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Trump pressured officials to throw out Biden’s win: report

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WASHINGTON: Donald Trump urged two Michigan election officials not to certify Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the state following the 2020 presidential election, personally calling them in a pressure campaign reminiscent of his Georgia tactics, the Detroit News reported.


In a Nov 17, 2020, phone call, the then-president told two fellow Republicans on the Wayne County Board of Canvassers not to sign the state election’s certification, saying they would look “terrible” and must “fight for our country”, according to recordings of the call reviewed by the Michigan news outlet.

Wayne County is the Midwestern state’s most populous county and includes Detroit, a Democratic city with a significant Black majority population. In the recordings, Trump says Republicans had been “cheated on this election” and that “everybody knows Detroit is crooked as hell”, according to the report published on Thursday.

In a 2020 phone call, the then-president told two fellow Republicans not to sign the state election’s certification, Detroit News reports

The reported call comes as Trump, the frontrunner for the Republican 2024 nomination, faces federal and state criminal charges over allegations he conspired to overturn the 2020 presidential election in an effort that culminated in a violent attack on Congress.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing and blasted the charges as a political witch hunt aimed at thwarting his campaign while also continuing to spread false claims of widespread voting fraud in 2020.

Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung, asked about the Michigan report, said: “Trumps actions were 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.” In Georgia, Trump faces charges over his efforts to overturn his loss to Biden, including a personal phone call to Georgia’s Republican secretary of state to “find” enough votes to reverse his defeat in that state, which the official declined to do.

Michigan authorities have filed felony charges against 16 Republican state residents for their role in an alleged false electors scheme following the 2020 presidential election. They have not charged Trump.

“It does underscore the fact that there is evidence that the former president did actually try to pressure local officials to block the certification of a fair and legitimate election,” Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson told CNN on Thursday night, adding that she had been unaware of the recordings until the report.

Representatives for Benson and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, both Democrats, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

Representatives for Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, who was reported to have been on the Michigan call, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

McDaniel told the Detroit News she stood by her request to the county board “that there was ample evidence that warranted an audit.”

Published in Dawn, December 23rd, 2023

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