Arizona’s top elections official is calling for a probe of Trump and his allies over ‘intense efforts to interfere’ with ballot counting

rudy giuliani donald trump
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is seen with then-President-elect Donald Trump in Bedminster, New Jersey in November 2016.

  • Records obtained by The Arizona Republic showed Trump allies contacting Arizona election officials.
  • “We need you to stop the counting,” Kelli Ward, Arizona GOP chair, told an official during ballot counting.
  • Secretary of State Katie Hobbs is calling on Trump and his allies to be investigated over the reports.
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Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs is calling for an investigation into former President Donald Trump and his allies over “intense efforts to interfere” with the counting of ballots in the 2020 election.

In a letter to Arizona’s attorney general that was shared on Twitter, Hobbs urges him to look into reports that Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and Kelli Ward tried to interfere with election officials, potentially in violation of state law. She said they contacted officials in Maricopa County, where a GOP-backed audit of the election was recently underway, to disrupt ballot counting.

“Local reporting recently uncovered intense efforts to interfere with the tabulation of ballots and canvass of the 2020 election in Maricopa County,” Hobbs said in a tweet. “In Arizona, interfering with election officials is a felony.”

Read more: A key fundraising group for Republican women is shunning Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert, calling them ‘carnival barkers’

Citing The Arizona Republic’s reporting, the letter says Trump and his allies reached out to election officials during the ballot tabulation process “to induce supervisors to refuse to comply with their duties.”

Hobbs notes an incident in which Ward, chair of the Arizona Republican Party, told the chairman of the board of supervisors, “We need you to stop the counting” and “I know you don’t want to be remembered as the guy who led the charge to certify a fraudulent election.”

The comments were made via text messages that were included in records obtained by The Arizona Republic.

Hobbs called for Attorney General Mark Brnovich to investigate these reports and enforce any laws that were violated.

“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,” she wrote. “I urge you to take action not only to seek justice in this instance, but to prevent future attempts to interfere with the integrity of our elections.”

Hobbs, a Democrat and vocal critic of the GOP recount in Maricopa County, announced last month she will run for governor in 2022.

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Dominion bashes the election firm running the Trump-supported recount in Arizona, saying it’s already ‘committed serious errors’

arizona recount
A contractor working for Cyber Ninjas, who was hired by the Arizona State Senate, works to recount ballots from the 2020 general election on May 1.

  • Dominion criticized the firm recounting votes in Arizona as having “committed serious errors.”
  • The CEO of the company, called Cyber Ninjas, previously tweeted conspiracy theories about the election.
  • The recount has been promoted by Donald Trump, who falsely believes he won the 2020 election.
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Dominion Voting Systems sharply criticized the election firm conducting a recount of ballots in Arizona, saying that auditors have “already committed serious errors” and “demonstrated incompetence” during the audit.

The recount, which is expected to take weeks, is being overseen by an obscure firm called Cyber Ninjas hired by Republicans in the Arizona state legislature.

The company’s CEO, Doug Logan, promoted conspiracy theories about the integrity of the 2020 election on Twitter in January, as the Arizona Republic first reported.

Dominion, an election technology company, supplied technology to a number of polling locations in Arizona and has been a target of false and convoluted right-wing conspiracy theories alleging it helped “flip” votes from then-President Donald Trump to now-President Joe Biden.

In a statement Tuesday, the company said Cyber Ninjas wasn’t qualified to conduct a recount and that its leader was operating with “a false, pre-determined conclusion” that votes were altered in the first place.

“The firms conducting this so-called audit are not federally-accredited Voting Systems Test Labs,” Dominion said in the statement. “The lead firm, Cyber Ninjas, has no election experience, and publicly available information shows its leader has helped spread debunked lies about election fraud.”

A representative for Cyber Ninjas didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Trump has supported the audit and asks for updates about it multiples times a day, according to the Washington Post. He has demanded that Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey – a Republican he criticized for not supporting attempts to overturn Biden’s victory – deploy the National Guard to protect the recount process, even though there have been no publicly reported threats on it. Trump advisers told the Post he’s also asked about using UV light to analyze the ballots, which experts say may destroy information on them.

arizona recount
Contractors working for Cyber Ninjas examine and recount ballots from the 2020 general election at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, Arizona.

Trump has falsely claimed he was the true winner of the 2020 presidential election, including winning the state of Arizona, which he lost to Biden. His lies about the election led to the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, when a mob of his supporters sought to stop Congress from certifying Biden’s victory.

