The damning phone call recording of ex-President Donald Trump trying to push Frances Watson, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s top elections investigator, into reversing his electoral defeat was reportedly found in Watson’s digital trash folder before it became public.
CNN confirmed that officials in Raffensperger’s office discovered the recording in a trash folder on Watson’s device.
The Washington Post mentioned that detail when it reported on the tape last week (which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal). State officials initially told the Washington Post and CNN that they didn’t believe that a tape of the call existed. It was reportedly found when they were responding to a public records request.
It is unclear why the recording was found there, and it remains unknown when the call file was moved to the trash. TPM has reached out to Raffensperger’s office and will update upon receiving a response.
The bombshell tape revealed that during the call, which took place on December 23, Trump urged Watson to dig up nonexistent evidence of voter fraud amid his attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia, where he was defeated by now-President Joe Biden.
“When the right answer comes out, you’ll be praised,” Trump told her while peddling his self-victimizing lies about being the true winner of the election.
“The people of Georgia are so angry at what happened to me, they know I won,” he said (he did not win).
The conversation came before Trump targeted Raffensperger himself in another shocking call in early January in which he demanded that the secretary of state “find” the votes needed to steal the election from Biden. The then-president also publicly tried to bully Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) into legitimizing his bogus allegations of voter fraud.
Georgia’s Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has opened a criminal investigation into Trump and his allies’ attacks on the state’s election results. A grand jury has been empaneled to weigh charges in the case.
Willis sent letters to Georgia officials in February ordering them to keep documents related to the 2020 election, particularly those that may show evidence of election interference.