Two House Democrats are requesting FBI Director Christopher Wray to open a criminal probe into President Donald Trump. This comes after a phone call involving Trump was leaked. In it, the president was asking Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to overturn the result of the elections in the state.
Rep. Ted Lieu of California and Rep. Kathleen Rice of New York wrote a letter to Wray on Monday, saying they believe the president “engaged in solicitation of, or conspiracy to commit, a number of election crimes.”
“We ask you to open an immediate criminal investigation into the president,” the letter added.
The Leaked Trump Phone Call
In the phone call, Trump was asking Raffensperger “to find” him enough votes so that they can remove President-elect Joe Biden’s winning margin in Georgia.
“So look. 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,” Trump was heard saying.
“The people of Georgia are angry. The people in the country are angry…And there’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, um, that you’ve recalculated,” the president also said.
The leaked phone call went on for almost an hour. During the phone call, Trump kept on pushing Raffensperger to tamper with the vote total. He did so all while trying to force Raffensperger and his staff by suggesting invalidated conspiracy theories. Trump even suggested that Raffensperger can be criminally liable if he does not do what the president wanted.
On the other hand, Raffensperger and Ryan Germany, his office’s general counsel, were heard repeatedly shooting down Trump’s claims. At times, he can be heard telling the president that his fraud allegations had no basis.
“Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is the data you have is wrong,” Raffensperger stated in the call.
In the letter, Reps. Lieu and Rice said pieces of evidence of election fraud by the president “is now in broad daylight.”
The lawmakers also added that “Given the more than ample factual predicate, we are making a criminal referral to you to open an investigation into Mr. Trump.”
In the past few months following the election, President Trump has spent a lot of time trying to overturn the results. He has tried pressing lawmakers in swing states to ignore actual vote totals. He, instead, is making them support the legal challenges that he has put forward. This has drawn a lot of criticism from both Democrats and some of his fellow Republicans.
The leaked call, however, has drawn more severe criticisms from Trump’s Democratic rivals. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, for one, said on Sunday that what the president did was enough grounds for impeachment. Meanwhile, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois said it “merits nothing less than a criminal investigation.”
Meanwhile, Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said he has not heard nor read the transcript of the call during the House Democratic leadership news conference. He was asked if the House need to take any action regarding the call. To this, he said, “We’re not looking backward, we’re looking forward to the inauguration of Joe Biden on Jan. 20.” Jeffries also stated that that the House Democrats choose to focus more on battling the pandemic and its economic repercussions in the new Congress.