Trump inciting violence, warns Georgia election official

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"This has to stop... someone's gonna get killed": Mr Sterling calls on President Trump to condemn the threats

An election official in the US state of Georgia has said President Trump will bear responsibility for any violence that results from unsubstantiated election fraud claims he has stoked.

"It's all gone too far," Gabriel Sterling warned. "It has to stop!"

He cited intimidation and death threats to workers in remarks on Tuesday.

Georgia is carrying out a second recount of votes at the Trump camp's request. Joe Biden was declared a narrow winner in the key state.

The second re-tally is showing no major changes, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, said on Wednesday. He said no evidence of widespread fraud had been found to support Mr Trump's claims.

Earlier Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said his team was trying to make sure "that all legal votes are counted and all illegal votes are not".

"No-one should engage in threats or violence, and if that has happened, we condemn that fully," he said.

The plea in Georgia came after US Attorney General William Barr said his justice department had so far found no proof to back the president's claims of fraud in the election - the latest setback to the Trump camp's legal challenges in several states.

Georgia will also hold in January two run-off elections, which will determine who controls the Senate.

Mr Trump's Republican party currently has a slim majority in the upper chamber, and a victory in the run-offs would allow it to counter the Democratic administration of President-elect Biden.

However, if the Democrats win the two remaining seats, they would control half the seats in the Senate - and the vice-president would be able to act as a tie-breaker.

The Democrats already control the lower chamber - the House of Representatives.

Who has been threatened?

At a news conference in Atlanta on Tuesday, Mr Sterling, the state's voting systems implementation manager, rebuked his fellow Republicans, including the president.

He said a 20-year-old contractor in Gwinnett County for Dominion Voting Systems, which has become the subject of baseless right-wing conspiracy theories, had received death threats. The worker's family was also getting harassed, Mr Sterling added.

The unnamed man had been threatened with a noose and accused of treason, Mr Sterling said, after transferring a report on ballot batches to a county computer so he could read it.

Mr Sterling said he himself had a police guard outside his home, while the wife of Georgia's Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, was "getting sexualised threats through her cell phone".

"Mr president, you have not condemned these actions or this language," added Mr Sterling. "Senators, you have not condemned these actions or this language.

"We need you to step up and if you're going to take a position of leadership, show some!"

He added: "Death threats, physical threats, intimidation, it's too much, it's not right, they've lost the moral high ground to claim that it is."

Media caption,

"Mr President-elect, how does your foot feel?": Joe Biden is seen in his protective boot

Mr Sterling also cited threats of violence against Chris Krebs, who was fired last month as head of the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency after he disputed Mr Trump's fraud claims.

Mr Sterling condemned Trump lawyer Joe DiGenova, who said on Monday that Mr Krebs should be "taken out at dawn and shot".

Addressing Mr Trump directly, Mr Sterling continued: "You have the right to go to the courts. What you don't have the ability to do, and you need to step up and say this, is stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence.

"Someone's going to get hurt, someone's going to get shot, someone's going to get killed, and it's not right."

He added: "Be the bigger man here, and stop, step in, tell your supporters, don't be violent, don't intimidate. All that's wrong, it's un-American."

How has Trump reacted?

President Trump responded by retweeting a video of Mr Sterling's speech, but without referencing the concerns over threats of violence.

Instead he doubled down on his allegations of election fraud, saying: "Rigged election. Show signatures and envelopes. Expose the massive voter fraud in Georgia."

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Before and since, he has fired off many more tweets on the same subject, all without credible evidence.

He shared a conspiracy theory about voting machines in Georgia, claimed Mr Biden's win in Arizona was "impossible", the results in Nevada were "fake" and also claimed without proof: "We won Michigan by a lot!"

On Wednesday morning, Mr Raffensperger criticised how the president had responded to the passionate plea from his colleague.

"Even after this office requested that President Trump try and quell the violent rhetoric being born out of his continuing claims of winning states where he obviously lost, he tweeted out 'expose the massive voter fraud in Georgia,'" he said.

"This is exactly the kind of language that is at the base of a growing threat environment for election workers who are simply doing their jobs."

What's the latest with the Trump election challenge?

On Tuesday, the president's campaign filed a lawsuit with Wisconsin's supreme court challenging the state's presidential vote results.

The petition came a day after Mr Biden was certified as the winner in the Midwestern state by about 20,000 votes.

The Trump legal action challenges more than 220,000 ballots in Wisconsin based largely on technicalities.

It alleges clerks filled out missing information on postal ballots and objects to an event where election officials collected and checked votes in a park in the city of Madison, rather than polling stations.

Mr Trump and his allies have failed to make any significant headway in their efforts to challenge the results in Arizona, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan and Nevada. All these key swing states have certified results confirming a Biden victory.

Attorney General Barr said on Tuesday that the justice department so far had "not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election".

The comments were seen as a big blow to Mr Trump, as Mr Barr is a close ally.

A DOJ spokesperson later stressed the department had not concluded its investigation.