Arizona Democrats call for investigation after report that Trump, Giuliani pressured state elections officials

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Arizona Democrats are calling on the state’s Republican attorney general to launch an investigation into reports former President Donald Trump and his allies pressured local election officials to overturn his loss.

“The evidence reported is clear: that members of his own party, both nationally and right here in Arizona, have conducted illegal and horrific behavior that threatens our democracy,” state Rep. Reginald Bolding, a candidate to be Arizona’s top elections official, said on a press call Friday.

Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who in June launched a bid for the US Senate, did not respond to a request for comment.

Earlier this month, The Arizona Republic obtained phone records showing Trump and others urged officials in the state to stop counting ballots after it became apparent that President Joe Biden was on his way to victory.

Clint Hickman, the Republican chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, confirmed to The New York Times the former president repeatedly tried to call him. Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s former personal attorney, Arizona GOP chairwoman Kelli Ward, and the attorney Sidney Powell also lobbied Maricopa County officials.

Biden won the county, home to Phoenix, by more than 45,000 votes, a victory certified by the Republican-led board of supervisors, which has rejected the conspiracy theories pushed by other members of the GOP.

Immediately following the election, Attorney General Brnovich also rebutted conspiracy theories such as “SharpieGate,” the false claim that Republican voters’ ballots were being rejected because of the kind of writing utensil they were handed by poll workers.

At the same time, Trump’s allies were working to overturn the results. “I have a few things I’d like to talk over with you,” Giuliani said in a voice mail for one Maricopa County Republican who later certified Biden’s victory. “Maybe we can get this thing fixed up … I think there may be a nice way to resolve this for everybody.”

Meanwhile, Brnovich, competing in a crowded Republican field for a chance to run against Democratic US Sen. Mark Kelly, has been less outspoken in recent months.

Following the revelation of Trump allies’ efforts to pressure Maricopa County officials — “We need you to stop the counting,” Chairwoman Ward said after the election — Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, urged Brnovich to investigate what she described as potential felony election interference. He has thus far declined.

On Friday, Democrats accused Brnovich of complicity in the false claims being circulated now, suggesting it was for political gain — namely, avoiding the ire of one man.

“His silence now that he’s running for Senate shows that he’s folding for President Trump,” state Sen. Rebecca Rios charged.

A day earlier, for example, Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan — whose company is leading a highly irregular “audit” in Maricopa County that experts have dismissed as a sham — asserted local officials had not bothered to verify signatures on mail-in ballots, a claim quickly rebutted by the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office.

“There is a radical right-wing element of Republicans that is never going to take anything less than ‘Yes, President Trump should be president,’ and at some point we just need to stop engaging with this craziness,” she added. But right now, “It’s spreading like a cancer.”

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