tv The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN January 4, 2021 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
"situation room," and we are following breaking news. election officials in georgia are debunking president trump's conspiracy theories in the call to the secretary of the state demanding that he finds votes to overturn his loss. and he accused one of the allies of intentionally misleading the state senate and the voters and the people of the united states, and we are also following breaking news from the joe biden campaign swing in georgia ahead of the crucial senate runoffs and rallying the voters telling them they have the power to decide the control of the u.s. senate. and breaking pandemic news as well. the u.s. coronavirus death toll is now surged past 352,000 with more than 20.7 million confirmed cases as the cdc releases di dismal new data on 15 million
doses of the vaccine have been distributed around the country, but get this, only 4.5 million americans have so far been vaccinated. let's start the coverage this hour with the chief white house correspondent jim acosta who has more on the president's truly outrageous pressure campaign to overturn the election results. the latest? >> that is right, the attempted shakedown of the georgia secretary of state has some of his supporters concerned of what he shgois going to do next, and is saying that he is being fed constant information that is saying that he is acting like a dictator who wants to burn things down on the way out. and so one said that they are playing whack-a-mole knocking down the president's false claims. >> reporter: one day after the
president's unhinged attempt to fix the president's allegations of bogus conspiracy theories. >> this is all easily provably false. yet, the president persists. i will admit when i listened to the audio of the phone call and the president brought it up again and i heard it on the radio ad again, i wanted to scream. >> reporter: still scrambling, the scam is going into a term that the president is lashing out to members of his party who will not join n and he saying that it is going in as weak and ineffective guardians of the nation who are not willing to accept the weak and fraudulent numbers and some of the gop can't believe their ears after he called the secretary of the state calling him cooking up the numbers of the state. >> look, all i want to do is this, i want to find 11,780
votes which is one more than we have, because we won the state. so what are we going to do here? i only need 11,000 votes. fellows, i need 11,000 votes. give me a break. >> reporter: the white house has tried to call him 18 times before the one-hour conversation. >> the people of georgia are angry, and the people of the united states are angry, and therei is nothing wrong with saying that you have recalculated. >> the problem is that the data that you have is wrong. >> i wanted to make my points that the data is wrong. he said that hundreds and hundreds of people are dead, and we found two. >> reporter: and some said that the people siding with the president and calculating the numbers have issues with the call. >> one of the things that i think that everyone has said is that this call was not a helpful call. >> other republicans like tom
cotton are refusing to join the effort saying that under the constitution, and federal law, congress' law is restricted to the states, and that is something that republicans will not forget. and mike pence will preside over the count side stepped the event. >> i promise you come this wednesday, we will have our day in congress, and we will hear the objections, we'll hear the evidence, but tomorrow is georgia's day. >> reporter: all living former u.s. defense secretaries said it is over for president trump and the time for opposition has passed. tell that to josh hawley who is leading the charge in congress this week, and the kind of
action that he once slammed in president trump's impeachment. >> the kind of overturning the election because you don't like the result and you believe that the election is somehow corrupted when in fact the evidence shows it was not. >> reporter: and add to that susan collins who once said that the president once learned his lesson over the impeached phone call. >> i believe that the president has learned from this case. the president has been impeached. that is a pretty big lesson. >> reporter: the president is expected to campaign for the georgia's endangered senators this evening. we will see if the president is going to answer some questions on the way to georgia, but the president may want to consider how long he linger, because the fulton county district attorney said that she found the president's call disturbing, and
she will enforce the law without fear or favor. >> and the president did not clearly learn that he was impeached by the u.s. house of representatives. all right. thank you very much. >> no, he did not. >> and now, we want to go to joe biden's last campaign stop before the election, and we will like to go to see that joe biden would like to desperately secure the message. >> well, the message is simple. get out there and vote for the democrats in tomorrow's senate runoffs. the president-elect's goal is to motivate the same voters who turned out for him in november to help flip the state from red to blue, and so much of what the president is hoping to accomplish, and the agenda that he promoted in the campaign, health care, immigration, and climate change hinges on the
result of the senate runoffs which is going to determine control of the senate. listen to the message in front of the georgia voters today. >> you voted in record numbers in november. your voices were heard. your votes were count and the will of the people prevailed and we won three times here. we need you to vote again in record numbers. to make your voices heard again, and again to change georgia, to change america again. and this is not an exaggeration, georgia, the whole nation is looking to you. the power, the power is literally in your hands unlike any time in my career. one state, one state can chart the course not just for the next four years, but for the next generation generation. >> now, while campaigning here in atlanta, the president-elect
made no mention of that explosive phone call president trump had with georgia state officials as he attempted to pressure them to change the results of the election here in the state. and the only comment that has come so far has come from the vice president elect kamala harris who called that phone call an abuse of power, but he did talk about the senators needing to be aware of the abuse of power. >> you have two senators who think that their loyalty is to the president and not the trump. two senators who they think they have sworn an oath to donald trump and not to the united states constitution, and let me tell you something. i have been elected when i was 29 years old and six more times from the state of delaware and let me tell you something, not once did i think that i took a oath to any democrat or republican, and i took a oath to the united states constitution.
