Trump Repeats Debunked Election Claims in Call With Georgia Official

President Trump, in an hourlong telephone call with Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, repeated a number of false and misleading claims about election results in the state that have been circulating on social media. Here’s a fact check.

What Mr. Trump Said

“Then it was stuffed with votes. They weren’t in an official voter box, they were in what looked to be suitcases or trunks, suitcases but they weren’t in voter boxes. The minimum number it could be because we watched it and they watched it certified in slow motion instant replay if you can believe it, but it had slow motion and it was magnified many times over, and the minimum it was 18,000 ballots, all for Biden.”

False. Mr. Trump was most likely referring to debunked claims that a water leak at a vote counting location in Fulton County forced an evacuation and made it possible for trunks full of ballots to be rolled in. Election officials have said and surveillance videos show that this did not happen.

A water leak caused a delay for about two hours in vote counting at the State Farm Arena, but no ballots or equipment were damaged. Georgia’s chief election investigator, Frances Watson, testified that a “review of the entire security footage revealed that there were no mystery ballots that were brought in from an unknown location and hidden under tables.”

Throughout the phone call, Mr. Trump also repeatedly suggested that an election worker seen in the surveillance videos “stuffed the boxes” and “they thought she’d be in jail” — referring to a baseless conspiracy theory promoted on social media.

What Mr. Trump Said

“There were no poll watchers there. There were no Democrats or Republicans. There was no security there.”

This is misleading. Election observers and journalists were present at State Farm Arena when the water leak occurred. They were not asked to leave, Ms. Watson said, but simply “left on their own” when they saw one group of workers, who had completed their task, leave.

What Mr. Trump Said

“So dead people voted. And I think the number is close to 5,000 people.”

False. The actual number was two, Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state, told the president in the call.

What Mr. Trump Said

“You had out-of-state voters — they voted in Georgia but they were from out of state — of 4,925.”

This is misleading. Ryan Germany, the chief counsel for Mr. Raffensperger’s office, refuted this description in the call.

“Everyone we’ve been through are people that lived in Georgia, moved to a different state, but then moved back to Georgia legitimately,” he said. “They moved back in years ago. This was not like something just before the election. So there’s something about that data that, it’s just not accurate.”

What Mr. Trump Said

“In Fulton County and other areas — and this may or may not be true, because this just came up this morning — that they are burning their ballots, that they are shredding ballots, shredding ballots and removing equipment. They are changing the equipment on the Dominion machines, and you know that’s not legal.”

False. Mr. Trump was likely referring to images of Fulton County ballots that circulated on social media and posted by a supporter, Patrick Byrne, the former chief executive of Overstock.

The photos showed piles of ballots that were visibly not filled out and wrapped in plastic. Mr. Byrne characterized the ballots as “counterfeit” and said they were later shredded.

But those images were simply of emergency backup ballots, said Gabriel Sterling, a Republican official who is the voting system implementation manager in Georgia. State law requires counties to prepare additional paper ballots in case voting machines cannot be used.

Dominion Voting Systems, which has been the subject of countless conspiracy theories and false rumors, did not remove any machinery from Fulton County, Mr. Germany told the president.

What Mr. Trump Said

“In Detroit, we had 139 percent of the people voted. That’s not too good. In Pennsylvania, they had well over 200,000 more votes than they had people voting.”

False. About 51 percent of registered voters and 38 percent of the entire population cast a ballot in Detroit.

The figure for Pennsylvania was a reference to faulty analysis conducted by state Republican lawmakers. The analysis relied on a voter registration database that Pennsylvania's Department of State said was incomplete as a few counties — including Philadelphia and Allegheny Counties, the two largest in the state — had yet to fully upload their data. The department called the analysis “obvious misinformation.”

What Mr. Trump Said

“She got you to sign a totally unconstitutional agreement, which is a disastrous agreement. You can’t check signatures. I can’t imagine you’re allowed to do harvesting, I guess, in that agreement.”

False. This was an inaccurate reference to a settlement between Georgia and the Democratic Party. Under the March settlement, officials must notify voters whose signatures were rejected within three business days and give them the chance to correct issues. It does not bar officials from verifying signatures and does not allow “harvesting,” or collecting and dropping off ballots in bulk.

“Harvesting is still illegal in the state of Georgia. And that settlement agreement did not change that one iota,” Mr. Raffensperger said in the call.

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