Arizona’s secretary of state has called for a criminal investigation into whether former President Donald Trump and his political allies tried to illegally influence the results of the 2020 election in the days before Congress certified President Joe Biden’s White House win.
There were “clear efforts to induce supervisors to refuse to comply with their duties” Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) said in a letter to Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) on Wednesday.
Evidence referenced by Hobbs includes text messages and phone calls that were placed to Republican members of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors as Trump’s campaign attempted to prevent the certification in key battleground states.
“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,” Hobbs said in her letter shared on Twitter. “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. If your ethical duties prevent you from investigating this matter, I ask that you refer it to another enforcement agency.”
Hobbs, a Democrat, is running for governor next year while Brnovich, a Republican who has been an outspoken critic of Biden, is running for the U.S. Senate next year.
Hobbs’ request cited reporting by The Arizona Republic, which obtained public records of phone calls and text messages from Trump and his political allies in the wake of the election.
Clint Hickman, who was chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, said Trump called him two times but he didn’t answer. He told The Arizona Republic that he sent the calls to his voicemail because he thought Trump would try to pressure him to change the election results or discuss election conspiracies with him.
On Jan. 2, one day before Trump called Hickman for a second time, Trump was recorded calling Georgia’s secretary of state and asking him to recalculate his state’s vote so that Trump could win.
“I’m not going to tape a president, so I’m not going to talk to a president. … I didn’t want to have a very rough call to my home on a Sunday night,” Hickman told the Republic of his decision not to accept the calls.
Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward also sent text messages to election supervisors that directed them “to stop the counting” of ballots.
“We have 4 years to support you guys politically and we will. You are what stands between integrity and theft,” she said in one text message to Republican Supervisor Jack Sellers.
Trump’s then-attorney Rudy Giuliani also left voicemails with several of the GOP supervisors.
“If you get a chance, would you please give me a call,” Giuliani said in a message to Supervisor Bill Gates. “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.”
Katie Conner, a spokesperson for Brnovich’s office, told HuffPost on Thursday that the office had received the secretary of state’s letter but has no further comment at this time.
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