Democrats Push for Impeachment over Donald Trump's Phone Call with Georgia Secretary of State
Democrat lawmakers led by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar are making a last-minute push to impeach President Trump again, this time for a recording in which he asked Georgia’s secretary of state to “find” votes.
In a recording released by the Washington Post on Sunday, President Trump pressed Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger to “give him a break” in regards to the nearly 12,000 vote margin between him and President-elect Joe Biden. “The people of Georgia are angry — the people in the country are angry,” Trump said. “And there’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, um, that you’ve recalculated.”
Raffensperger resisted, describing the challenge as an essential problem with Trump’s information. “Well, Mr. President,” he said on the Saturday call, “the challenge that you have is, the data you have is wrong.” The president resisted, denying any possibility he lost the state in a legitimate count. “There’s no way I lost Georgia,” Trump asserted. “There’s no way. We won by hundreds of thousands of votes.”
“All I want to do is this,” he said. “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.” Later in the call, he reiterated: “So what are we going to do here, folks? I only need 11,000 votes. Fellas, I need 11,000 votes. Give me a break.”
On Twitter, Trump characterized the call differently. “I spoke to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger yesterday about Fulton County and voter fraud in Georgia,” he tweeted. “He was unwilling, or unable, to answer questions such as the ‘ballots under table’ scam, ballot destruction, out of state ‘voters’, dead voters, and more. He has no clue!”
On Sunday evening, Rep. Ilhan Omar called Trump’s conduct an “impeachable offense,” stressing that “there is nothing under the law giving Trump immunity from criminal process and indictment for this conduct.”
This is clearly an impeachable offense and I believe there is nothing under the law giving Trump immunity from criminal process and indictment for this conduct.
The law and order party is a farce. https://t.co/u4qJU7Kq0O
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) January 3, 2021
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took a similar position. “I absolutely think it’s an impeachable offense, and if it was up to me, there would be articles on the floor quite quickly,” she told reporters, according to Axios. “He’s attacking our very election.”
Incoming Vice-President Kamala Harris spoke plainly during a drive-in campaign event for democrat Senate run-off candidates. “Have y’all heard about that recorded conversation?” Harris asked. “Well it was, yes, certainly, the voice of desperation, most certainly that, and it was a bald, bald-faced, bold abuse of power by the President of the United States.”
Noah Bookbinder, executive director for the watchdog group “Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington,” or CREW, expressed the difficulty of attempting to impeach an outgoing president in the last two weeks of his term, but stressed the legitimacy of the position: “While the logistics of holding impeachment proceedings in the final two weeks of a presidency are admittedly hard to pull off,” Bookbinder said, “if this isn’t impeachable conduct, then literally nothing is.”
One possible reason for the push to impeach an outgoing president could be a desire to disqualify Trump’s theoretical 2024 run to reclaim the Oval Office. Such disqualification has legal precedent but is far from guaranteed. According to the Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute: “Unlike removal, disqualification from office is a discretionary judgment, and there is no explicit constitutional linkage to the two-thirds vote on conviction.”