>> reporter: and those comments are also coming as a group of republicans in the house and senate are planning to reject to the election results. and he is calling it a stunt. >> and there is a swipe for the continued absence of the very latest surge of covid cases here in the united states. tell us about that. >> well, the president-elect has not been shy in expressing his criticism of the president's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, and today he took particular aim when it comes to the distribution of vaccination, and something that he has said has been far behind pace of what the administration had initially projected. take a listen to his comments earlier today. >> i have said it before. getting america vaccinated is going to be one of the difficult
operational challenges that this nation has ever faced. but we have known it for the last months. this administration has gotten off to a god awful start. the president spends more time whining and complaining than doing something about the problem. i don't know why he still wants the job. he doesn't want to do the work. >> reporter: now the president-elect himself has promised there will be 100 million vaccine shots in the first 100 days in office and so much of what he is hoping to accomplish is going to be based on the early groundwork of the trump administration sets when it comes to the vaccine distribution, wolf. >> so much at stakes, arlette, thank you. and now we go to manu raw ju, and ryan nobles, and abbey, as the president is continuing the push to fight the results, the georgia election result, gabriel sterling knocked down
the claims of voter fraud put out by the president and his allies and sterling being a republican, watch this. >> the reason i am having to stand here today is because there are people of positions of authority and respect have said that their votes didn't count, and it is not true. the president's legal team had the entire tape and watched the entire tape and intentionally misled the state senate and voters of the united states about this. they say 4,223 people who voted without being registered and let's be clear, you can't do that. and the number of over 6,000 people voting under age 18, and you can't do that. the and again, there is no shredding of the ballots going on, and that is not real. it is not happening. a potential hacking of the dominion equipment in a hearing last week did not happen. and the senato r raffensperger
does not have a brother, and that is not true. this is false. and yet the president persists. >> and abbey, will any of this amount of very, very serious and excellent fact-check change the president's mind for that mat e e -- matter or change that of those in congress? >> no, i don't belief that the president cares what the truth is because as gabriel stewart laid out, this is available to him and his attorneys and they could easily find this information and just ask gabriel sterling or brad raf fenfensper about this. and as for capitol hill, they
want it both ways on this, and they don't want to deal with the fact that the things that the president are saying is not true, and they are saying that people are having problems and by doing that, they can back these falsehoods, but the reality is that we all know that this is completely invented and completely made-up, and the people supporting it are doing so willfully, because the accurate information is out there, and it is on the table that he put out there, and that gabriel sterling put out there, and easily accessible, and none of the people are interested about this, and it is about politics and political power and showing the president that they have his back so that he can have theirs. >> and manu, that georgia election official gabriel sterling is a life-long republican, and we are seeing a small group of republicans in congress now publicly rebuke the president's efforts to have congress reject the election results, and this is dramatic potentially significant and tell
us about it. >> yes, there are a small group of republicans, and it is a small group. one of them is the three republican in the house, and republican leadership liz cheney who said it is deeply troubling what the president has done and everybody should listen to hour-long phone call that has been leaked to the press, and we publish and otheed and others d well, but pat toomey said that the conservatives are targeting it, and calling the president's phone call a new low, but it is a small group. i tried to ask kevin mccarthy the house leader if he has any concerns about the call, and if he is okay with the call to the georgia secretary of state, and he would not respond to questions about that, and he did say earlier on fox that the president had concerns about the integrity of the election, and he seems to be backing up the president's claims here. and other republicans also defended the president including the ones who are leading that charge on the house floor, and
