Rep. Ted Lieu spoke with MSNBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin today and told the host why Lieu and fellow member of Congress Kathleen Rice opted to refer Trump’s recent call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to the FBI. (Hint: Because Trump is a gangster doing a bunch of gangster shit. That’s why.)
LIEU: “What I do know is that the Georgia state code is very clear. It is a crime to solicit election fraud, and that’s what Donald Trump did over and over again on this one-hour phone call with the Georgia secretary of state.”
MOHYELDIN: “Yes, so tell us a little bit more about why you and Congresswoman Kathleen Rice of New York decided to refer this to FBI Director Christopher Wray. Have you had any response so far from the FBI that you can share with us?”
LIEU: “Sure, so Congresswoman Rice and I are both former prosecutors, and when we heard that phone call it was very clear to us that crimes had been committed on that call. Specifically under 52 U.S.C. Section 20511, you cannot knowingly and willingly essentially attempt election fraud, and that’s what Donald Trump did when he told the Georgia secretary of state to go find 11,780 votes. That’s a very specific number. That’s one more than he needs to win the state of Georgia. He also told the Georgia secretary of state to recalculate the votes, and both of those statements would constitute an attempt at election fraud.”
Recalculate the votes? You mean like this?
Ah, yes, like I’ve always said: Donald Trump is basically just an evil version of Michael Scott.
And here’s the full text of Lieu and Rice’s letter for the non-tweeterers among us:
Dear Director Wray,
The President of the United States, in an approximately one-hour long phone call, threatened and berated Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find 11,780 votes” to overturn the President’s defeat in the state. Mr. Trump also made a number of other statements soliciting election fraud, such as telling Mr. Raffensperger: “And there’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, um, that you’ve recalculated.” The recording of that phone conversation has been publicly released. As Members of Congress and former prosecutors, 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.
Under 52 U.S.C. § 20511, it is a crime for, “A person, including an election official, who in any election for Federal office … knowingly and willfully deprives, defrauds, or attempts to deprive or defraud the residents of a State of a fair and impartially conducted election process, by … the procurement, casting, or tabulation of ballots that are known by the person to be materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent under the laws of the State in which the election is held.” In this case Mr. Trump, for purposes of a federal election, solicited Secretary of State Raffensperger to procure ballots that are known to be false by threatening him to “find 11,780 votes.”
Under 52 U.S.C. § 10307(a), “No person acting under color of law shall … willfully fail or refuse to tabulate, count, and report such person’s vote.” During the phone conversation, Mr. Trump, under color of law, solicited Secretary of State Raffensperger to re-tabulate or “recalculate” the votes, which would have deprived Georgia voters of the accurate count of their votes.
Under Georgia Code § 21-2-604(a)(1), “A person commits the offense of criminal solicitation to commit election fraud in the first degree when, with intent that another person engage in conduct constituting a felony under this article, he or she solicits, requests, commands, importunes, or otherwise attempts to cause the other person to engage in such conduct.” Here, Mr. Trump solicited Secretary of State Raffensperger to engage in election fraud by requesting that he “find 11,780 votes” and “recalculate” legitimately cast votes and engage in a number of other fraudulent actions. We request that if you believe Mr. Trump also violated state criminal law, that you refer the state violations to the Georgia Attorney General or the appropriate district attorney in Georgia.
The evidence of election fraud by Mr. Trump is now in broad daylight. The prima facie elements of the above crimes have been met. Given the more than ample factual predicate, we are making a criminal referral to you to open an investigation into Mr. Trump. Thank you for your attention to this urgent request.
One might argue that Donald Trump is far too stupid to understand when he’s committing crimes. (To extend the Evil Michael Scott analogy, this kind of reminds me of that episode where Michael kidnapped a pizza delivery boy and didn’t quite understand he was committing a crime until he was called out on it numerous times.) Then again, Trump simply doesn’t care whether he commits crimes, because plebeian trifles like obeying the law, acting with honor, and upholding the rule of law are simply of no concern to him. So whether he knows he’s acting outside the law is moot—because he doesn’t care about the law.
Will this letter to Wray matter—especially with just 16 days to go until we finally crap out this dangerously undercooked suckling pig? Probably not. But it should. In fact, it needs to. Because if we start accepting Trump’s criminality just because we’re nearly rid of him, there simply are no guardrails anymore.
So kudos to Lieu and Rice for holding our government’s feet to the fire. It may not hie Trump out the door before January 20, but it will serve to reestablish the norms that have been shattered by the Abominable Showman and his band of merry lawbreakers.
This guy is a natural. Sometimes I laugh so hard I cry.” — Bette Midler on Aldous J. Pennyfarthing, via Twitter. The first history of the Trump Error is complete! Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump is hot off the presses! Along with Dear Fcking Lunatic: 101 Obscenely Rude Letters to Donald Trump, Dear Prsident A**clown: 101 More Rude Letters to Donald Trump and Dear F*cking Moron: 101 More Letters to Donald Trump, you’ll see the Trump years from a hilarious new perspective. Click those links, yo!