Another Amy Gardner exclusive for WaPo:
President Trump urged Georgia’s lead elections investigator to “find the fraud” in a lengthy December phone call, saying the official would be a “national hero,” according to an individual familiar with the call who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the conversation.
Trump placed the call to the investigations chief for the Georgia secretary of state’s office shortly before Christmas — while the individual was leading an inquiry into allegations of ballot fraud in Cobb County, in the suburbs of Atlanta, according to people familiar with the episode.
The president’s attempts to intervene in an ongoing investigation could amount to obstruction of justice or other criminal violations, legal experts said, though they cautioned a case could be difficult to prove.
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger had launched the inquiry following allegations that Cobb election officials had improperly accepted mail ballots with signatures that did not match those on file — claims that state officials ultimately concluded had no merit.AD
In an interview with The Washington Post on Friday, Raffensperger confirmed that Trump had placed the Dec. 23 call. He said he was not familiar with the specifics of what the president said in the conversation with his chief investigator, but said it was inappropriate for Trump to have tried to intervene in the case.
“That was an ongoing investigation,” Raffensperger said. “I don’t believe that an elected official should be involved in that process.”
The Post is withholding the name of the investigator, who did not respond to repeated requests for comment, because of the risk of threats and harassment directed at election officials.
The White House did not respond to requests for comment.
Since Election Day, Trump has made at least three calls to government officials in Georgia in an attempt to subvert President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, beginning with a conversation with Gov. Brian Kemp (R) in early December to berate him for certifying the state’s election results.