WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Sen. Lindsey Graham led a committee hearing on Capitol Hill on Tuesday amid growing criticism of a conversation he had with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
The Republican secretary of state said the Republican senator from South Carolina called him and asked if Raffensperger had the power to reject ballots that Raffensperger said were cast legally.
“The Chairman of the Judiciary Committee calling around to states to try and interference with the process – that was reckless and inappropriate,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said Tuesday.
But Rep. Buddy Carter, a Georgia Republican, said he believes Graham was just trying to clarify questions about the process.
“I find it hard to believe that any senator, much less Lindsey Graham, would threaten a secretary of state,” Carter said.
The suggestion of tossing legally-cast ballots is something Graham continued to deny. He told reporters on Capitol Hill Tuesday that it was “ridiculous.”
“Should a senator from South Carolina be involved in Georgia’s election affairs and results and conversations like this?” Washington Correspondent Kellie Meyer asked.
“I think that in the United States, we have the freedom of speech. And if Sen. Warren called, I think we probably would take the call,” Georgia Voting System Implementation Manager Gabriel Sterling said Tuesday.
Sterling said it’s understandable for any senator to have questions regarding the process. But at the end of the day, Sterling said, “our job in this state is to follow the law and follow the process and that’s what we continue to do.”
Officials in Georgia are currently wrapping up the hand-counted audit that needs to be completed by Wednesday night.