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Image: Brad Raffensperger
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks during a news conference, in Atlanta on Nov. 11, 2020.Brynn Anderson / AP

When Raffensperger said, 'The truth will come out,' he wasn't kidding

In effect, Raffensperger and his attorney believed it was likely that Trump would do something improper during this phone meeting, so they recorded it.


Yesterday morning, Donald Trump published a tweet lashing out at Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R), acknowledging a conversation the two had on Saturday. After the president accused him of being "unwilling, or unable, to answer questions" about assorted conspiracy theories, Raffensperger responded with a tweet of his own: "Respectfully, President Trump: What you're saying is not true. The truth will come out."

Soon after, the truth did come out -- in the form of an audio recording of the 62-minute phone meeting.

Initially, there was a fair amount of speculation as to who was responsible for making the tape. After all, there were quite a few people participating in the meeting, including lawyers and White House officials.

But it appears the mystery didn't last long. Politico reported on what transpired shortly before the scandalous conversation.

It started on Saturday when Trump and his team reached out to talk to Raffensperger, who, according to an adviser, felt he would be unethically pressured by the president. Raffensperger had been here before: In November he accused Trump ally and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham of improperly exhorting him to meddle in the election to help Trump win Georgia. Graham later denied it. So why not record the call with the president, Raffensperger’s advisers thought, if nothing else for fact-checking purposes.

One source from the Georgia secretary of state's office told Politico, in reference to the president, “This is a man who has a history of reinventing history as it occurs. So if he’s going to try to dispute anything on the call, it’s nice to have something like this, hard evidence, to dispute whatever he’s claiming about the secretary. Lindsey Graham asked us to throw out legally cast ballots. So yeah, after that call, we decided maybe we should do this.”

CNN had a related report, adding that Raffensperger "told his advisers he did not want the recording or a transcript of the call released unless Trump attacked him or misrepresented the call." Evidently, once the president lied yesterday morning about the phone meeting, all bets were off.

This context is directly relevant to understanding the bigger picture. In effect, Raffensperger and his attorney, painfully aware of the political conditions, believed it was awfully likely that Trump would do something improper during this phone meeting. Recording it was the Georgia Republican's way of having an official record of possible crimes.

To no one's surprise, Trump proved those expectations true.