Joker: Kelli Ward, AZ GOP Chair/Fake Elector, rightly concerned: My actions “could appear treasonous”

 

Let Us  Hear No More about the Conscience of this Arizona Conservative 

 

18 People Indicted In Arizona Fake Electors Scheme

A sweeping state indictment in Trump’s 2020 fake electors scheme targets 11 (presumably all in-state) named defendants and seven as-yet-unnamed (and presumably all out-of-state) defendants who haven’t yet been served.

The case was investigated and is being brought by Attorney General Kris Mayes (D).

The 11 named defendants are:

  • Kelli Ward, former chair of the Arizona Republican Party and Trump fake elector
  • Michael Ward, Kelli Ward’s husband and Trump fake elector
  • Tyler Bowyer, Trump fake elector
  • Jacob Hoffman, Trump fake elector
  • Anthony Kern, Trump fake elector
  • James Lamon, Trump fake elector
  • Greg Safsten, former executive director of the Arizona Republican Party and Trump fake elector
  • Nancy Cottle, Trump fake elector
  • Loraine Pellegrino, Trump fake elector
  • Robert Montgomery, Trump fake elector
  • Samuel Moorhead, Trump fake elector

The seven redacted defendants, based on context and outside reporting, appear to be:

  • Mark Meadows
  • Rudy Giuliani
  • John Eastman
  • Boris Epshteyn
  • Christina Bobb
  • Jenna Ellis
  • Mike Roman

The Epshteyn indictment is a big deal given his central role in organizing Trump’s criminal defense team in the numerous cases against him. Bobb is a highly ironic defendant to have in an election interference case since she was just named the RNC’s new “election integrity” chief.

The Charges

  • Count 1: Conspiracy
  • Counts 2-3: Fraud
  • Counts 4-9: Forgery

Because the names of some of the defendants remain redacted in the indictment, it’s not entirely clear if each defendant is charged with all nine counts, but it appears that way based on the formatting of the redactions.

Among the unindicted conspirators in the case: Trump himself, Kenneth Chesebro, state Sen. Kelly Townsend, former state Rep. Mark Finchem, and former Arizona GOP lawyer Jack Wilenchik.

 

“Prosecutions of Fake Electors for Trump Gain Ground in Swing States”

“Georgia, Michigan and Nevada have already brought charges against people who posed as electors for Donald Trump, and Arizona and Wisconsin have active investigations.”

Update from the N.Y. Times. 

Also this snippet:

“Mr. Chesebro, who pleaded guilty to a felony last year in Georgia, later told investigators in Michigan that he had been misled by the Trump campaign and had not known that it was “trying to create chaos in state legislatures.”

“In December, Andrew Hitt, who was head of the Wisconsin Republican Party during the 2020 election, told a local ABC affiliate that he and other fake electors “were tricked” by the Trump campaign and thought they were only acting as a contingency, in case litigation succeeded.”

Amid a growing number of criminal investigations into the 2020 election, some who once cast electoral college votes for the former president say they would not do it again

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/12/10/trump-fake-electors-charges/

[Excerpt:]

Republican Party activist Ken Carroll thought he was doing the right thing when he agreed to cast an electoral college vote for Donald Trump at the Georgia Capitol on Dec. 14, 2020.

But he wouldn’t do it again.

“Knowing what I know now? No,” Carroll said. “But hindsight provides a wealth of knowledge we don’t have at the time of an event.”

Carroll was one of 84 Republican presidential electors who convened to cast votes for Trump in 2020 across seven states where Joe Biden had been declared the certified winner. And he is among the electors in six of those states who have become embroiled in criminal investigations of their actions — saddled with legal bills and in some cases facing criminal charges. Carroll says he never again wants to be involved with a criminal investigation.

In the past few months, 25 of those 84 electors have been charged with felonies, such as forgery, false statements and filing false documents. Ten more have agreed as part of a lawsuit settlement to not serve as electors in any election in which Trump is on the ballot. And 13 others in Georgia have been labeled “unindicted co-conspirators.”

More charges could soon come in Arizona, where Attorney General Kris Mayes (D) took office in January and launched an investigation that her Republican predecessor refused to do.

The investigation has picked up speed over the summer and through the fall, when members of a well-staffed prosecutorial team met with witnesses to learn about their knowledge about the strategy.

