Georgia prosecutors pursuing a criminal investigation against former president Donald Trump for trying to influence the 2020 election are eyeing a call Sen. Lindsey Graham made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger as part of that probe, the Washington Post reported Friday.
The call took place 10 days after the November 3rd election, while the state was conducting an audit of the votes. Raffensperger said that during the call, Graham asked him if he could invalidate all mail-in ballots in particular counties. Graham also suggested, according to Raffensperger, that politically biased poll workers may have accepted ballots with signatures that did not match what the state had on file. And he asked if the state should toss all ballots from counties where the audit found higher rates of non-matching signatures.
An individual familiar with the Fulton County prosecutor’s investigation told the Post that the call will “be looked at” but said prosecutors don’t know much about the call yet or if Graham broke the law. And, according to Jordan Fuchs, Raffensperger’s deputy secretary of state, there is no audio of Graham’s call, he told the Post.
Graham maintains that there was nothing improper about his call to Raffensperger and that he was merely inquiring about signature verification. A spokesperson for Graham, Kevin Bishop, told the paper, “Sen. Graham was asking about how the signature verification process worked. He never asked the Secretary of State to disqualify a ballot cast by anyone. The timing on this is also quite curious. It seems to be a less than transparent effort to marginalize anyone who helps President Trump.”
Prosecutors decided to investigate Trump’s actions around the election after news broke that he made a call to the secretary of state telling him to “find” votes. In the call, audio of which Raffensperger leaked to the media, Trump can be heard saying, “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.”
Raffensperger’s office is doing an investigation of its own into Trump’s calls to Georgia election officials and said Graham’s call will not be included in their investigation, in part due to the lack of a recording.
Despite initially opposing Trump’s candidacy early in the 2016 Republican primary, Graham has become one of the president’s most loyal sycophants and continues to be in touch with him after his presidency. On Friday, the South Carolina Senator said he will be meeting with Trump in the next few weeks about the future of the Republican party. “I’m going to try and convince him that we can’t get there without you, but you can’t keep the Trump movement going without the GOP united,” Graham said.