DONALD Trump was reportedly dismissed as a prank caller 18 times before he was put through to Georgia's Secretary of State to demand he find him more votes in the state's election.
In recordings of the hour-long phone call, the outgoing president was heard repeatedly telling Brad Raffensperger to locate another 11,780 votes, one more than the margin by which he lost the state in November's ballot.
It came after weeks of unfounded claims by Trump that he only lost the vote because of voter fraud committed by supporters of Democratic victor Joe Biden.
Since the election, Trump has publicly and private pressured numerous senior Republicans to back his attempts to substantiate the claims.
The call to Raffensperger was made on January 2 ahead of a hearing in the Senate on Wednesday to certify the results of the election.
Speaking to the Washington Post, Raffensperger's deputy, Jordan Fuchs, recounted how Trump's call was repeatedly directed to interns in the press office because staff believed it to be a prank.
Trump's chief of staff Mark Meadows reportedly had to intervene and make a number of other calls to Raffensperger's office before the conversation could go ahead.
After Trump was eventually put through, he told Raffensperger: "I won [Georgia] by hundreds of thousands of votes.
"All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have because we won the state.
"There's nothing wrong with saying, you know, that you've recalculated."
Raffensperger is heard repeatedly rebutting Trump's claims about the methods of voter fraud supposedly used in Georgia and telling him the count had been "accurate".
Raffensperger reportedly released the audio of the phone call after Trump disclosed that it had taken place and began attacking him on twitter the following day.
"I spoke to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger yesterday about… voter fraud in Georgia," Trump wrote.
"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!"
Raffensperger replied: "Respectfully, President Trump: What you're saying is not true. The truth will come out."
It came ahead of today's runoff vote in Georgia for the state's two Senate seats, triggered by the failure of any candidate in either seat to secure more than 50 percent of the vote in November's ballot.
Incumbent Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler will face Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock.
If the Democrats win both seats, they will gain overall control of the Senate, meaning the outcome today will have significant implications for the agenda incoming president Joe Biden will be able to pursue.
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