As part of the team’s interviews about the alternate elector strategy, Arizona investigators have also spent hours interviewing people about efforts by Trump and his allies to delay canvassing of the election results. One interview lasted hours and about five people from the attorney general’s team attended, a level of attention that conveys the seriousness

[Boldface added]

Exclusive: Pro-Trump lawyer Kenneth Chesebro cooperating in multiple state probes into 2020 fake electors plot

CNN — 

The pro-Trump lawyer who helped devise the 2020 fake electors plot and already pleaded guilty to the conspiracy in Georgia is now cooperating with Michigan and Wisconsin state investigators in hopes of avoiding more criminal charges, multiple sources told CNN.

In a dramatic turnaround from 2020 – when the lawyer, Kenneth Chesebro, was at the center of efforts by former President Donald Trump to subvert the Electoral College and overturn his defeat – Chesebro is now helping investigators in at least four states who are looking into the scheme.

Chesebro’s cooperation in Wisconsin is the first indication the state attorney general’s office has launched its own investigation into the false slates of pro-Trump electors. Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, a Democrat, has not publicly announced that an investigation is underway.

Chesebro also recently testified to a grand jury in Nevada, where indictments against six fake electors were announced Wednesday by state prosecutors. Additionally, Chesebro has been in contact with prosecutors in Arizona, where he plans to sit for an interview as part of that state’s ongoing investigation into fake electors.

CNN has previously identified Chesebro as an unindicted co-conspirator in special counsel Jack Smith’s federal indictment against Trump, where the former president is charged with organizing the fake electors scheme “to disenfranchise millions of voters” and unlawfully remain in power. There is no indication Chesebro is cooperating in the federal probe, or that Smith has ruled out charges against him.

The Trump campaign targeted seven states with the scheme in 2020. Charges have been filed against fake electors in Georgia, Michigan and Nevada. Investigations are underway in Arizona, New Mexico and now, apparently, Wisconsin. The seventh state in the plot was Pennsylvania.

The Michigan inquiry, led by state Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, was the first in the nation to produce criminal charges. It now appears that the scope of Nessel’s investigation may be broader than previously known, and is looking at other figures with ties to the scheme beyond the fake electors themselves.

The Michigan attorney general’s office confirmed to CNN in an email this week that their investigation is still active.

The Wisconsin attorney general’s office declined to comment, as did Chesebro’s lawyer.

Chesebro has entered into what’s known as proffer agreements in several states, which gives him some protection from prosecution, according to multiple sources. His cooperation with investigators in Michigan and Wisconsin has not been previously reported.

But cooperating with state prosecutors does not guarantee Chesebro will avoid criminal charges in one or all of the ongoing investigations, the sources cautioned.

Another pro-Trump lawyer in Michigan

Nessel’s ongoing investigation has already produced charges against the 16 fake electors in Michigan. One agreed to cooperate in exchange for his case being dropped. The rest pleaded not guilty, and there are key hearings this month in their bid to toss the case.

Sources told CNN that Nessel has scrutinized another pro-Trump lawyer, Ian Northon, who was in contact with top Trump allies after the 2020 election and accompanied the fake electors when they tried to enter the Michigan statehouse.

In charging documents against the Michigan fake electors, prosecutors highlighted how Northon tried to persuade a state trooper to let them into the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing – but they were rebuffed. This was a key part of the plan that Chesebro and others devised: Federal law and Michigan statutes require the electors to meet in the statehouse, and Chesebro hoped the pro-Trump slate would hew to the law as closely as possible.

An attorney for Northon did not comment for this story.

After the 2020 election, Northon participated in conference calls with then-Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman where they discussed how to contest the results, according to Northon’s testimony to the House select committee that investigated the January 6, 2021, insurrection.

Northon also had a phone call with Sidney Powell, a right-wing attorney and conspiracy theorist who has pleaded guilty in the Georgia election subversion case. She asked him to join a lawsuit she was filing in Michigan about nullifying the election – he declined and filed a separate suit contesting the results. The meritless cases went nowhere.

According to his congressional testimony, Northon had no ties to Chesebro, except that a colleague forwarded to him one of Chesebro’s memos about the Electoral College after the 2020 election. Northon also said he learned from a pro-Trump state legislator that the fake electors would be meeting in Lansing.

“I was as disappointed, I think, as anybody to see what happened on January 6 at the Capitol,” Northon told the House committee in 2022. “My efforts in representing these private clients were to get people to follow the law, not to encourage people to break it.”

