- The Washington Post on Sunday published a leaked call in which President Donald Trump asked a Georgia official to "find" 11,780 votes so he could overturn the state's presidential election results.
- In the call, Trump also warned that the official may face legal consequences for not investigating election fraud, for which the president provided no convincing evidence.
- Andrew Weissmann, a former prosecutor on Robert Mueller's Russia probe, tweeted that the call contains evidence of criminal intent.
- Legal experts believe that Trump's actions may have violated state and federal laws.
- But the case is far from clear. Attorneys told The New York Times that Trump is unlikely to face legal action due to the difficulty of proving intent.
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Andrew Weissmann, a former prosecutor on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, said there was evidence of "criminal intent" in the leaked phone call between President Donald Trump and Georgia's top election official.
In the call, which was leaked by The Washington Post on Sunday, Trump is heard telling Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to "find" enough votes to overturn President-elect Joe Biden's election win in the state. Biden beat Trump in Georgia by nearly 130,000 votes.
In a tweet Sunday night, Weissmann said: "So many parts of the tape evidence Trump's criminal intent."
Weissmann went on to list the parts of the call, which he claimed included:
- "Lies, and no facts, to support demands."
- "Seeking to find the precise number of votes to win (vs impartial scrub of votes)."
- "Reminding Secy he's a Republican (how is that relevant?)"
- "Reminding him of criminal consequences."
"Then add in the proof of his motive and his pattern of similar activity," Weissmann added.
The White House did not immediately return Insider's request for comment on the call.
Legal experts torn over whether Trump broke laws
Weissmann is one of several legal experts and prosecutors who have said that the explosive leaked call between Trump and Raffensperger violated election laws.
In the call, Trump asked Raffensperger to find an extra 11,780 votes cast for him — which would take him one vote over Biden's winning tally in the state — and warned him of possible criminal charges for not investigating voter fraud.
The Post reported that the only Democrat on Georgia's elections board has called for an investigation of the call for possible civil and criminal violations by the president.
Leigh Ann Webster, an Atlanta criminal defense lawyer, told The New York Times that the call "clearly violates Georgia statutes" against election fraud.
Federal laws can also be used to punish a person who "knowingly and willfully deprives, defrauds, or attempts to deprive or defraud the residents of a State of a fair and impartially conducted election process."
In comments to Politico, attorneys echoed Weissmann's claim that Trump's request for a specific number of votes, and his veiled legal threats, meant the call was in violation of state and federal election laws.
However, some legal experts also told The Times that because Trump did not explicitly declare an intention to follow up on legal threats, and because it would be difficult to prove that he believed he had lost in Georgia and was trying to illegally subvert the result, it was unlikely the president would face prosecution.
Weissmann stepped down from Mueller's investigation — into the links between Russia and the Trump campaign — in March 2019, shortly after the report found no basis for charging Trump with conspiring with Russia to subvert the 2016 election, and declined to reach a judgement on whether he had obstructed justice.
In his book,"Where Law Ends," Weissmann was critical of his former boss, Mueller, for not bringing obstruction charges against Trump.
Read more: EXCLUSIVE: Mueller's 'legal pit bull' Andrew Weissmann discusses Trump, the 2020 election, and Russian interference
Weissmann was the architect of the federal case that saw former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort jailed on financial crimes charges.
Trump pardoned Manafort and other individuals charged as part of the Mueller probe in December.
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