Former President Donald Trump did not ask Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to engage in any illegal conduct during the 2020 election, according to his testimony.
The refutation of the claim that Trump asked to fraudulently “find votes” blows a gaping hole in the middle of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ racketeering case against the former president and 18 of his associates.
According to George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley, Raffensperger testified that the call, while “extraordinary,” was a “settlement negotiation” that took place during a debate over whether to pursue another recount of votes and 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,” Turley wrote. “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 continued. “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?” Turley asked. “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.”
Yet Fani Willis has this call from Donald Trump to Brad Raffensperger as a centerpiece in her “racketeering” case, which contrives a criminal enterprise out of the process of legally challenging elections. Trump was seeking a legal remedy for the 2020 election and was not seeking to illegally “overturn” an election.
There apparently is no criminal case to be had here, just a narrative that has been concocted by Trump’s political opponents to deprive him of the right to run in a presidential election and to deprive voters of the right to elect him as president.