 

A Trump ally is ready to come clean on Georgia’s fake electors. You listening, Kris Mayes?

Opinion: Prosecutors in Georgia and Michigan are putting the screws to their fake electors and election schemers. AG Kris Mayes should follow their lead.

Laurie Roberts

Arizona Republic
October 20, 2023
Well, well, well.

A key figure in the fake elector scheme took a plea deal in Georgia on Friday, agreeing to come clean about his part in the conspiracy to try to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Are you seeing this, Attorney General Kris Mayes?

Trump-aligned lawyer Kenneth Chesebro wrote memos detailing how Republicans could send false slates of presidential electors to Congress in an attempt to give Donald Trump the win or at least delay the Jan. 6, 2021, certification of Joe Biden’s victory.

According to his Fulton County, Ga., indictment, one of his memos “provides detailed, state-specific instructions for how Trump presidential elector nominees in Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin would meet and cast electoral votes” for Trump, even though he lost the election in those states.

Chesebro, who is pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit filing false documents, on Friday agreed to testify at any future trials of his fellow co-conspirators. He also agreed to turn over all emails and text messages to the district attorney’s office.

What does Chesebro know about Arizona?

[Boldface added]

Have got your plane ticket to Atlanta yet, AG Mayes?

It might be interesting to see what light Chesebro can shed on Arizona’s 11 fake electors.

Specifically, how they came to be meeting at state Republican Party headquarters on Dec. 14, 2020, signing documents falsely claiming to be “duly elected and qualified” to cast Arizona’s electoral votes for the guy who didn’t win.

How these “patriots” — including two who are now state senators (Jake Hoffman and Anthony Kern), the now-former chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party (Kelli Ward) and a top executive with Turning Point USA (Tyler Bowyer) — came up with the same wild idea that just coincidentally occurred to Republicans in six other swing states won by Biden.

Or how, even as those phonies were meeting in Phoenix to cast their non-existent votes for Trump, across town a group of Republican legislators were signing a letter to Vice President Mike Pence and Congress urging them to accept those “alternate” electoral votes.

Or how then-Rep. Mark Finchem, one of the state’s loudest stop the stealers, hand carried the lawmakers’ request to Washington on Jan. 5, 2021, putting it into the hands of one of Trump’s strongest acolytes on Capitol Hill, Rep. Andy Biggs.

Or how Biggs, along with Reps. Paul Gosar and Debbie Lesko, then voted the next day to reject Arizona’s legitimate electoral votes.

[Boldface added]

Where does Mayes’ investigation’ stand?

This wasn’t just 11 local Arizona rubes who decided on a whim to protest Biden’s win by casting a symbolic electoral vote for Trump.

This was a carefully planned scheme, meticulously coordinated — from the seeds of doubt deeply planted to erode trust in our elections to the fake electors who were part of a plot to steal the vote in Arizona and other swing states to the storming of the nation’s Capitol to stop Joe Biden from becoming president.

And certain Arizonans appear to be in on it up to their eyeballs.

Fake electors:Had a cast of characters helping them

Wouldn’t it be nice to hear what Chesebro might know about that?

Mayes vowed during last year’s campaign to investigate Arizona’s fake electors. She reportedly assigned a team of prosecutors to the investigation in May. Dan Barr, Mayes’s chief deputy, in July told the Washington Post the investigation was in the “fact-gathering” phase.Since then, we’ve heard nothing.

Michigan is bringing charges. What about us?

Meanwhile, in Michigan, one of that state’s 16 fake electors this week agreed to testify against his fellow phonies in return for dismissal of eight felony counts, including forgery and conspiracy to publish a false statement.

The Michigan 16, just like the Arizona 11, met at their state GOP headquarters and signed documents stating they were the state’s “duly elected and qualified electors.”

“That was a lie … and each of the defendants knew it,” Michigan prosecutors said, in their charging documents.

The Michigan fake elector whose charges were dismissed has agreed to “cooperate fully” with the AG’s office, agreeing to testify at trial and key hearings and provide investigators with “any and all relevant documents.”

Michigan in July became the first state to bring charges against the fake electors.

It shouldn’t be the last.

Simply put, Arizona’s fake electors and their co-conspirators tried to steal our vote.

There should be a penalty for that.

AG Mayes, I hear Atlanta is nice this time of year.

