Hobbs seeks to investigate possible election interference in Arizona

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Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs on Wednesday called on Attorney General Mark Brnovich to open a criminal investigation into possible efforts by former President Donald Trump and his allies to influence Maricopa County supervisors while the ballots were still being counted.

Hobbs said some of the communications “involve clear efforts to induce supervisors to refuse to comply with their duties,” which could violate Arizona law. She cited the Arizona Republic report last week on White House text and voicemail messages, Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Arizona Republican Party President Kelli. Ward, to the Republican members of the supervisory board,

“The report also includes first-hand statements from victims of this potential crime,” Hobbs said. She cited at least one potential felony charge under Arizona law.

A spokesperson for Brnovich was not immediately available to comment on Hobbs’ request, which was emailed directly to the attorney general shortly after 1 p.m.

The demand for legal review is loaded with political connotations.

Hobbs, a Democrat, is running for governor next year. She created a national profile to defend Arizona’s election administration efforts when the November presidential election results were among the closest in the country. Arizona was brought to light by Trump and his allies as they promoted the false narrative of a stolen election.

Brnovich, a Republican, is running for the US Senate next year. Trump criticized Brnovich for failing to support the state Senate’s review of the ongoing ballot. Last week, the United States Supreme Court upheld an Arizona law defended by Brnovich that makes voting more difficult, which he expressed as part of his pledge to preserve the integrity of elections.

Now he has been asked to investigate Trump and his GOP allies on this same issue.

“As you said last week,” fair elections are the cornerstone of our republic, and they begin with rational laws that protect both the right to vote and the accuracy of the results, “” wrote Hobbs in his letter to Brnovich requesting an investigation. . “Arizona law protects election officials from those who seek to interfere with their sacred duties to verify and certify the will of voters.”

Hobbs asked Brnovich to refer his inquiry request to another law enforcement agency if his ethical obligations prevented him from investigating the case.

The Republic detailed two separate attempts by Trump to reach out to Republican supervisor Clint Hickman in the weeks following the election, as the president’s allies sought to alter election results in a state he narrowly lost to the Democrat Joe Biden.

At the time, Hickman was chairman of the Board of Supervisors, the elected body that oversees elections in the state’s most populous county.

Hickman received the first call from the White House switchboard on December 31, as he celebrated the upcoming New Year with his wife and friends. He let the call go to voicemail.

The second call came on the night of January 3, after the Washington Post published a recording of Trump’s hour-long phone call with the Georgia Secretary of State. Hickman sought to avoid speaking to the president due to an ongoing dispute and let the call go to voicemail.

Separately, Giuliani called supervisors before and after his November 30 meeting in Phoenix about the election outcome with a handful of state GOP lawmakers. The Republic obtained voice messages which he left with the overseers.

“If you get the chance, could you please call me,” Giuliani said in a message. “I have a few things I would like to talk about with you. Maybe we can fix this thing. You know, I really think it’s a shame that Republicans are both in this kind of situation. And I think there may be a good way to solve this problem for everyone. “

The Republic also exposed Ward’s attempts to pressure supervisors “to stop the count,” to delay certification of results and to check whether voting software added votes to Democrats. His efforts continued as Trump’s legal challenges across the country failed.

When these efforts were unsuccessful, through various texts, she declared that the supervisors were “not American” and played for the “BAD team”.

In a text to GOP Supervisor Jack Sellers, Ward wrote: “We have 4 years to support you politically and we will. You are what lies between integrity and theft.

Ward did not respond to the Republic’s efforts to reach her last week. On Twitter, she wrote “BS” in response to the article.

She later wrote: “No one can ever say that I’m not doing all I can to ensure #ElectionIntegrity. And I always will! # Proud American.

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