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Calls grow for investigation, censure after Trump call to Georgia Secretary of State

President Trump.
President Trump.Evan Vucci/Associated Press

Two House Democrats are calling for an investigation into President Trump’s call to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Saturday in which Trump pressed him to “find” enough votes to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s win in the state.

Representatives Ted Lieu of California and Kathleen Rice of New York said they made a “criminal referral” to FBI Director Christopher Wray as they called for an investigation into the president.

“As former prosecutors, @RepKathleenRice and I believe @realDonaldTrump committed multiple crimes during the phone call in which he threatened GA SoS Raffensperger to ‘find 11,780′ votes or to “‘recalculate,’” Lieu wrote in a tweet Monday.

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The pair of lawmakers sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray urging him to open an investigation.

“Given the more than ample factual predicate, we are making a criminal referral to you to open an investigation into Mr. Trump,” Lieu and Rice wrote in the letter, according to NBC News.

Meanwhile, Representative Hank Johnson of Georgia said he would introduce a resolution to censure the president. A censure is a formal reprimand, but unlike impeachment, it does not carry legal consequences.

The calls for punishment come as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle condemn Trump’s call to Raffensperger in which he pressed the Georgia Republican on a number of baseless claims, only to be told they had been investigated and found meritless.

“I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” Trump said on the call, audio of which was obtained by The Washington Post. “Because we won the state.”

Representative Liz Cheney, a Republican from Wyoming, told CNN the call was “deeply troubling” and urged people to listen to the full hour.

Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois said the call was “appalling” in a tweet Sunday.

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But many Republicans either remained silent on the situation or came to Trump’s defense, with one Republican representative suggesting to CNN that Trump was merely speaking out of frustration.

Representative Paul Gosar said in a tweet Monday that “the ‘call’ is normal from a crime victim.”

With ballots counted three times, including once by hand, Georgia’s certified totals show Trump lost to Biden by 11,779 votes out of nearly 5 million cast. Raffensperger certified the totals with officials, saying they’ve found no evidence that Trump won.

No credible claims of fraud or systemic errors have been sustained. Judges have turned away legal challenges to the results, although at least one is still pending in state court.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.


Christina Prignano can be reached at christina.prignano@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @cprignano.