 

Trump attorneys guided false electors in Georgia, GOP chair says

In Tuesday’s filing, Shafer underscored that the strategy was driven almost entirely by lawyers acting on Trump’s behalf.  The false electors were later used by Trump allies to attempt to foment a conflict on Jan. 6, 2021 and derail the transfer of power to President Joe Biden.

Shafer is among the 18 defendants indicted in Fulton County, Georgia, alongside Trump as part of a conspiracy to subvert the 2020 election.

 

 

Arizona Investigators ‘Aggressively’ Looking at Top Trump Ally Kelli Ward

The fake elector, and one of the state’s most prominent Republicans, is in the crosshairs of a criminal probe into the scheme to steal the election

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/kelli-ward-crosshairs-arizona-fake-electors-investigation

ARIZONA’S CRIMINAL PROBE into the 2020 fake electors plot is heating up and investigators are now asking plenty of questions about a key Donald Trump ally involved in it: former state GOP chair Kelli Ward.

The Arizona probe has been accelerating in the past several weeks, two sources familiar with the matter tell Rolling Stone, with prosecutors gathering evidence and speaking with individuals with knowledge of how the fake electors scheme was carried out in the state. The fake electors plot was a core component of the then-president and his aligned lawyers’ plans to overturn his 2020 election defeat and stop the legitimate transfer of power to his Democratic successor Joe Biden.

The sources add that Ward — once one of the state’s most prominent Republicans — and her potential contacts and private activities following Election Day 2020 have been of particular interest to investigators as of late. One of these sources describes Arizona investigators as “moving aggressively” on this stage of the inquiry into the state’s pro-Trump fake electors, which included Ward, a Trump hardliner and then-chair of the Arizona Republican Party.

Ward did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ward, her husband, Michael, and nine other Arizona Republicans signed a document falsely attesting that they were the state’s legitimate electors casting Arizona’s Electoral College votes for Trump. 

According to the January 6 Committee report, Ward was “unusually active” in her advocacy for President Trump after the election. She spoke with the former president and participated in a Trump-backed pressure campaign to get the state to stop counting votes and delay certification of the tally showing Biden’s victory.

After Arizona certified its vote tally, Ward, her husband Michael, and 9 other Republicans in the state convened to falsely represent themselves as Arizona’s legitimate slate of electors during a signing ceremony recorded and shared on social media. 

In an email from Trumpaligned attorney Kenneth Chesebro to colleagues on the Trump team, the attorney relayed concerns from Ward and Republican state senator Kelly Townsend about the legality of the ploy. 

“Ward and Townsend are concerned it could appear treasonous for the AZ electors to vote on Monday if there is no pending court proceeding that might, eventually, lead to the electors being ratified as the legitimate ones,” Chesebro wrote in an email obtained by The New York Times

Investigators have started asking questions about any potential contacts between false electors such as Ward, then-President Trump, and other out-of-state officials and lawyers working on his behalf to steal the electionone of the sources tells Rolling Stone. In recent discussions with possible witnesses and others, some investigators have asked or requested information related to a video — tweeted by the Arizona GOP in December 2020 — where Ward and other Trump allies sign documents falsely claiming to be the state’s legitimate electors.  

“They actually have themselves on video doing it,” says one of the people familiar with the stage of the investigation. “It is as if Ward and everyone else were thinking: How do we make this a walk in the park for [the prosecutors]?”

A spokesperson for the Arizona attorney general’s office declined to comment and referred Rolling Stone to public comments made by Attorney General Kris Mayes on Wednesday following the Trump indictment in Fulton County, Georgia.

“We are investigating the fake electors situation. I understand why folks want to know what is happening in our investigation. That is a natural desire given what just happened in Georgia and in Michigan,” Mayes said. “But we are doing a thorough and professional investigation and we’re going to do it on our timetable as justice demands.”

Ward has already drawn the attention of the federal special counsel’s office related to a 2020 lawsuit alleging “misconduct” by election officials and a mass of “illegal votes.” In May, prosecutors from the special counsel subpoenaed the Arizona secretary of state’s office asking for records related to both Ward’s suit and a suit from the Trump campaign alleging that election machines in the state had erroneously rejected ballots from voters. Arizona courts ultimately tossed both suits. 

In July, former Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers also told CNN that he was interviewed by FBI agents as part of the special counsel’s investigation into the 2020 election. Trump and senior advisers pressured Bowers to decertify the state electors for Biden, a move Bowers refused. 

Reached on Friday, Bowers declined to answer questions. “I am under counsel to not discuss anything at this time, so I must … [decline to comment],” he tells Rolling Stone.

