Two Democrats have asked the FBI to open a criminal investigation into US President Donald Trump over a phone call in which he pressurised a top Georgian official to overturn his election defeat.
In the call this weekend, Trump told Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to reverse Joe Biden’s victory in the state, according to recordings published by US media.
Raffensperger rejected Trump’s claims of election fraud, but the call has sparked a fierce backlash over potential electoral interference by the president.
A state Democrat has called for an investigation into whether Trump violated Georgia election law, while Representatives Ted Lieu and Kathleen Rice asked FBI director Christopher Wray to launch a probe.
“We believe Donald Trump engaged in solicitation of, or conspiracy to commit, a number of election crimes. We ask you to open an immediate criminal investigation into the president,” they said in a statement.
For two months Trump has been making baseless claims that his election loss to Biden was the result of widespread voter fraud. Multiple state and federal reviews, as well as court rulings, have rejected the claims as unsupported.
Trump yesterday vowed to “fight like hell” to stay in the White House and posted a series of rambling tweets, many of which were flagged with fact-check warnings.
But the president’s increasingly frantic attempts to overturn the democratic election have cost him the support of some of his most staunchly conservative supporters.
Senator Tom Cotton this week refused to sign a campaign launched by other Republicans to challenge Biden’s victory, warning it was outside of Congress’ power and saying it would “establish unwise precedents”.
US Representative Liz Cheney, who holds the third-highest position in the House Republican leadership, criticised the phone call as “deeply troubling”.
It comes amid reports that Trump could be planning to fly to Scotland to avoid attending Biden’s inauguration.
According to the Sunday Post, Prestwick Airport near Trump’s Turnberry golf resort has been told to expect the arrival of a military Boeing 757 often used by the president on 19 January — a day before Biden will be sworn into office.
The report has fuelled speculation that Trump will shun tradition and refuse to acknowledge his defeat on inauguration day.