By Mimi Nguyen Ly
Former President Donald Trump issued a lengthy statement following The Washington Post’s correction of a false quote it published in January that claimed he had told Georgia’s top elections investigator in a phone call to “find the fraud.”
Trump in a statement to news outlets said he appreciates the correction but would “further appreciate a strong investigation” into allegations of election fraud in Georgia’s Fulton County, as well as an investigation into what he called the “Stacey Abrams political machine.”
Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller also weighed in on the retraction, saying in a Twitter post, “Time for some other media outlets to correct their fake news coverage of this story as well. You know who you are!”
The Washington Post, known for its prominent anti-Trump slant, issued a correction on March 11 to a story it published in January after an audio recording emerged of a phone call Trump had in December 2020 with an investigator working from Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office.
The correction said the paper’s January story about the call included quotes that didn’t exist in the audio recording.
“The recording revealed that The Post misquoted Trump’s comments on the call, based on information provided by a source. Trump did not tell the investigator to ‘find the fraud’ or say she would be ‘a national hero’ if she did so,” The Washington Post said.
Trump said in the statement Monday via his Save America political action committee (PAC): “The Washington Post just issued a correction as to the contents of the incorrectly reported phone call I had with respect to voter fraud in the Great State of Georgia. While I appreciate The Washington Post’s correction, which immediately makes the Georgia Witch Hunt a non-story, the original story was a Hoax, right from the very beginning.
“I would further appreciate a strong investigation into Fulton County, Georgia, and the Stacey Abrams political machine, which, I believe, would totally change the course of the presidential election in Georgia,” he added.
The president went on to criticize the establishment media. “You will notice that establishment media errors, omissions, mistakes, and outright lies always slant one way—against me and against Republicans. Meanwhile, stories that hurt Democrats or undermine their narratives are buried, ignored, or delayed until they can do the least harm—for example, after an election is over.
“Look no further than the negative coverage of the vaccine that preceded the election and the overdue celebration of the vaccine once the election had concluded,” he added. “A strong democracy requires a fair and honest press. This latest media travesty underscores that legacy media outlets should be regarded as political entities—not journalistic enterprises. In any event, I thank The Washington Post for the correction.”
Georgia made news headlines around the country for multiple allegations of voting irregularities and election fraud. Trump in his Monday statement said there was a lack of proper audits in Fulton County.
“Fulton County has not been properly audited for vote or signature verification,” Trump continued. “They only looked at areas of the State where there most likely would be few problems, and even there they found large numbers of mistakes. We are seeking to find and reveal the large-scale election fraud which took place in Georgia. Many residents agree, and their anger caused them not to turn out and vote for two Republican Senators in the January election.”
Fulton County was where the majority of complaints about potential voting fraud were lodged. In one notable case, video footage emerged of the State Farm Center, a site in the county where vote counting was being done for the 2020 presidential election. The footage showed that in late hours of Nov. 3 and early Nov. 4, election workers continued to wheel out boxes of ballots from under a table and count the ballots after observers and other workers had left the room.
Trump previously announced on Twitter that he had asked Raffensperger about election-related irregularities in Georgia, including in Fulton County, but Raffensperger dismissed the claims.
Trump said, “He was unwilling, or unable, to answer questions such as the ‘ballots under table’ scam, ballot destruction, out of state ‘voters’, dead voters, and more. He has no clue!”
The former president on Monday separately criticized a “consent decree,” a legal settlement that was signed by Raffensperger on March 6, 2020, following a lawsuit by the Democratic Party.
Trump and his lawyers said they think the consent decree weakened signature matching and the ability to verify legal votes for the 2020 election.
Raffensperger disputed Trump’s assertions and told The Associated Press that there is nothing in the consent decree that prevents Georgia election clerks from scrutinizing signatures, adding that not only is it possible to verify signatures, this is required by state law.
When a voter requests an absentee ballot on a paper application, he or she must sign it. Election officials compare that signature to the signature in voter registration files before a ballot is sent to the voter, Raffensperger said. When those ballots are returned, the required signature on the outer envelope is compared to signatures in the voter registration system.
But Doug Collins (R-Ga.) said on Nov. 24, 2020, that once the ballot is taken out of the envelope and separated, there is no way to track the signature to verify whose ballot it is.
Georgia attorney L. Lin Wood, in a lawsuit against Raffensperger, argued that the consent decree is unconstitutional because it didn’t get approval from the state legislature. The U.S. Constitution stipulates that only state legislatures and Congress can prescribe the “times, places, and manner of holding elections.”
The Supreme Court has since denied Wood’s petition to hear the case after it was dismissed in federal court. A district court judge in Georgia said Wood had failed to demonstrate a “substantial likelihood of success” to his claims.
“The Consent Decree signed between Raffensperger and Stacey Abrams was not approved by the Georgia State Legislature, and therefore should be deemed invalid, and the election result changed,” Trump said in his statement on Monday. “Why the Governor [Brian Kemp] and Raffensperger ever approved this Consent Decree is one of the great questions? We look forward to an answer.”
Trump had previously criticized the decree on Twitter on Nov. 14, 2020. He wrote, “The Consent Decree signed by the Georgia Secretary of State, with the approval of Governor @BrianKempGA, at the urging of @staceyabrams, makes it impossible to check & match signatures on ballots and envelopes, etc. They knew they were going to cheat. Must expose real signatures!”
Stacey Abrams, who lost the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election, had made claims of voter suppression. Her organization and the Democratic Party moved to sue the state of Georgia, arguing that minorities were disproportionately affected when they had their ballots rejected in the 2018 gubernatorial election.
Abrams has founded multiple organizations, including Fair Fight 2020, “an initiative to fund and train voter protection teams in 20 battleground states.” Much of that effort has been to expand mail-in voting.
Raffensperger’s office and Abrams did not immediately respond to The Epoch Times’ request for comment.
Tom Ozimek and Masooma Haq contributed to this report.