President Donald Trump accused Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger of violating the Espionage Act and other federal laws when he—allegedly—recorded a conference call with the president to discuss vote fraud in his state, and then leaked it to the Washington Post.
But already the tables are turned after a tape emerged Monday that appeared to show Raffensperger begging, not for jurisprudence and legal relief as Trump has over concerns of widespread vote fraud, but for China to help him secure his own narrow political victory.
The audio, reported on by the National File, shows what purports to be Raffensperger thanking supporters while speaking Mandarin at a post-election event for Chinese community members in the district, slightly northeast of Atlanta.
“Thank you so much for supporting me in my election for House District 50,” he said in the message’s English portion.
“It was a close election, and your support was critical for my success,” he continued. “I just wanted to thank you for your support. Good night.”
In 2015, Raffensperger won a special election for the seat in the state legislative body after facing an inter-party challenge from a fellow Republican.
With only 2,861 people participating, he eked out a victory of only 159 votes.
He ran unopposed the following year, and quickly translated those victories into his current role, which foisted him unwittingly into the national spotlight following the state’s widespread vote fraud in the 2020 election.
Raffensperger was criticized early on for kowtowing to Democrats—led by failed gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams—in a February lawsuit that relaxed voting rules.
But his insistence in refusing to acknowledge the vote fraud that transpired has mystified even the president.
“I’m just curious why wouldn’t—why do you keep fighting this thing? It just doesn’t make sense,” Trump said during the conference call with Raffensperger.
He warned of the potential political and legal fallout from his refusal to investigate the evidence, even while Raffensperger and his lawyer refused to let Trump and his team examine the conflicting evidence.
But the political rookie may have more than his own inexperience to account for his mishandling of the election if further evidence reveals that he was being groomed by China for higher office and beholden to it for his political aspirations.
The situation echoes that of Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., a former city council-member who shot onto the House Intelligence Committee and even ran for president with the backing of a Chinese honeytrap spy with whom he allegedly maintained a sexual relationship.
After Swalwell’s scandal broke last month, some speculated that the compromised congressman may just be the “tip of the iceberg.”