Trump’s campaign brought two lawsuits in Arizona seeking to overturn the state’s election results, as did Arizona state GOP chair Kelli Ward, a driving force behind the Cyber Ninjas audit. The cases were among the 40 Trump-linked election lawsuits that failed.

Maricopa County, the largest county in the state and where the Republican recount is taking place, has already conducted two separate audits of its 2020 election results. Both found that the results were correct and Dominion machines had produced accurate results.

In its statement, Dominion said it had numerous security measures in place for its election machines, including creating a voter-verified paper trail for each vote, using two-factor authentication that requires a physical key, and putting measures in place to ensure the machines don’t connect to the internet.

arizona recount cyber ninjas
A Cyber Ninjas contractor.

“Local election officials securely store and monitor the machines at all times,” the company said. “Thousands of poll workers, party officials, and election officials across Arizona watch over precincts on election day and guard tabulation sites in the days following.”

Cyber Ninjas’ insistence on secrecy during the recount process has alarmed independent election experts. On Wednesday afternoon, the company reportedly reached a settlement with the state’s Democratic party to offer more transparency.

Dominion has launched a raft of defamation lawsuits against individuals and companies that promoted election conspiracy theories. Its lead defamation attorney, Tom Clare, previously told Insider the company is weighing filing a lawsuit against One America News, a far-right media organization that pushed false claims about Dominion.

The media organization had quietly deleted stories about Dominion from its website even as it publicly pushed false theories, as Insider previously reported. OAN is also a force behind the recount, helping finance the venture even as Arizona Republicans named the network an independent observer of the effort.

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‘Go to hell’: Meghan McCain slams Arizona GOP for attacking her late father

Meghan McCain
Meghan McCain.

  • Meghan McCain, a co-host of ABC’s “The View,” berated the Arizona GOP on Saturday for a tweet critical of her late father, longtime US Sen. John McCain.
  • After the Arizona GOP tweeted that they were “never going back to the party of [Sen.] McCain,” Meghan McCain said that the person “running this twitter account can go to hell.”
  • She also mocked the Arizona GOP’s performance this past November, with President-elect Joe Biden flipping the state to the Democratic column and Democrat Mark Kelly defeating appointed GOP Sen. Martha McSally.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Meghan McCain, a co-host of ABC’s “The View,” berated the Arizona GOP on Saturday for a tweet critical of her late father, longtime US Sen. John McCain.

McCain, a vocal Republican, was angered by a tweet that slammed the legacy of her late father, who was the 2008 Republican presidential nominee and represented the state in the US Senate from 1987 until his death in August 2018.

“As the sun sets on 2020, remember that we’re never going back to the party of [Mitt] Romney, [Jeff] Flake, and [John] McCain,” the Arizona GOP’s official Twitter account stated. “The Republican Party is now, and forever will be, one for the working man and woman! God bless.”

McCain responded: “Honestly whomever is running this twitter account can go to hell.”

She also mocked the GOP’s statewide performance this past November, adding: “How’d that work out on Election Day in Arizona?”

In the most recent election, President-elect Joe Biden became the first Democratic presidential nominee to win the state since Bill Clinton in 1996. Democrat Mark Kelly was also elected to the Senate, beating appointed GOP Sen. Martha McSally to fill the remainder of Sen. McCain’s term in the Senate.

Cindy McCain, Sen. McCain’s widow, endorsed Biden in the 2020 presidential election.

Over the past few years, Meghan McCain has often lamented the direction of the GOP under Trump, as her father was a constant target of attacks from the president.

Read more: Secret Service experts are speculating in group chats about how Trump might be hauled out of the White House if he won’t budge on Inauguration Day

Less than a month ago, McCain criticized Trump on Twitter for calling her late father “one of the most overrated people in D.C.”

“Two years after he died, you still obsess over my dad,” she wrote. “It kills you that no one will ever love you or remember you like they loved and remember him. He served his country with honor, you have disgraced the office of the presidency. You couldn’t even pull it out in Arizona.”

Sen. McCain, who withdrew his support of Trump in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, was also the pivotal vote that kept the Affordable Care Act largely in place, which has angered the president for years.

Since the death of Sen. McCain and the retirement of former Sen. Jeff Flake, the Arizona GOP has shifted further right.

Kelli Ward, chair of the Arizona Republican Party, has had an acrimonious relationship with the McCain family, having run a scorched-earth primary campaign against the late senator for the 2016 GOP Senate nomination, which she lost. McCain was reelected to a sixth term in the Senate that fall.

A Navy lieutenant and prisoner of war in Vietnam, Sen McCain rose to become one of the most influential and well-known senators in the body, maintaining a strong focus on defense and foreign affairs.

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