Before Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to investigate the attempt to overturn the election, both Ward and her husband received subpoenas to testify before a federal grand jury investigating the fake electors scheme in the state. 

Ward also fought an unsuccessful legal battle to shield her phone records from the January 6 Committee. The committee questioned Ward under subpoena but she invoked the Fifth Amendment and declined to answer.

 

[Boldface added]
Cyber Ninjas’ ties to Trump during Arizona election ‘audit’ revealed in messages

Ryan RandazzoRobert Anglen

Arizona Republic

and

PublishedJan. 26, 2023; Updated Jan. 26, 2023
Former President Donald Trump publicly kept his distance from the review of Maricopa County’s 2020 election. But inside Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, his influence loomed over critical aspects of the “audit,” according to messages sent and received by the man leading the ballot recount.
New records show Trump received direct updates from people at the coliseum, his allies pressured the lead contractor on when to report findings, and that contractor asked people close to the former president if he could help pay for it. This all happened as leaders of the state Senate publicly denied Trump had any involvement in their effort.
While messages from those working on the audit indicate they intentionally kept the president at arm’s length to avoid the appearance of his influence, behind the scenes they sought Trump’s approval — and money.
In April 2021, four days before the election review began, Cyber Ninjas founder Doug Logan used a private messaging system to discuss taking a donation from Trump and his team surreptitiously.
“I told them there was no way I could take funds directly,” he said in the chat.
Once the audit concluded and the now-defunct Cyber Ninjas was millions of dollars in debt, Logan would lament that Trump never did directly fund his work.
“It’s my understanding that our underfunded status is known all the way up to 45,” Logan wrote to a subcontractor in a conversation about how to pay everyone. “Never talked with him, but I’ve been told the message has been received.”
Logan has released tens of thousands of personal messages he sent to supporters and subcontractors involved in the audit in response to ongoing lawsuits from The Arizona Republic and a left-leaning watchdog group based in Washington, D.C., called American Oversight.
The messages reveal for the first time how Logan worked with Trump allies to help finance the work, shape media coverage and manage day-to-day operations as teams worked to hand count 2.1 million ballots cast by county voters.
Logan for months fought the release of his personal messages, which The Republic first sought through state Public Records Law. But after a $50,000-a-day sanction for noncompliance and exhausting all appeals, Logan’s lawyer has turned over many — but not all — text and Signal messages Logan sent and received while working on the audit.
Logan on Tuesday declined to comment on the pleas for money he made through extensive communication with Christina Bobb, a former Trump lawyer and conservative broadcaster who served as a go-between for the former president.
Arizona Senate Republicans hired Cyber Ninjas to recount and inspect ballots, and the so-called “audit” confirmed President Joe Biden’s win in the state and made no concrete findings of wrongdoing by election officials. But for months it served as a marketing tool for politicians who campaigned on unproven accusations that the election was compromised.
Senate Republicans said from the outset that Trump did not push for the audit and did not provide any assistance for it, financial or otherwise.
Former Senate President Karen Fann, a Prescott Republican who hired Cyber Ninjas, repeatedly said the effort was not done to put Trump back in the White House.
“This absolutely has nothing to do with Trump,” Fann wrote in an email to a constituent days after the audit began in 2021. “The election cannot be overturned. This audit is ONLY about election integrity, answering their questions, and hopefully proving there was nothing wrong with the election.”
She reacted with surprise Jan. 19 to the newly released messages when contacted about them by a reporter. When the audit began, she said, she did not know the extent to which Trump allies were involved.
“I did not know,” she said. “Since then I have now connected the dots. … Obviously, in the subsequent months, it was very apparent.”

