- The Washington Times - Monday, January 4, 2021

Two House Democrats urged the FBI on Monday to open a criminal investigation of President Trump‘s phone call to Georgia’s secretary of state in which the president urged him to change the election results in the state.

Reps. Ted Lieu of California and Kathleen Rice of New York asked FBI Director Christopher Wray in a letter to start an “immediate” probe of Mr. Trump‘s Saturday phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. They said Mr. Trump “threatened and berated” the state official to find 11,780 votes to overturn his defeat in the state.

“As members of Congress and former prosecutors, we believe Donald Trump engaged in solicitation of, or conspiracy to commit, a number of election crimes,” the lawmakers wrote.

They cited sections of federal law which make it a crime for anyone who “knowingly and willfully deprives, defrauds, or attempts to deprive or defraud the residents of a State of a fair and impartially conducted election process, by … the procurement, casting, or tabulation of ballots that are known by the person to be materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent under the laws of the State in which the election is held.”

“In this case Mr. Trump, for purposes of a federal election, solicited Secretary of State Raffensperger to procure ballots that are known to be false by threatening him to ‘find 11,780 votes,’” they said.

They also cited an alleged violation of state election law. An audio recording of the one-hour phone call was leaked to the media on Sunday.

“The evidence of election fraud by Mr. Trump is now in broad daylight,” the lawmakers wrote to the FBI. “The prima facie elements of the above crimes have been met. Given the more than ample factual predicate, we are making a criminal referral to you to open an investigation into Mr. Trump.”

However, Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries — who helped argue the case for Mr. Trump‘s impeachment last year — was more cautious than his colleagues calling for Congress to respond, arguing that the coronavirus pandemic was more pressing than a potential impeachment.

“We’re not looking backward, we’re looking forward to the inauguration of Joe Biden,” the New York Democrat said. “We are in a deadly pandemic. … Our focus as House Democrats will remain on addressing the public health crisis and the economic crisis that has resulted in more than 350,000 Americans dying.”

Mr. Raffensperger said Monday that his office probably won’t investigate the call because he was personally involved in it. But he said a local district attorney might be interested in investigating.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

• Gabriella Muñoz can be reached at gmunoz@washingtontimes.com.

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