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Arizona Republic: Trump allies pressured Maricopa County election supervisors

By Rachel Janfaza, CNN

In the weeks following the 2020 election, former President Donald Trump’s White House attempted to call the chair of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors — a key county in the state Trump lost by a small margin to then-candidate Joe Biden — according to a new report from the Arizona Republic published Friday.

The attempted calls appear to be part of a pressure campaign led by his then-personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and the Arizona GOP Chair Kelli Ward to convince then-chair of the Board of Supervisors — Republican Clint Hickman — and other members of the elected body that supervises elections in Maricopa County to announce that there were voting irregularities in their county, as litigation related to the election continued in the state, according to records obtained by the Republic.

Hickman told The Republic that he allowed the calls to go to voice mail, where the White House’s switchboard operator asked Hickman to call the President back. He did not return the calls, he told the Republic. CNN has reached out to Hickman for comment.

“It’s not surprising,” Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs told CNN’s Michael Smerconish on “Cuomo Prime Time” on Friday evening. “We suspected there were some attempts to undermine the election here, and now we have it clearly in tapes. And you know, Arizona law makes it clear that interfering in elections is against the law, and that is exactly what this appears to be.”

“There really is no reason that you would be calling the supervisors or other election officials because that’s not the proper channel at all if you have concerns about an election,” Hobbs, a Democrat who is running for governor, said on Friday.

Along with Trump, Giuliani — who in November met with GOP state lawmakers in Arizona — also tried to contact supervisors in Maricopa County, according to the Republic, and to Republican Bill Gates, who confirmed the Christmas Eve call to CNN’s Kyung Lah in June.

“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, we’re both in this, kind of, situation. And I think there may be a nice way to resolve this for everybody,” Giuliani said in a voice mail to Gates published by the Republic on Friday and also previously obtained by CNN.

Gates told Lah in June he never returned Giuliani’s call, adding that it would have been inappropriate to do so.

According to the Republic, Ward persistently contacted members of the Board of Supervisors, pleading with them to “do the right thing” and saying, “I know the Republican board doesn’t want to be remembered as the entity who led the charge to certify a fraudulent election.”

CNN has reached out to Giuliani, Ward and the Arizona GOP for comment.

But Hickman, Gates and the board’s other Republican members certified the results of the election and have continuously said the election was fair.

“It’s no surprise Maricopa County election officials had no desire to look into significant irregularities during the election. They have refused to be open and honest about the presidential election, stonewalling a forensic audit for months, and are still hiding voting equipment and routers from auditors to this day. What do they have to hide?” Liz Harrington, a spokesperson for Trump’s team, told CNN.

Despite members of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors standing by the integrity of the county’s election results, which found that President Joe Biden carried the county by more than 2 percentage points, GOP state senators in Arizona demanded an election audit of the 2020 ballots in Maricopa County in April.

™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Dan Merica and Kyung Lah contributed to this report.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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