The Georgia Republican Party is calling for an investigation into top officials in the secretary of state’s office after numerous reports were found to have attributed fraudulent quotes to former President Donald Trump in a December phone call.
The State Executive Committee of the Georgia GOP passed a resolution last week calling for an investigation into Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs, Secretary of State chief investigator Frances Watson, and others over the scandal. The party announced the resolution on Friday.
“The State Executive Committee of the Georgia Republican Party hereby calls on the Office of the Inspector General of State of Georgia and the appropriate legislative committees of the Georgia General Assembly to investigate the governmental personnel involved in the recording, leaking, and attempted destruction of a Dec. 23 phone call between Trump and Watson,” the resolution says.
“The State Executive Committee of the Georgia Republican Party hereby calls on Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to issue a statement repudiating the reported aforementioned misrepresentation and attempted destruction of evidence and to relieve from power those engaged in this conduct no later than March 24, 2021,” it continues.
Numerous news outlets attributed fraudulent quotes to Trump based on anonymous sourcing familiar with the Dec. 23 phone call. Outlets claimed that Trump had ordered Watson to “find the fraud” and said the investigator would be a “national hero” once she did so. Officials recovered a recording of the phone call through an open records request last week. The recording was found in the electronic trash folder on a device used by Watson.
The Washington Post, the first outlet to misreport the call, posted a lengthy correction to its story after the recording became public. The Post also outed the anonymous source that described the phone call to the Post in January and supplied the outlet with the fraudulent Trump quotes: Deputy Secretary of State Fuchs.
Fuchs defended her actions in a statement to the Post’s media critic Eric Wemple.
“I believe the story accurately reflected the investigator’s interpretation of the call. The only mistake here was in the direct quotes, and they should have been more of a summary,” Fuchs said. “I think it’s pretty absurd for anybody to suggest that the president wasn’t urging the investigator to ‘find the fraud.’ These are quotes that [Watson] told me at the time.”
The recording showed that neither of the quotes attributed to Trump in Dec. 23 phone call were said by the then-president.
“I won everything but Georgia, and I won Georgia, I know that, by a lot, and the people know it, and something happened there, something bad happened,” Trump actually said on the call. “I hope you go back two years as opposed to just checking one against the other because that would just be sort of a signature check that doesn’t mean anything. But if you go back two years, and if you can get to [Fulton County], you are going to find things that are unbelievable. The dishonesty.”
Watson answered: “I can assure you that our team and the [Georgia Bureau of Investigation], that we are only interested in the truth and finding the information that is based on the facts. We’ve been working 12-16 hour days and, you know, we’re working through it. So I can assure you that.”
Toward the end of the call, Trump told Watson that “when the right answer comes out, you’ll be praised.”