned many observers by testifying in his own defense. Raffensperger was subpoenaed to testify by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. According to George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley, Raffensperger testified that the call, while “extraordinary,” was a “settlement negotiation” in the context of an argument over whether to pursue another recount of votes — not a demand to make up new votes.
The call was misrepresented by the [Washington] Post and the transcript later showed that Trump was not simply demanding that votes be added to the count but rather asking for another recount or continued investigation. Again, I disagreed with that position but the words about the finding of 11,780 votes was in reference to what he was seeking in a continued investigation. Critics were enraged by the suggestion that Trump was making the case for a recount as opposed to just demanding the addition of votes to the tally or fraudulent findings.
Raffensperger described the call in the same terms. He correctly described the call as “extraordinary” in a president personally seeking such an investigation, particularly after the completion of the earlier recount. That is manifestly true. However, he also acknowledged that this was a “settlement negotiation.”
So what was the subject of the settlement talks? Another recount or further investigation. The very thing that critics this week were apoplectic about in the coverage. That does not mean that Trump had grounds for the demand. Trump’s participation in the call was extraordinary and his demands were equally so. However, the reference to the vote deficit in demanding continued investigation was a predictable argument in such a settlement negotiation. As I previously stated, I have covered such challenges for years as a legal analyst for CBS, NBC, BBC, and Fox. Unsupported legal claims may be sanctionable in court, but they have not been treated as crimes.
If Meadows succeeds in his bid to have the case removed to federal court, other defendants will do the same, and may ague that the charges should be dismissed because of the Supremacy Clause and on other grounds. However, Raffebsperger’s testimony could also be used to dismiss at least some of the Fulton County indictments, particularly regarding “Solicitation of Violation of Oath by Public Officer,” in reference to the phone call with Raffensperger.