World

Trump heard on tape urging official to ‘find’ votes for him

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump pressured Georgia's top election official to "find" enough votes to overturn his defeat in the southern state, according to a recording of the hour-long call published by US media on Sunday.

The Saturday call was the latest move in Mr Trump's two-month effort insisting that his loss to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden in the Nov 3 election was the result of widespread voter fraud, a claim that has been widely rejected by state and federal election officials and multiple courts.

The recording of Mr Trump's call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a fellow Republican, was released by The Washington Post.

In it, Mr Trump says: "All I want to do is this: I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.

"There's nothing wrong with saying, you know, that you've recalculated."

Mr Raffensperger and his office's general counsel reject Mr Trump's assertions and tell the President that he was relying on debunked conspiracy theories spread on social media about what was a fair and accurate election.

"Mr President, the challenge that you have is the data you have is wrong," Mr Raffensperger says.

In a separate fraudulent claim, this time on the coronavirus pandemic, Mr Trump claimed the national Covid-19 death toll of more than 350,000 has been exaggerated.

He said the number of cases and deaths were "far exaggerated" because of a "ridiculous method of determination", accusing the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) of a policy of "when in doubt, call it Covid".

In response, top US scientist Anthony Fauci said on ABC that "those are real numbers, real people and real deaths".

Surgeon-General Jerome Adams, who was nominated by Mr Trump, told CNN that he saw no reason to question the numbers from the federal CDC. - REUTERS, AFP

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