A Fox News contributor suggested that Donald Trump's call to Georgia election officials asking them to "find votes" was simply a request for a recount and not an attempt to subvert the state's election results.
In the wake of Mr Trump's fourth indictment — this time in Fulton County, Georgia, where he is accused of trying to reverse the state's 2020 presidential election results — Fox News contributor and George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley offered an assessment of why the charges against the former president are bogus.
“I think this is criminalizing the challenging of elections,” he said during Thursday night's edition of Hannity on Fox News. “Basically, you have a Democratic prosecutor saying, ‘How dare you challenge a Democratic victory?'”
He then went on to suggest that Mr Trump's request "to find 11,780 votes" following the presidential election in Georgia was simply his sincere belief that the election could have "been flipped with a recount."
"You know, it makes perfect sense when you’re challenging an election to say, you know, “I only need around 11,000 votes.” So, if you do a statewide review, that’s not a lot in a state like Georgia," he said. "That’s not criminal. That’s making a case for a recount."
He also called Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis' case rooted in "bias" and "unfairness."
However, as Semafor's Dave Weigel pointed out on X/Twitter, the timeline of events raises awkward questions over Mr Turley's interpretation of events.
Turley, as usual, is wrong.
Nov. 11: Raffensperger starts audit
Nov. 19: Audit finishes, Biden wins
Nov. 20: Election certified for Biden
Nov. 21: Trump requests recount
Dec. 7: Biden wins recount
Dec. 14: Electors vote
Jan. 2: Trump "find votes" callhttps://t.co/qo8aPDyeVz
— David Weigel (@daveweigel) August 25, 2023
He notes that the Georgia election was certified as a win for Joe Biden on 20 November. Mr Trump asked for a recount the following day. On 7 December, Mr Biden won the recount. A week later, the electors voted to certify the recount. Then, on 2 January — well over a month since he requested a recount — Mr Trump asked Georgia election officials to "find votes."
Mr Turley wasn't the only one trying to push the "recount" narrative. Fox News' legal analyst Gregg Jarrett made a similar argument on the same show.
He said that Mr Trump was "demanding a recount and a review, which by the way, [Georgia Secretary of State] Brad Raffensperger has a duty to do."
"So, he's asking him, 'do your duty,'" Mr Jarrett argued.
A jury will ultimately decide what Mr Trump meant when he asked, after two recounts, for election officials in Georgia to "find" enough votes for him to win the state.