“We’ve got to fight for our country,” Trump told Palmer and Hartmann in the recordings. “We can’t let these people take our country away from us,” he said, telling them that they would look “terrible” if they signed the documents to certify the election.
Palmer and Hartmann did not sign the official statement of votes for Wayne County that night. They unsuccessfully attempted to rescind their votes in favor of certification a day later.
RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel was also involved in the call, the Detroit News reported.
“If you can go home tonight, do not sign it. … We will get you attorneys,” McDaniel reportedly told the two canvassers.
“What I said publicly and repeatedly at the time, as referenced in my letter on Nov. 21, 2020, is that there was ample evidence that warranted an audit,” McDaniel, a resident of Wayne County, told the Detroit News in a statement. She did not dispute the facts of the call as outlined.
A spokesperson for the RNC declined to provide further comment.
“All of President Trump’s actions were taken in furtherance of his duty as President of the United States to faithfully take care of the laws and ensure election integrity, including investigating the rigged and stolen 2020 Presidential Election. President Trump and the American people have the Constitutional right to free and fair elections,” Steven Cheung, a spokesperson for the former president, said in a statement to POLITICO.
According to the Detroit News, the recording was made by an individual present with Palmer and Hartmann during the call.
Trump faces several federal charges of election interference in the 2020 presidential election. He has also been indicted in Georgia over his attempts to overturn his loss in the statewide election, including an infamous recorded phone call to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which Trump said he wanted him to “find 11,780 votes” — or one more than the margin of defeat.
Michigan’s attorney general in July filed forgery and other felony charges against 16 Republican activists who signed papers after the 2020 election falsely indicating they were the duly appointed presidential electors for the state.
The case filed by Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, represented the first criminal charges related to efforts by Trump allies to designate alternate slates of electors.
The scheme would ultimately become the basis for Trump’s last-ditch bid to remain in power, an effort to create a contest or crisis when Congress met to tally up the Electoral College votes and certify Joe Biden’s victory on Jan. 6, 2021.
Trump used the existence of those “competing” slates of electors to pressure his vice president, Mike Pence, to block Biden’s election.
Michigan election officials Joe Biden’s 154,000-vote victory in the state on Nov. 23, 2020.