Trump was watching, chatting with broadcaster

Several references in Logan’s messages indicate people in Trump’s circle were closely watching Maricopa County and reporting back to the former president, who they sometimes referred to as “45.” Trump was the nation’s 45th president.
Logan in the messages discussed Trump’s interest in the work with Bobb, who was given broad access to the election review while working as a personality for the right-wing OAN Network.
Bobb worked in the Trump administration as an appointee in the Department of Homeland Security. She left in early 2020 to join OAN. But after Trump lost the 2020 election, Bobb volunteered to help his legal team challenge the results and was with his team until the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, according to her testimony to the congressional committee that investigated the attack.
Shortly after Trump’s loss, she helped coordinate a meeting in Arizona at which Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani suggested the election was compromised.
Bobb continued to work as a personality for OAN and began covering the Arizona audit, where she messaged frequently with Logan. She also helped raise money for the audit through her connections to Trump and his organization.
Other media were restricted to a small press box in Veterans Memorial Coliseum — when they could get into the building at all.
Bobb at one point told Logan she would ask the Trump organization for recommendations for a lawyer to help with the audit because Logan didn’t like the lawyer recommended to him at the time.
On June 19, 2021, Logan asked Bobb if Trump would pressure Arizona GOP Chair Kelli Ward to donate some of the money she was raising off the audit to the actual work, which he said she had not done. Bobb said Trump liked Ward because she was an “outspoken media personality” and was unlikely to push her to fund the audit.
In this series of messages, Doug Logan talks about audit funding with Christina Bobb. Logan, founder of Cyber Ninjas, turned over tens of thousands of personal messages in response to lawsuits.

In this series of messages, Doug Logan talks about audit funding with Christina Bobb. Logan, founder of Cyber Ninjas, turned over tens of thousands of personal messages in response to lawsuits. Text Messages Provided To Arizona Senate By Doug Logan
Logan followed up, asking if Trump could press people to donate to the nonprofits set up to fund the audit.
“I will ask him. He shies away from publicly supporting the audit. I will raise the money issue with him next time we talk,” Bobb responded.
Then on June 25, Bobb discussed funding with Logan, telling him that a wire would come from “Sidney” from Defending the Republic. Trump lawyer Sidney Powell raised money after his loss through a nonprofit by that name.
“I reached out to her and she didn’t take my call. I’ll try again. If she doesn’t answer, I’ll have Trump call,” Bobb wrote to Logan.
Months later, Logan would report that Powell’s group donated $550,000 to his work.
Bobb said in a recent interview with The Republic that she didn’t officially join the Trump team until April 2022. But she did communicate with Trump about the audit.
“I knew that he was very interested in the audit,” she said. “I was never officially communicating anything on behalf of anybody.”
Often, Trump just wanted more detail than what she had shared in her news stories, Bobb said.
She said she never received funding for the audit from Trump or any organization affiliated with him.
“He was not involved in funding. I did ask. It was a no,” she said.

Messages sought updates on counting, funding

In May 2021, as the work passed the one-month mark, Logan messaged with a man named Patrick Weaver who worked on the audit. Weaver was affiliated with The America Project, one of the groups that funded Logan’s work beyond the $150,000 paid by the state.
“Any total count numbers you can give me for Abby to give to Trump?” Weaver wrote to Logan on May 25, 2021. The identity of “Abby” is unclear.
In this message, Patrick Weaver asks Doug Logan for an audit update to provide Donald Trump. Logan, founder of Cyber Ninjas, turned over tens of thousands of personal messages in response to lawsuits.

In this message, Patrick Weaver asks Doug Logan for an audit update to provide Donald Trump. Logan, founder of Cyber Ninjas, turned over tens of thousands of personal messages in response to lawsuits. Text Messages Provided To Arizona Senate By Doug Logan
Logan responded with an update on the counting.
In July, Logan messaged with Phil Waldron, a retired Army colonel who worked with President Trump’s chief of staff after his 2020 defeat to concoct ways Trump might stay in office.Waldron said Trump had planned to send $1 million to the audit, but Logan said he had not received it.“Payment – 1 mil – supposedly Kurt talked to trump and they got 1 mil for you,” Waldron wrote to Logan. The identity of “Kurt” is unclear.

Fann unaware of some connections to Trump

Fann acknowledged that Bobb and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani “called several times” before the audit began as part of an effort to call the election into question. But said she did not “know anything else that was going on in the background” of the ballot count.
Arizona needed the audit to assure voters there was no chicanery in the numbers, Fann said.
“My job was to make sure we had an honest election in Arizona,” she said.
She confirmed Trump called her “a couple of times” to discuss the audit as it unfolded. She said she didn’t recall him trying to exert influence over the process, but rather he asked about it.
“He told me, ‘Thank you for doing this,'” she said.
Even as Bobb reported on and raised funds for the election review — and her network was selected to livestream camera footage from the coliseum — Fann said she believed Bobb was acting only in her capacity as a news host, not a Trump surrogate.

‘Is God really going to come through?’

