WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Both Democrat and Republican lawmakers are raising the alarm following the release of a phone call where President Donald Trump pressured Georgia’s top election official to “find” enough votes to hand Trump the victory.
This comes as Trump has enlisted support from a dozen Republican senators and up to 100 House Republicans to challenge the Electoral College vote when Congress convenes in a joint session to confirm Biden’s 306-232 win. The session will be held Wednesday.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has urged Republicans not to try to overturn the election, while a few other Republican lawmakers have joined Democrats in condemning Trump’s actions.
“The 2020 election is over,” said in a statement Sunday from a bipartisan group of 10 senators, including Republicans Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Mitt Romney of Utah.
“All challenges through recounts and appeals have been exhausted,” the group said in the statement. “At this point, further attempts to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election are contrary to the clearly expressed will of the American people and only serve to undermine Americans’ confidence in the already determined election results.”
Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, of Illinois, was part of the group that issued the statement. Following the release of the phone call recording, Durbin urged for a criminal investigation.
“This disgraceful effort to intimidate an elected official into deliberately changing & misrepresenting the legally confirmed vote totals in his state strikes at the heart of our democracy and merits nothing less than a criminal investigation,” Durbin wrote in a statement on Twitter.
Democratic Reps. Ted Lieu and Kathleen Rice on Monday sent a criminal referral to the FBI over the Georgia tape.
“As Members of Congress and former prosecutors, we believe Donald Trump engaged in solicitation of, or conspiracy to commit, a number of election crimes,” Lieu and Rice wrote in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray. “We ask you to open an immediate criminal investigation into the President.”
Republican Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland said, “The scheme by members of Congress to reject the certification of the presidential election makes a mockery of our system and who we are as Americans.”
Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton said he will not oppose the counting of certified electoral votes on Jan. 6.
“I’m grateful for what the president accomplished over the past four years, which is why I campaigned vigorously for his reelection. But objecting to certified electoral votes won’t give him a second term—it will only embolden those Democrats who want to erode further our system of constitutional government,” Cotton said in a statement.
Cotton said he favors further investigation of any election problems, separate from the counting of the certified Electoral College results.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Sunday his colleagues will have an opportunity to make their case, but they must produce evidence and facts.
“They have a high bar to clear,” he said.
Republican Sen. Josh Hawley has promised to raise objections when Congress meets to affirm Biden’s victory Wednesday. Hawley and Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, of Texas, are leading the effort.
Without giving specifics or evidence, Hawley said he would object because “some states, including notably Pennsylvania” did not follow their own election laws. Lawsuits challenging Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania have been unsuccessful.
“At the very least, Congress should investigate allegations of voter fraud and adopt measures to secure the integrity of our elections,” Hawley said in a statement.
Biden’s transition spokesman, Mike Gwin, dismissed the senators’ effort as a “stunt” that won’t change the fact that Biden will be sworn in Jan. 20.
Biden and Trump are both traveling to Georgia Monday in a final bid to rally votes in the tight runoff elections that will determine which party controls the Senate. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger also has a news conference planned for 2 p.m. EST Monday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. All reporting by Lisa Mascaro, Mary Clare Jalonick, Jeff Amy, Darlene Superville and Kate Brumback of the AP.