Trump met with the Pennsylvania state senator who’s trying to start a 2020 election audit like Arizona, report says

Trump Tower
Then President-elect Donald Trump boards the elevator at Trump Tower in New York City.

  • Trump met a Pennsylvania state senator in Trump Tower, The Washington Post reported.
  • The senator, Doug Mastriano, wants a 2020 election audit in his state modeled on the one in Arizona.
  • Trump is reportedly fixated with audits of last year’s vote and the groundless belief that he won.
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Former President Donald Trump recently met with one of the Pennsylvania lawmakers seeking an Arizona-style ballot recount in his state, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

Trump hosted Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano at Trump Tower in New York City, where they discussed launching a 2020 election audit in Pennsylvania, which Biden won, The Post reported. The newspaper did not specify when exactly the meeting took place.

Insider has contacted Mastriano for comment.

Mastriano was one of three state senators from Pennsylvania who on Wednesday met with Arizona lawmakers and were taken on a tour of the audit.

The Arizon audit is being conducted in Phoenix by a contractor, Cyber Ninjas, whose founder has defended Trump’s claim that the election was stolen from him as a result of mass fraud, a claim that has been debunked and rejected in several court cases.

The Arizona audit, which commissioned in April by the state’s GOP-controlled Senate, has been mired in controversy.

Observers from the office of Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said the audit was being conducted in a shambolic fashion, with auditors searching for evidence on the basis of conspiracy theories, and no rigorous processes in place to ensure the integrity of the audit.

Hobbs has warned that the audit could be used as a model to undermine election results in other states.

Maricopa County election officials have described the process as a “sham” and a “con,” and called on the state GOP lawmakers who commissioned the process to halt it. Republicans in Arizona say the audit is necessary to ensure the integrity of future elections.

Defenders of Trump’s election-fraud claim have nonetheless seized on the audit in their bid to have Trump declared the true winner in 2020, with Trump supporters calling for recounts and audits to be conducted in other states Trump lost in 2020 in his defeat to President Joe Biden.

According to The Post, Trump is fixated with the belief that the reviews of ballots his supporters are pushing for could prove that he was the true victor of the 2020 election, and even herald his return to the White House this year.

The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman reported earlier this week that Trump was telling people that he would be “reinstated” to the White House by August, a claim that has no basis in reality.

The result of the Arizona audit cannot be used to invalidate the result of the 2020 presidential election, and its result will likely face legal challenges.

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The GOP Arizona recount is sloppy and inconsistent, critics say, with workers chasing proof of wild conspiracy theories

Arizona
Contractors working for Cyber Ninjas, who was hired by the Arizona State Senate, examine and recount ballots from the 2020 general election on May 3, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona.

  • Critics of the vote recount in Maricopa County, Arizona, allege that is is a shambolic process.
  • Observers from the state government say little is done to ensure consistency and accuracy.
  • Reports describe participants using bizarre methods informed by conspiracy theorists.
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Workers are conducting the recount of presidential election votes in Arizona’s Maricopa County using sloppy and inconsistent methods, say observers and critics of the process.

Some participants appear to be searching for evidence on the basis of conspiracy theories, according to reports from the counting site.

Observers from the office of Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs were granted access to the recount for a week. Hobbs described their findings in a Wednesday letter which attacked the credibility of the process.

The recount was launched by the GOP-controlled stat legislature. Maricopa County is the largest in Arizona, and stunned many observers when its traditionally Republican voters favored Joe Biden over Donald Trump in November 2020.

The state GOP ordered the audit on April 27, citing the unfounded allegations of mass fraud spread by former President Donald Trump and his allies.

In her letter describing the recount, Hobbs writes that observers found troubling irregularities, and said the process was opaque and in breach of state rules meant to ensure accuracy and integrity.

Observers also discussed their concerns in a press conference Thursday, reported local media.

Allegations include:

  • Computers on the recount floor left unlocked. They said this risked the data on the machines being altered.
  • Inconsistent rulings for counting. The observers said different teams were improvising their methods rather than following a common approach.
  • They criticized data entry too, saying that figures were being plugged into a central spreadsheet in a haphazard way that risked error.
  • They said counters weren’t keeping proper track of batches of votes, risking them being miscounted or counted more than once.
  • They questioned the motives of the workers – claiming that there was no screening process for political bias. They said some counters attended “Stop the Steal” rallies, which were predicated on Trump’s baseless claims of electoral fraud.

Observers who spoke to The Guardian also drew attention to use of a mysterious technology developed by the failed inventor Jovan Pulitzer.

Details were scarce, but it appeared to be used in an attempt to verify conspiracy theories alleging that thousands of counterfeit ballots were used in the election.

The process is being conducted by a contractor called CyberNinjas, whose founder has expressed support for Trump’s election fraud claims.

The concerns of the secretary of state’s office were echoed by other observers of the recount. According to reports, some counters are searching ballots for traces of bamboo on the basis of a theory that many were smuggled from Asia.

Questions have been raised over why auditors are examining ballots using UV lights and looking for watermarks. It’s another sign that auditors are working to verify conspiracy theories alleging that ballots are fake, observers say.

“A number of items detailed in the Counting Floor Procedures appear better suited for chasing conspiracy theories than as a part of a professional audit,” wrote Hobbs.

The US Department of Justice also expressed concern about the recount in a letter to the Arizona Senate.

In remarks to reporters Thursday, Hobbs warned that the recount methods could be used as a template to subvert election results across the US.

“This is really dangerous for our democracy and we think they are writing the playbook for them to take this across the country,” Hobbs said, reported the Arizona Mirror. “This is potentially precedent setting.”

The Twitter account representing the recount rejected her claims.

“AZ @SecretaryHobbs continues to make baseless claims about this forensic audit but has never led an election audit in her entire career. The audit continues!” reads the tweet Thursday.

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