congress jim jordan of ohio who told me that this is not going to affect the amount of support that he is ultimately going to get wednesday when it is time for the joint session of congress to count to electoral votes, and he is anticipating a sizable amount of republicans to join hands on this, and we are clearly seeing a split within the party about whether or not they should try to overturn the election, and more republicans are raising concerns publicly about the effort, and we expect probably close to a majority of the house republicans to get on the size, and on the house side, and a minority will vote to overturn it, and house speaker rob portman and other allies like tom cotton are concerned, and while this effort is not going to succeed, it is unclear, wolf, it is doubtful that this phone call that the president made to the georgia secretary of state is going to change much
for the supporters on the hill. >> and we will see. and ryan, what sort of role is all of this playing in georgia where you are, and the two senate runoff races are tomorrow, and they will determine who has control of the majority in the u.s. senate, and lot at stake. >> you know, in many ways, wolf, this phone call continues a theme that has been happening for the entire georgia runoff and that is the republican candidates forced the deal with president trump's unpredictability and inconsistently and goes with the immediately claiming that the election here was a fraud and to back out of the omnibus spending bill and wanting $2,000 checks and the decision to veto the national defense authorization act and at every turn these republican candidates who have worked so hard to stay in line with president trump have found themselves in a difficult spot trying to explain exactly where they stand. what we have found, wolf, at
every turn when given a choice, they connect themselves close to donald trump, and that happened this time around as well. and senator david perdue has said that not anything negative about the president's comments to the secretary of state, and instead, complaining that the secretary of state recorded that phone call, and kelly loeffler refused to talk about it at all when pressed by the reporters several times today. and you know, wolf, i was at an event with the vice president mike pence who leaned into the conspiracy theories and a number of republican voters who left the event and very few of them even knew about the secretary of state call and when i told them about it, it did not seem to bother them, so it is clear that the republican candidates believe that the best way to win is to stick close to president trump. >> interesting. abbey, one of the advisers actually compared president trump to a dictator who wants to burn it to the ground on the way out of the door, and what could that signal in the final 16 days
of the trump presidency? >> buckle up. we have a long way to go between now and january 20th. this president is, i think, growing more desperate to try anything that he can to extend his time in the white house, even though that is not possible. but this call is just the latest effort that he has made to try to do, i think even more egregious things to try to get officials around the country to do his bidding on this, and then beyond that, we are waiting on the pardons and waiting to see what he is going to do when it comes to the family members or himself or any kind of criminal liability, and between now and january 20th, you will see him more desperate as the opportunities to kind of throw a wrench in the system dwindle, and wednesday is one of the final times that after that, you will see him perhaps get more desperate. >> yes, these final 16 days could be quite, quite intense. all right. standby, because there is more news that we are following. i will speak to republican adam
kinsinger about the latest scheme to overturn the election here in the united states. and new york state just confirmed the first case of the extremely contagious covid strain of the u.k., and will it make the hospitalizations in the u.s. even worse? with medicare advantage plans designed for the whole you, we offer monthly plan premiums starting at $0. hospital, medical and prescription drug coverage, in one simple plan. plus dental, vision and hearing. aetna medicare advantage plans. call today to learn more or to be connected to a local agent in your community and we'll send you a $10 visa reward card with no obligation to enroll.
