Arizona secretary of state Katie Hobbs has written the state attorney general seeking a criminal investigation into efforts by former President Donald Trump and key allies in their efforts to ‘stop the counting’ of state ballots.
Hobbs, a Democrat, wrote state attorney general Mike Brnovich Wednesday seeking the probe, following a bombshell report featuring documents and voicemails that were part of the pressure campaign amid election fraud claims by Trump and his allies.
‘Arizona law protects election officials from those who would seek to interfere with their sacred duties to ascertain and certify the will of the voters,’ wrote Hobbs.
Arizona secretary of state Katie Hobbs wrote the state attorney general seeking an investigation into efforts by former President Donald Trump and key backers to contact election officials in an effort to overturn state election results
Hobbs in her letter cited a report in the Arizona Republic based off document requests that revealed state Republican Party chair Kelli Ward telling the Republican chair of the state board of supervisors ‘We need you to stop the counting.’
‘Local reporting recently uncovered intense efforts to interfere with the tabulation of ballots and canvass of the 2020 election in Maricopa County. In Arizona, interfering with election officials is a felony,’ she tweeted.
She noted that under Arizona law, any person who ‘knowingly’ interferes ‘in any manner with an officer of such election in the discharge of the officer’s duty’ or influencing an officer ‘to violate or refuse to comply with the officer’s duty or any law regulating the election’ is guilty of a felony.
She also cites Ward’s comment to the election official that ‘I know you don’t want to be remembered as the guy who led the charge to certify a fraudulent election.’
Hobbs is running for governor and Brnovich, a Republican, is running for the Senate against Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly.
‘The reporting also includes firsthand statements from the victims of this potential crime,’ Hobbs wrote.
Trump and key allies undertook a furious campaign to try to get to Republican county election officials in Arizona as part of their election overturn effort – with the White House dialing New Year’s Eve and Rudy Giuliani phoning repeatedly.
‘POTUS will probably be calling you,’ Arizona state GOP chair Kelli Ward texted one such official, Maricopa County supervisor Clint Hickman, who held sway on the county board overseeing elections in a state that had been called for Joe Biden back in November.
On New Year’s Eve, the White House called with a message that mentioned Trump’s desire to speak to the county official.
Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani is heard on voicemails calling Arizona county election officials and telling them Trump wants to talk to them
‘Just a check in from the President of the United States … So I guess that means you could/should take the call,’ Ward pressed him.
Hickman said he didn’t want to discuss litigation, amid a flurry of ‘Kraken’ lawsuits by Trump allies challenging results in states where Joe Biden won.
The pressure was contained in documents obtained by the Arizona Republic. The paper published audio of the 8:30 pm call, which Hickman didn’t take.
Hickman told the paper he heard similar audio when Trump sought to pressure Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. ‘I was horrified,’ he said.
‘Hello, sir. This is the White House operator I was calling to let you know that the president’s available to take your call if you’re free,’ said a message an operator left on his voicemail. ‘If you could please give us a call back, sir, that’d be great. You have a good evening.’
State GOP chair Kelli Ward told officials they should talk to Trump and his lawyers despite their own concerns about doing so amid litigation
Trump fought to overturn the election results, and claims the election was rife with fraud
UNDER PRESSURE: Clint Hickman, Chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, said he didn’t want to take the calls
He wouldn’t take either of two calls from a White House number. ‘I’m not going to tape a president, so I’m not going to talk to a president,’ he said.
Ward told supervisors to ‘stop the counting,’ and told Hickman: ‘A hand count before counts are complete is CRUCIAL.’ She wrote: ‘Make this happen!’
‘We need you to stop the counting,’ she told Hickman.
Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who was then spearheading ultimately doomed legal efforts on Trump’s behalf, also phoned local officials again and again.
Trump’s loss in Arizona was devastating to his electoral math, and the president was reportedly furious when Fox News first called the state for Biden late on election night.
Giuliani dialed GOP supervisor Steve Chucri, who had earlier rejected outreach from pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell due to ongoing litigation, in November, according to the records, and mentioned the Trump camp’s push to look at voting machines.
‘I see we’re gonna get a chance to take a good look at those machines. And we’ve got people that are ready to come out right now. Let’s get it done quickly. And at least get some preliminary stuff done right away,’ he said.
There was loud music during the call, suggesting it came from a restaurant or bar or event. ‘So give me a call as soon as you get a chance. The president also wanted me to pass on a few things to you, too.’
Chucri said he met with Giuliani at one point.
Giuliani also called Hickman. ‘I was very happy to see that there’s going to be a forensic audit of the machines,’ Giuliani said in a voicemail. ‘And I really wanted to talk to you about it a bit. The president wanted me to give you a call. All right. Thank you. Give me a call back. I’d really appreciate it.’
Giuliani tried to reach supervisor Bill Gates on Christmas Eve. ‘If you get a chance, would you please give me a call,’ Giuliani said on the voicemail. ‘I have a few things I’d like to talk over with you. Maybe we can get this thing fixed up. You know, I really think it’s a shame that Republicans sort of are both in this kind of situation. And I think there may be a nice way to resolve this for everybody.’
Trump supporters would later riot in the Capitol Jan. 6th amid his demands that Vice President Mike Pence refuse to accept electoral votes from states like Arizona where Trump and his allies claimed there was voter fraud.
Trump is under investigation in Georgia following the release of a taped recording where he asked Raffensperger to ‘find’ 12,000 votes. Trump claims he won both states.