Trump pressured Michigan election officers not to certify 2020 vote

The Guardian :
Donald Trump made a phone call in November 2020 in which he put pressure on two Republican election officers in Michigan not to sign the official document from the state confirming that Joe Biden had won the presidential election there, according to an exclusive report by The Detroit News late on Thursday.

The Detroit News outlet has obtained recordings of the call, made on 17 November 2020, where Trump, who was refusing to accept that he had just lost the White House to Joe Biden, and Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel talked to Wayne county election officials Monica Palmer and William Hartmann and told them they would look “terrible” if they signed to endorse Trump’s defeat in the crucial swing state, according to the report.

Palmer and Harmann were members of the Wayne county board of canvassers, one of the state’s official county teams – each with two Democrats and two Republicans – appointed by state election
commissioners for duties such as inspecting ballots and certifying elections for all local, countywide and district offices.

Trump told them on the phone call obtained and reported by the Detroit News that: “We’ve got to fight for our country. We can’t let these people take our country away from us.”

McDaniel is from Michigan and was also reportedly on the call and told the two board members: “If you can go home tonight, do not sign it,” adding “We will get you attorneys.” Trump then added: “We’ll take care of that.”

The newspaper further reported that representatives of Palmer, McDaniel and Trump, contacted by the reporter in question through spokespeople, did not dispute a summary of the call that was shared with them. The News said Hartmann died in 2021.

On Thursday Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung issued a statement saying that Trump’s call was “taken in furtherance of his duty as president of the United States to faithfully take care of the laws and ensure election integrity, including investigating the rigged and stolen 2020 presidential election”.

The call and then Palmer and Harmann’s refusal to add their signatures to Wayne county’s official certification of Biden’s victory at the ballot box was apparently designed to sow doubt about the accuracy of the result.

Palmer and Hartmann’s refusal to sign the certification and a failed attempt to withdraw their votes from the day before in which they confirmed Biden’s victory in the county did not impede Biden’s win in Michigan.

That was a crucial piece of his 2020 victory on behalf of the Democratic party, with he and now-US vice president Kamala Harris beating Republicans Trump and his Vice-President Mike Pence’s bid for re-election.

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The report of the phone call has strong echoes of the call Trump made on 2 January 2021, in which he pressed the secretary of state in Georgia, Brad Raffensperger, to “find” enough votes to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in that state, too.

News of the phone call emerged almost imm The pressure on Raffensperger is part of the criminal case against Trump and multiple co-defendants in Georgia, accusing them in a racketeering case of an election interference conspirac The Wayne county tapes in Michigan are understood not to be part at this time of the federal election interference case against Trump brought by special counsel Jack Smith on behalf of the US Department of Justice.

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On Thursday, Trump’s niece, Mary, an outspoken critic of the former president, wrote on Substack that the Wayne county audio recording could bolster the federal investigation by special counsel Jack Smith into Trump’s alleged efforts to subvert the 2020 election results.

“Why is this so bad for Donald? The recordings are proof of his direct involvement in pressuring election officials to undermine certification,” Mary Trump wrote.

“We all heard Donald’s Georgia call, but this is a shocking development. The fact that Donald appears to be personally involved in pressuring officials down to the level of county canvassers shows the lengths he went to subvert the election.”

Michigan officials are still investigating Trump’s efforts to overturn his defeat in the state in 2020, after 16 people were criminally charged earlier this year in relation to signing paperwork falsely asserting that Trump had won the state in 2020.

The primary season for the 2024 presidential election begins in January and Trump is the frontrunner for the Republican nomination as he seeks re-election despite facing dozens of indictments in four criminal cases – two federal cases, in which the US supreme court has now become involved, as well as one in New York and the one in Georgia.

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