After reports that former President Donald Trump and his allies had apparently tried to call election officials in Arizona to get them to overturn election results in the state, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, is calling on state Attorney General Mark Brnovich to investigate the alleged calls.
“I write today to urge you to investigate and take appropriate enforcement action against potential violations of Arizona’s election laws,” Hobbs, who is running for governor, wrote in a letter to Brnovich on Wednesday. Hobbs urges Brnovich, a Republican, to “not only seek justice in this instance, but to prevent future attempts to interfere with the integrity of our elections.”
The calls, first reported by the Arizona Republic, found that Trump and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani had attempted to contact election officials and sent text messages and left voicemails when their attempts were ignored.
Trump apparently tried to call then-chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Clint Hickman twice — once on New Year’s Eve, as Hickman was out celebrating the new year, and once on January 3, after Trump’s contentious phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which he pressured Raffensperger to overturn Georgia’s election results.
Around the same time, the Arizona Republic reported last week, Giuliani made a couple of calls to election supervisors. In one voicemail, he pleaded with the officials to help him turn the tide toward Trump. “Maybe we can get this thing fixed up,” he said, according to Maricopa County records. “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.”
The state Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward also tried to pressure election officials through text messages. “We need you to stop the counting,” Ward texted Hickman — an incident cited by Hobbs in her letter. Ward sent a series of messages to Hickman and other election supervisors accusing them of being “unAmerican” and making vague threats because the election board wouldn’t capitulate to Trump and the Republican party’s whims on the election.
Brnovich has yet to respond to Hobbs’s request. It’s unclear whether or not he will actually launch an investigation, however, since Brnovich, who is running for U.S. Senate, has himself led the charge in a Supreme Court case that gutted what was left of the Voting Rights Act last week. Brnovich has also defended the Arizona ballot “audit” that has been fraught with incompetency and racism, and that’s likely fueling false notions of fraud about the election, regardless of the review’s results.
The ballot review also came under scrutiny when an Arizona judge on Wednesday questioned why the public doesn’t have access to documents on Cyber Ninjas, the Trump-linked company that is running the review. “Isn’t the public entitled to know who is paying for this?” the judge asked.
Indeed, some recent reporting has found that the spurious ballot review is being paid for by Trump allies and supporters, with hundreds of thousands of dollars coming from organizations that are affiliated with the extremist right-wing One America News Network (OANN).