the breaking news of officials in georgia slamming president trump for the disgraceful phone call demanding that the secretary of state of georgia find enough votes to overturn the election defeat, and this is as the president continues to lash out at lawmakers who continue to play along with the scheme. with that, i want to bring in
republican congressman adam kinsinger, and you probably saw today that the president tweeted this and let me put it up on the screen and read it. the surrender caucus within the republican party is going to go down as weak and ineffective guardians of the nation who were unwilling to accept the fraudulent presidential numbers. is that what you are, part of the surrender caucus? >> no, certainly not, and if he calls us the surrender caucus, i would actually say that what we are doing is fighting, and fighting to uphold even in difficult circumstances the constitution of the united states and the will of the people. the president had plenty of opportunity over the last number of weeks to prove his case in court. that wasn't done. no court case happened. all of these things that are being thrown out on twitter that supposedly prove fraud are later proving to be fraudulent
themselves. and what we need to do now is to get away from this desire that some politicians have to just avoid the pain of having to tell, you know, their base or the district what they don't think they want to hear, and just tell them the truth. when the truth comes out, the people want to hear it, but when nobody is saying the truth, people are confused, and they don't know who to believe and they believe who they trust. >> but it is so totally outrageous, congressman, is that 140 of your fellow house republicans are expected to vote against counting the electoral college results and the electoral votes when the house and senate convene, and have you had private conversations with the colleagues of yours and have you tried to make the case to them for all practical purposes, this is outrageous? >> yeah, look. we have had, and it has been really the center of everything that we have been talking about since we have been out here in
d.c., and i am hopeful for what is 140 is going to be less, and that we have stemmed the tide a little bit, and just in having these discussions, and that said, if it is 100 or 50, it is way too many, but if we can do less, that is good. the bottom line is this, is president trump ran a race, and he lost. all of the evidence is that he lost. every state which has the final authority in terms the of certification, they have certified the results, and it is not the role of the congress of the united states to determine whether or not we like what they sent, but it is our job to simply determine that they sent electors to us. >> yeah, all 50 states and d.c., and you are absolutely right, they did certify the results of the election, and biden won by more than 7 million votes, and then the electoral college convened virtually and reaffirmed the votes and 306 and 232 for trump, and trump the
loser, and biden is the wirnner and ultimately the guardrails will hold, but this push to overturn the election by the president and the supporters in the house and the senate may be bumbling and futile, but is that still essentially a coupe attempt? >> i think that, i don't want to say coupe, because in my position, that is a set of thing, the but i do believe it is an attempt to overthrow the will of the people, and it is one thing to be concerned about voter fraud, and everybody is concerned about voter fraud, and we want to go after it when we can, but to make accusations that 20,000 votes that were just for biden and you see that is not true or there is an explanation because the trump votes were uploaded in the second tranche and then to confuse them, and the most dangerous part is that we know
that president-elect biden is going to be the president, but the damage that is done in the trust to the institutions out here can be long-term or short-term detrimental and it is the only thing, the only thing that makes a constitutional republic work is the understanding that we can have transfers of power, and when we can all trust each other with the will of the people, and when that starts to be violated, it is damaging. >> and what really worries me is the potential god forbid of violence. the washington of washington, d.c., has asked for the national guard to be mobilized wednesday here, because demonstratistratidemonstrationse about to begin against the election result and there could be significant violence and how worried are you, because you are a military man, and how worried are you that what the president is inspiring could lead to significant violence not only around the nation's capitol but
around the country? >> i am worried. we saw violence in the summer, and we could see violence tomorrow, and potentially, and i hope not. but what is happening now instead of the people expressing themselves by making arguments or having discussions are expressing themselves that way, but what i am concerned about is that you can go on the twitter, and somebody has 500,000 or 1 million followers and telling you that they know that donald trump won, and the government is or the deep state or, you know, the satanist pedophiles that q anonbelieves runs the government is going to overthrow and take int to their own hands, and the president knows better, and the leaders know better, and so it is much easier to avoid the truth, because you don't want to be swamped by the twitter mob. >> you would think that the president of the united states does not want to calm things down, but he is doing the opposite right now. congressman, kenzinger, thank
you for everything that you are doing, and thank you for joining us. >> thank you. happy new year. >> happy new year. >> and now, officials are telling us that a more contagious strain of the coronavirus is now in new york state. and now, ron desantis is going to tell us how the slow and chaotic roll out of the vaccine was a slow and heated exchange. you will want to see this. anywhere convenience. everyday security. bankers here to help. for wherever you want to go. chase. make more of what's yours.
