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Harris denounces president over 'bold abuse of his power'

:: Vice-president elect claims it was the 'voice of desperation'

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Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris

REUTERS

Kamala Harris

US Vice-president-elect Kamala Harris has denounced remarks Donald Trump made during a phone call with Georgia's Republican secretary of state Brad Raffensperger, in which he pressured him to "find" votes that would overturn the results of the state's presidential election.

The Washington Post obtained a recording of the call, in which the US president repeatedly stated that there was "no way I lost Georgia".

During the call, Mr Trump made threats about criminal consequences and told the secretary of state he would be taking a "big risk" if the votes were not found.

Speaking in Georgia, Ms Harris called Mr Trump's conversation a "bald-faced, bold abuse of power by the president of the United States".

"It was certainly the voice of desperation, most certainly that," she said.

Ms Harris was in Georgia to campaign for Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock ahead of today's Senate run-off elections.

During the call, Mr Trump urged Georgia's election officials to act quickly, and suggested that not doing so could endanger the political fate of senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, both Georgia Republicans.

Condemned

"You would be respected, really respected, if this thing could be straightened out before the election," Mr Trump said.

"You have a big election coming up on Tuesday."

The two Democratic Senate candidates were among those who quickly condemned Mr Trump for the call.

"When the president of the United States calls up Georgia's election officials and tries to intimidate them to change the results of the election, to disenfranchise Georgia voters, that is a direct attack on our democracy," ," Mr Ossoff said.

"If David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler had one piece of steel in their spine, one piece of integrity, they would be out defending Georgia voters from that assault."

In a statement, Mr Warnock called on Ms Loeffler to "speak out against the unsubstantiated claims of fraud, to defend Georgia's elections and to put Georgia ahead of herself".

"She has not and never will," he said.

Pathetic

Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois said the call was "more than a pathetic, rambling, delusional rant".

Mr Trump vaguely threatened Mr Raffensperger and Ryan Germany, who is general counsel for Mr Raffensperger's office, suggesting that they would be subject to criminal liability if they did not find that thousands of ballots in Fulton County were illegally destroyed to block investigators, a baseless allegation.

"You are going to find that they are - which is totally illegal - it is more illegal for you than it is for them, because, you know, what they did and you're not reporting it," he said.

"That's a criminal, that's a criminal offence. And you can't let that happen.

"That's a big risk to you and to Ryan, your lawyer."


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