Donald Trump's legal team on Friday sought to justify the propriety of a phone call he made to Georgia election officials, an action that is now part of criminal probe into the then-president's actions in the state.
Early last month, Trump called the Georgia secretary of state and pressured him to "find" enough ballots to push Trump to victory there. Trump lost the state narrowly.
Democratic impeachment managers have pointed to the Georgia phone call and Trump's broader efforts to overturn the election as part of the circumstances that led to the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
But Trump attorney Bruce Castor disputed the central claim about the call.
"House managers told you that the president demanded that the Georgia secretary of state 'find' just over 11,000 votes," Castor said. "The word 'find,' like so many others the House managers highlighted, is taken completely out of context.
"It is clear that President Trump's comments and the use of the word 'find' were solely related with the inexplicable, dramatic drop in Georgia's ballot rejection rates," Castor said, before launching into an argument on the interpretation of the word "find."
Trump has faced stinging criticism for his attempts to undermine Georgia's election results — a state he had counted on to secure a second term in the White House. Particularly, Trump pushed Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to overturn the state's results and, when rebuffed, launched an online campaign against the state's election officials, accusing them, without evidence, of ignoring voter fraud.
The Fulton County district attorney's office earlier this week announced an investigation into Trump's conduct in attempting to overturn Georgia's election results.
The investigation will look into several potential violations of state law, including "the solicitation of election fraud, the making of false statements to state and local governmental bodies, conspiracy, racketeering, violation of oath of office and any involvement in violence or threats related to the election's administration."
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