in new york state has tested positive for the new strain of the coronavirus that scientists are worrying is much more contagious, and nick watt is track all of the latest developments for us from los angeles. >> reporter: today a nurse in new jersey is among the first to be vaccinated against covid-19. and that is dose two, and such a big deal that the governor came to watch, applaud and elbow bump. >> i have body armor. >> reporter: but a majority of americans awaiting dose one. >> we are senior citizens, we want the vaccine. >> what we have committed to is to have 20 million doses of vaccines to be vaccinated with -- >> no, no, it is 20 million americans would be vaccinated. >> reporter: by new year's, and now he says that it was a hope
and not a commitment. bottom line is january 4th, and just a little bit over 4.5 million have had a shot. >> no excuses, and we are not where we want to be, and hopefully we will pick up the momentum. >> reporter: the fda is going to meet to talk about bringing up the moderna vaccine to get more in the arm. meanwhile, the vivus rampant. >> we are seeing a person every six seconds contract the virus here in los angeles county. >> reporter: and the crisis in california is that hospitals are running out of beds. >> we needed high flow oxygen and able to obtain it, because a patient recently died in the e.r. and able to get the equipment, because somebody else had died. so that sounds gruesome and horrific, but that is where we are today. >> reporter: nationwide, record numbers in the hospital, and 100,000-plus for 33 days straight. and over the past week, one
person has died from covid-19 every 33 seconds. no words of sympathy from the president, but just a tweet brushing off the death toll as fake news and his own surgeon general disagrees. >> i have no reason to doubt the numbers. >> reporter: the president's lie compounds the pain of the bereaved. >> it is difficult for every family, because there is no way for somebody to say it is fake, because my dad is not fake dead. >> reporter: and wolf as you mention now, a case confirmed in new york state of the more transmittable u.k. variant, and that case is connected to the jewelry store in saratoga spring, and also now in california six confirmed cases of that variant stoking fears when you are rolling in the holidays of the surge upon a surge. >> and now, colorado, new york,
california and florida, and all parts of the country, and it is disturbing indeed. nick, thank you. and we are getting new information about the vaccination rollout in florida. for more, i want to bring in rosa flores who is in miami. and right now, senior citizens have been waiting in line for hours and hours and even overnight to get the vaccine, and you pressed the governor on this earlier today, and tell us about the exchange that you had. >> you know, wolf, the governor should have expected this question, because this is week four of the vaccine rollout in the state of florida, and our cameras were rolling last week as seniors were waiting overnight to get the vaccine. and on top of that, seniors in this state have been asked to go to a website to get an appointment to get this vaccine and the website is crashing, and it is a simple question. why? what has been going wrong, but governor ron desantis would not let me finish asking my
question. take a listen. >> governor, what has gone wrong with the rollout of the vaccine that we have seen phone lines jammed, web sites crashing and -- >> a lot of demand and the -- >> if i could -- >> and you asked what has gone wrong -- >> and if i could -- >> are you going to give a speech or ask a question -- >> you have -- >> you are giving a speech, and you asked a question. >> i am trying to ask you -- >> you are going to ask how many questions? you are going to ask three, and they have one. >> with all due respect, governor, could i finish any question? >> you did not. >> and i am going to ask you, what went wrong with the vaccine when we have seen phone lines jammed and web sites crashed -- >> so you are repeating. >> let me repeat it.
