Fulton County investigators have another recording of a Trump phone call pressuring a Georgia official
Fulton County investigators have an audio recording of a phone call that former President Donald Trump made to the Georgia House speaker to push for a special session to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in the state, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The Fulton County special grand jury, which investigated Trump’s actions in the state after the 2020 election, heard the recording of Trump’s call to David Ralston, according to five of the jurors who spoke anonymously to the AJC. A source confirmed to CNN the existence of the recording, which hasn’t been made public.
The recording adds to what’s known about the pressure campaign by Trump and his allies on Georgia officials. It’s the third audio recording of the former president’s phone calls to Georgia officials that is known to exist.
The special grand jury recently concluded its work and recommended multiple indictments, according to the foreperson who has spoken out publicly. Now it’s up to Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to make charging decisions.
Ralston, who died last year, described his December 2020 call with Trump during an interview the following day.
Trump “would like a special session of the Georgia General Assembly,” Ralston said. “He’s been clear on that before, and he was clear on that in the phone conversation yesterday. You know I shared with him my belief that based on the understanding I have of Georgia law that it was going to be very much an uphill battle.”
According to the Georgia Constitution, not only can the governor convene a special session, the General Assembly can call itself into a special session, though that requires the signatures of 3/5 of the Georgia House.
Former US Sen. David Perdue, a staunch Trump ally from Georgia, also requested a special session be convened during a meeting in December 2020 at Truist Park, where the Atlanta Braves play. Gov. Brian Kemp, Perdue and former Sen. Kelly Loeffler, the state’s other US senator at the time, and their aides attended.
Perdue did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.
And Trump pressured Kemp in late 2020 to convene a special session to overturn Biden’s victory, and to order an audit of mail-in ballots. Kemp rejected Trump’s request for a special session, and said that he did not have the power to order a separate audit of mail-in ballots.
There is also a recording of Trump’s call to a top investigator with the Georgia secretary of state’s office in December, 2020, while they were looking into allegations of irregularities with signature-matching in Cobb County, in the Atlanta metropolitan area.
In that phone call, Trump urged the investigator to look for fraud in the 2020 presidential election, telling her that she would be “praised” for overturning results that were in favor of Biden. Audit results in Cobb County found no fraudulent ballots or wrongdoing.
The special grand jury investigation was launched by the Fulton County district attorney after audio was made public of an infamous hour-long phone call in which Trump pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” the exact number of votes needed to overturn Biden’s victory and suggested that he publicly announce that he “recalculated” the election results.
The Fulton County probe expanded beyond the Trump phone calls to include false claims of election fraud to state lawmakers, the fake elector scheme, efforts by unauthorized individuals to access voting machines in one Georgia county and threats and harassment against election workers.
The special grand jury met for roughly seven months in Atlanta and heard testimony from 75 witnesses, including some of Trump’s closest advisers from his final weeks in the White House.
Trump, who has launched his 2024 campaign for the White House, denies any criminal wrongdoing. He has claimed that Willis, a Democrat, is politically biased, and still regularly promotes the false claim that he actually won the election in Georgia.
Willis suggested in January that her decision on whether to bring charges is “imminent.”
CORRECTION: This headline has been updated to reflect that Trump made the call to a Georgia state official.