A Georgia indictment of former President Donald Trump that is expected this week could depend on a grand jury’s interpretation of an often-misreported phone call that Trump had with Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in the aftermath of the 2020 vote.
The indictment in Fulton County would likely charge Trump and several associates with using improper pressure and methods to convince state officials to overturn the result of the 2020 presidential election in the state, through their aggressive challenges.
But while Trump is often accused of telling Raffensperger to “find me the votes,” the transcript of the conversation shows that Trump said something different: “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have because we won the state.”
It may not have been a command, but rather the expression of Trump’s desire to document what he appears to have believed was his actual victory in the state, which he appeared to be winning on Election Night before Joe Biden triumphed in the mail-in vote.
As George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley noted Monday, Trump’s remark has been widely misreported, and his critics have barely bothered to notice that Trump might have meant something other than what they have insisted he meant:
Thus far, the focus has been on the controversial call that Trump had with Georgia officials — a call widely cited as indisputable evidence of an effort at voting fraud. Yet, the call was similar to a settlement discussion, as state officials and the Trump team hashed out their differences and a Trump demand for a statewide recount. Trump had lost the state by less than 12,000 votes. That might be what he meant when he stated, “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have because we won the state.”
While others have portrayed the statement as a raw call for fabricating the votes, it seems more likely that Trump was swatting back claims that there was no value to a statewide recount by pointing out that he wouldn’t have to find a statistically high number of votes to change the outcome of the election. It is telling that many politicians and pundits refuse to even acknowledge that obvious alternate meaning.
For his part, Trump has been attacking the credibility of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, accusing her on his Truth Social platform of neglecting crime in Atlanta in her pursuit of his indictment, which would be the fourth that he faces.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.