and seniors have been weight overnight. >> and where is that? >> in lee and duval and broward. >> and do you know why? lee? >> that is my question to you, you are the governor of the state. >> and you didn't investigate. and why was there a big line in lee? >> did you investigate why? >> could you tell us why? >> because we distributed the vaccines to the hospitals, and first come, first serve and if you show up, we will do it, and there is not a registration system, and so there is a lot of -- >> so you are saying that the states are dictating -- >> we are not dictating to carlos magoya how he is going to deliver his health care, and that would be a disaster for the state to tell him how to dictate how to deliver his services. >> and now, the florida governor
ron desantis has said that his priority is to vaccinate the florida seniors here in the state, and my follow-up question was why are assistive living facilities waiting for vaccines, and he did not answer my question, because he walked right off. >> you did an excellent job, rosa, and he should be patient, and he should answer these questions, because these are life and death questions that people in florida are facing, and you did a very good job for doing what you did. and now i want to bring in dr. sanjay gupta who has a book coming out tomorrow, and it is going to be coming out tomorrow, and it is titled" keep sharp, build a better brain at any age." i can't wait to get it. and now, as rosa said, seniors
are waiting in line overnight hoping to get a vaccine. >> well, wolf, it is striking close to home. first of all what rosa was asking about is happening, and it is not an exaggeration. i know this, because my parents were two of those senior citizens who waited all night in lee county to get their vaccines. the way it worked for them is that they basically, they wanted to get the vaccine, and so they started to searching online to try to find where the vaccine might be available and they were told that the local library would have a certain number of doses, so they got there at 1:30 in the morning and camping out for a concert except that my parents are in the late 70s and outside and trying to maintain the distance. that is the frustration and the frustration from a lot of people. fantastic that the vaccine is out there, but this is what it is sort of coming down to as far as distribution goes in some places. not everywhere, but in some places. but it is, you know, as much
preparation as there should have been, this should have been a more coordinated roll out in many of the places. >> i don't understand, sanjay, why fema, the federal emergency management agency or the national guard or the military has been activated and people are dying, and they are activating the military and fema if there is a tornado or hurricane, and why aren't they activated to get the arms in the shots of especially the elderly? >> i don't know the answer to this, wolf, but it is a note that we have been hearing many times throughout the pan dem iblg, and we will do this at the federal level, and the states have at it. the states have asked in the billions of dollars to create the infrastructure of the public health to handle something like this, and receive $480 million and they have been woefully underfunded, and then it is hard for them to take a brand-new vaccine that requires the cold storage that everyone has heard about by now, and to be able to distribute it. so it is becoming a situation
where the people are sort of trying to fend for themselves, and again, my parents just sort of found this vaccine on their own, and no unified strategy to try to distribute it to them. >> this is an awful situation. sanjay, we will continue this conversation. and did the president break the law when he demanded that officials in georgia overturn his election defeat there? i will ask fareed ferrari standing by. see what scholarship you qualify for at phoenix.edu
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many legal experts say that president trump may have broken the law when he pressured georgia's secretary of state in a recorded phone conversation to find enough votes to overturn his loss in the state. let's discuss with the former u.s. attorney and preet ferrer, and was there a law broken when he had that one-hour phone call with the president and the georgia secretary of state? >> well, if there is a suspected crime, you undertake a investigation, and based on what was the intent and describing the specific amount of votes that he wants, and based on the
people in courts and looking into it as well, it is clearly worthy of criminal investigation, and there have statement from the fulton county d.a. that it may be looked at and it is too soon to say definitively if you can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it can be proven, but it is disturbing and unethical. >> and so which prosecutor, a state or federal prosecutor would have potentially a stronger case? >> i don't know, because i don't practice in georgia. from what i have looked at it, it is looking that the georgia statue is more of a case, but what matters is the appetite to bring a particular case. there is some congesture of the sudden departure of the united states attorney in atlanta, and it is odd, because he said that he would stay until january 20th, and left suddenly yesterday or today, and depending upon who the new u.s.
attorney or what the appetite is in washington, and we could see the investigation on the national level or >> i know you watched as georgia's top election official gabriel sterling offered a detailed fact check of the president's false, truly outrageous claims about the election. you tweeted in response, and i'll put it up on the screen. explain your twitter praise for us. go ahead. >> i can't see the tweet -- >> we just see the hands clapping. you're clearly praising gabriel sterling and what he did. >> i am. >> it was an amazing fact check by him. >> my amateur use of emoji with time on the twitters. look, here's a republican official who doesn't gain anything, right? he gains the ire of the president of the united states. he gains the ire of perhaps both senators in georgia. of his own party. by stating the truth. by putting forward facts.
