Fox News anchor Sandra Smith on Tuesday openly criticized Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger for releasing the recording of President Donald Trump asking him to “find” votes to flip Georgia, telling the Republican state official he may have placed the U.S. in “jeopardy” by exposing the call.
Hours before the polls closed in the pivotal Georgia Senate runoff races, the Fox anchor repeatedly grilled Raffensperger over the large number of absentee ballots and whether he was concerned about illegal and fraudulent voting.
Raffensperger said, “the law is the law” and that state officials made sure to verify signatures, adding that the increase in absentee voting was due to the coronavirus pandemic. He then pivoted to the number of false claims and conspiracies that Trump and his allies have peddled following the president’s decisive loss to President-elect Joe Biden.
“There have been so much false rumors and disinformation that’s been going on it has hurt voter confidence in this election and why President Trump had to come down here and undo the damage that he started,” Raffensperger said. “He has people that supported him telling people not to come out to vote. No, we need people to come out to vote. It is very important.”
The Fox anchor, ostensibly part of the network’s “straight news” roster, claimed that the secretary sounded like he was “getting very political in nature” before suggesting that he released the recording of his call with Trump as an “attack on the president.”
“I will ask you about that leaked phone call now that you had with the president that you have gone on the record with one of my colleagues saying that you thought it was important to leak that phone call,” she noted. “Others might say it was a phone call with the president of the United States. His team is pushing back saying it was a confidential phone call. Why did you decide to leak that?”
Raffensperger said it “wasn’t a confidential conversation,” adding that there was “no preset meeting, lawyer to lawyer,” and it was the president who first took to Twitter to divulge that they had the discussion.
“You have gone on the record saying you believe your numbers will be supported in the court of law,” Smith pushed back. “Why did you go the avenue of leaking a phone call with the president? Don’t you worry about the precedent that sets?”
“The president said we had a phone call. He made it public. He has 80 million Twitter followers. I understand the powers he has behind him. We have 40 thousand. I get all that. He continues to be misled or doesn’t want to believe the facts and we have the facts on our side,” Raffensperger replied.
Smith, however, continued to push the secretary for leaking the call to the press, wondering aloud if he created a full-blown national security issue.
“Why not let it play out in court?” Smith asked. “Why put into jeopardy our country by leaking a phone call of that nature and not just let your numbers and facts play out in the court of law?”
“I don’t understand how truth would jeopardize the country,” the Georgia Republican shot back. “We’re standing on the facts and the truth. We have numbers. Come on by to our office. I have the numbers in front and we’ve posted them yesterday as part of our press conference. They will be part of our filings for the lawsuits.”