New Orleanians react to Trump’s phone call seeking to overturn his certified defeat in Georgia

Updated: Jan. 4, 2021 at 6:00 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A local organization that pushed to expand absentee voting opportunities in Louisiana for the fall elections, a constitutional law expert and political pundits reacted to President Donald Trump pressuring Georgia’s elections officials to “find” thousands of votes that would benefit him and overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s win in the peach state.

Morgan Shannon is with the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice which was part of a federal lawsuit challenging limitations to absentee voting in Louisiana for the fall presidential and congressional elections.

“We don’t get into partisan politics what I will say is that we think that elections should be free and fair,” said Shannon.

Trump held a lengthy call with Georgia’s elections officials on Saturday and repeated claims that there was widespread voter fraud which has not been proven in court or elsewhere.

“So look. 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,” said Trump.

At one point, Trump said to Secretary Brad Raffensperger.” So, so tell me, Brad, what are we going to do?”

Raffensperger insisted during the call that the information Trump and his team pointed to as proof of election fraud is flawed.

“Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is the data you have is wrong,” said Raffensperger.

Shannon said claims that the election was ripe with fraud undermines faith in democracy and will cause groups like the Coalition for Equity and Justice to work harder to dispel myths.

“It’s very concerning we see things like this when we see elected officials involved in the election because it further cements to people that elections aren’t free and fair and they are free and fair,” she said.

Prof. Emeritus Keith Werhan of Tulane University is a constitutional law expert who weighed in on the Trump call and the pressure the president exerted on Georgia’s elections officials.

“Arguably the phone call violated Georgia’s state election law as well as federal election law,” said Werhan. “It’s clearly election tampering, it’s perhaps actionable as election fraud; because he seemed to threaten criminal prosecution it might be actionable as extortion but again most fundamentally to me it’s a subversion of the electoral process.”

Werhan also worked in the U.S. Justice Department’s civil division. He called Trump’s actions unconscionable.

“To attempt to stronghold state and local officials to basically falsify the electoral results is constitutionally unconscionable. The system literally cannot survive a successful attempt to do that,” said Werhan.

FOX 8 contacted all members of Louisiana’s congressional delegation for comment on Trump’s call to the Georgia officials but so far none has responded.

The chair of the Louisiana Republican Party Louis Gurvich said he had no comment one way or the other on the matter.

Mike Sherman is FOX 8′s political analyst. He believes Trump is trying everything he can to remain in office but says it will not work and noted that Trump’s claims have not stood up in courts across the country.

“Republican secretaries of state, Trump-appointed judges, over 50 lawsuits, Joe Biden is president-elect and that is who Congress will certify. These political antics will not change anything,” said Sherman.

Dr. Robert Collins is a Dillard University political analyst. Collins spent years working on Capitol Hill for two now-former U.S. senators.

“I don’t think that the phone call will make any difference in how people vote on Capitol Hill on the certification vote because members have pretty much already made up their mind on that,” said Collins.

Sen. John Kennedy and Rep. Clay Higgins of Louisiana say they will object to the electoral college’s results that say Biden won the election.

Some Democrats are calling for investigations into demands Trump placed on Georgia officials.

“The calls for investigations into President Trump are also symbolic. There are not ways to investigate a sitting president with this little time left on his term,” said Sherman.

Trump carried Louisiana during the November presidential contest and four years earlier and Collins says because of that it is not in the political best interest of GOP congressmen in Louisiana to take on the president over his unproven election claims.

“Right now, the polling data is showing that the majority of Republican voters believe that there was fraud in the election,” said Collins. “This is just a question of playing to their base.”

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