President Donald Trump has been recorded telling Georgia’s secretary of state to “find” enough votes to overturn the election result.
The president told Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in a recording released by the Washington Post: “I just want to find 11,780 votes.”
Brad Raffensperger is heard replying that Georgia’s results are correct.
Joe Biden won Georgia alongside other swing states, winning 306 Electoral College votes to Donald Trump’s 232.
VP-elect Kamala Harris called President Trump’s comments “a bold abuse of power”.
It comes ahead of two crucial runoff elections in Georgia on January 5 that will decide which party controls the Senate.
Since the November 3 vote, President Trump has been making unsubstantiated allegations of widespread electoral fraud.
All 50 states have certified the election result, some after recounts and legal appeals.
Congress is due to formally approve the election result on January 6 and Democrat Joe Biden is due to be inaugurated as president on January 20.
In excerpts of January 2 phone call released by the Washington Post, President Trump can be heard alternately cajoling and pressurizing Georgia’s secretary of state.
He insisted that he had won the election in Georgia and told Brad Raffensperger that there was “nothing wrong with saying you have recalculated”.
Brad Raffensperger responded by saying: “The challenge you have, Mr. President, is that the data you have is wrong.”
Later in the call, President Trump said the rumor was that ballots had been shredded and voting machinery had been removed from Fulton County in the state – claims denied by Brad Raffensperger’s lawyer.
The president then threatened the official with possible legal consequences.
He said: “You know what they did and you’re not reporting it. That’s a criminal offence. You can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you and to Ryan, your lawyer.”
The president then called for the extra 11,780 votes – which would have given him a total of 2,473,634 votes in the state, one more than Joe Biden, who received 2,473,633 votes.
President Trump told Brad Raffensperger he should re-examine the result in the state.
He said: “You can re-examine it, but re-examine it with people who want to find answers, not people who don’t want to find answers.”
Brad Raffensperger replied: “Mr. President, you have people who submit information and we have our people that submit information, and then it comes before the court and the court has to make a determination.
“We have to stand by our numbers, we believe our numbers are right.”
President Trump also warned Brad Raffensperger that by refusing to recalculate the election result he would deter Republicans from turning out to vote in January 5 runoff elections for the Senate.
If the two Democratic contenders win, then there will be equal numbers of Republican and Democratic senators, and Kamala Harris, as vice-president-elect, will have the deciding vote.
Joe Biden’s Democrats already control the lower House of Representatives.
Both Donald Trump and Joe Biden are due to visit Georgia on January 4 to campaign ahead of the elections.
On January 3, President Trump tweeted that Brad Raffensperger had not given details of the fraud the president alleges: “He has no clue!”
Brad Raffensperger tweeted back: “Respectfully, President Trump: What you’re saying is not true. The truth will come out.”
The White House has not commented on the release of the audio.