the crazy thing in all of this, the context in which the president is making allegations against both that official and the secretary of state and the governor, is what motivation could they have? not to look at bona fide issues of voter fraud. they're republicans. they're doing what's right. and it's a good thing to see. >> preet, thank you very, very much. obviously, we're going to continue our analysis down the road. since president trump lost the election, no state official has been under more official from the president, actually, than georgia's republican secretary of state brad raffensperger. cnn's amara walker has more. >> reporter: in the face of repeated attacks and pressure from president trump -- >> we believe we do have an accurate election. >> no, you don't. no. no, you don't. you don't have it. not even close. >> reporter: georgia's secretary of state brad raffensperger hasn't budged from his principles. as the president refuses to accept the reality that he lost georgia just two weeks before joe biden's inauguration.
>> i think that's really what we're called to be, is people of integrity. and that's -- i work hard on that every day so people know that we're working hard for honest elections. >> reporter: on saturday the secretary took the call he's been trying to avoid for weeks. >> i never believed it was appropriate to speak to the president, but he pushed out. i guess he had his staff push us. they wanted to call. the challenge that we have, first of all, we're in a litigation mode with the president's team against the state of georgia. >> reporter: raffensperger sat down for an interview with us at the beginning of december. the secretary who voted for trump says he leans on his faith in tough times. >> it's truth in that faith. and so you can't kill it. it's just an organism. it's living, breathing because it's within us. and so i'm very hopeful. and we need to just continue to fight the good fight. >> reporter: the death threats and vulgar messages targeting his family began pouring in since trump and his allies continue to make baseless claims of voter fraud in georgia. >> he's an enemy of the people.
the secretary of state. >> you know, the people of georgia know that this was a scam. and because of what you've done to the president a lot of people aren't going out to vote. and a lot of republicans are going to vote negative because they hate what you did to the president. >> well, we've been through an awful lot. >> reporter: raffensperger says losing his 37-year-old son after a fentanyl overdose nearly three years ago helped put life in perspective. >> it was a struggle throughout his life. but every one of those times that we had, you know, that he struggled, you know, god was there for us. >> reporter: and prepared him for moments like this. >> i do lean into the lord because i know what he calls us to be in all things, is to be honest and treat people with dignity. we have to just lower the rhetoric and we have to really start trying to understand and have conversations with people and not put up our walls and not attack but just listen. >> reporter: and that's exactly what he did during the stunning
call from the president. he listened. but never gave in. as a conservative and born again christian raffensperger says he's focusing on the tight senate runoff, hoping the republicans will pull through. >> my job is to make sure elections are run honestly and fairly. the republican party's job is to raise money and make sure they turn their people out to vote. >> reporter: now, wolf, at the state level there have been calls for an investigation into this phone call from president trump. i can tell you, though, it's unclear at this time if the secretary of state's office or the state board of elections will actually look into this call. and refer the matter to the attorney general or local district attorneys. wolf, back to you. >> brad raffensperger, gabriel sterling are both very, very courageous men. amara, thank you very much. excellent report. we'll have more news right after this. your mission: stand up to moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. and take. it. on... ...with rinvoq. rinvoq a once-daily pill can dramatically improve symptoms... rinvoq helps tame pain, stiffness, swelling.
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washington state was 97. a dedicated and caring mother who treasured spending time with her family. she was very independent and always put others before herself. may they rest in peace and may their memories be a blessing. thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer. i'll be back tomorrow 4:00 p.m. eastern for special coverage of the georgia senate runoffs. erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. "outfront" next, a brutal takedown of president trump. georgia's top election official blowing up trump's conspiracy theories one at a time. he's our guest. plus breaking news. more senators tonight say they back the effort to object to certifying joe biden's win in the house on wednesday. and new york announces its first case of the highly contagious coronavirus strain as scientists race to find out whether vaccines work against several new strains. let's go out front. and good evening. i'm erin burnett. "outfront" tonight, is