Logan’s lawyer has redacted several messages between him and Bobb sent during this time, despite clear orders from Arizona courts to turn over everything. Still, some of the unredacted messages show Bobb held out her connection to Trump as a way to influence Logan, who was desperate for money.
“Is God really going to come through in funding this thing?” Logan wrote to Bobb on June 26, 2021.
She replied: “I don’t know what he’s going to do, but I know in the end we win. I don’t know how we get there. But yes, in the end it will all workout.”
Logan told her that day he needed about $4.8 million more to complete the audit.
“I’ll raise with 45 again next time we talk,” Bobb replied.
The next day, Bobb messaged Logan asking if the Senate would issue a news release with his preliminary findings. Contractors had finished counting and inspecting ballots at the coliseum a few days before. It would be months before Logan made a final report.
“I’m getting a lot of concerned people calling me saying the audit will lose credibility if there isn’t some type of announcement tomorrow,” she wrote.
In this text message, Christina Bobb asks Doug Logan about a potential announcement about the audit.

In this text message, Christina Bobb asks Doug Logan about a potential announcement about the audit. Text Messages Provided To Arizona Senate By Doug Logan
Logan didn’t want to issue preliminary findings. He pushed back.
“That wouldn’t be the case if there wasn’t so much fake news that a number was expected tomorrow,” he told the reporter.
Bobb lashed out.
“I strongly suggest you don’t blame me for fake news,” Bobb wrote. “I STRONGLY suggest that.”
Bobb didn’t pretend to be an independent observer about the ballot review.
“Remember we’re on the same side,” she wrote to Logan. “If you want to fight me, we both will lose.”
Bobb said in an interview Jan. 19 she was pressuring Logan as a reporter, not on behalf of Trump.
“They needed to release the numbers. I remember that,” Bobb said. “I was holding him to the same standard that I was holding the election officials. Why don’t we have a result on election night? My personal opinion is when you are done counting, if you don’t release the numbers that looks sketchy. I’m not accusing anybody of doing anything wrong, but it raises a lot of questions.”
Asked whether she thought Logan did a good job on his final report, she said, “I don’t have a comment on that. I like Doug Logan. I think he’s great.”

 

Supreme Court clears way for Jan. 6 panel to access records of Arizona GOP chair


https://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/3734448-supreme-court-clears-way-for-jan-6-panel-to-access-records-of-arizona-gop-chair/
[Excerpts:]
The Supreme Court on Monday cleared the way for the House panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection to access phone records belonging to the Arizona Republican Party’s chairwoman.The Jan. 6 panel — which has subpoenaed T-Mobile, Ward’s phone carrier — has expressed interest in her role as a phony pro-Trump elector following his loss in Arizona during the 2020 election.Ward and her husband, Michael Ward, were among a group of 11 Arizonans who signed a fake election certificate purporting to show that former President Trump won the state.The couple sought emergency relief in the Supreme Court after lower courts denied their bid to shield the records that congressional investigators are pursuing as part of their probe of last year’s pro-Trump riot at the Capitol.The Jan. 6 House committee has described the multistate attempt to put forth fake Trump electors as central to the effort to overturn Trump’s defeat, which eventually led to the riot.Last month, a divided panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit voted 2-1 to deny the Wards’ request for an order barring T-Mobile from complying with the Jan. 6 panel’s subpoena for records spanning the run-up to the November 2020 election through January 2021.Earlier in the case, a federal judge in Arizona rejected the Wards’ request to quash the subpoena, prompting their unsuccessful appeal.

The justice’s “administrative stay” of a subpoena for an Arizona Republican’s phone records was not an indication of how the Supreme Court would rule.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/10/26/us/politics/kagan-jan-6-subpoena-supreme-court.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share&referringSource=articleShare

WASHINGTON — Justice Elena Kagan on Wednesday temporarily blocked a subpoena from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol for phone records of Kelli Ward, the chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party.

Justice Kagan, who oversees the appeals court that refused to block the subpoena, issued an “administrative stay” meant to preserve the status quo while the Supreme Court considers the matter. As is the court’s practice, she gave no reasons.

Justice Kagan ordered the committee to respond to Ms. Ward’s emergency application by Friday. That was an indication that the full court would rule on the matter.

Inquiries into efforts to subvert the 2020 presidential election have given rise to all sorts of litigation, but relatively little of it has reached the Supreme Court. That may be changing. The justices are also considering whether Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, must answer questions from a special grand jury in Georgia investigating efforts to overturn former President Donald J. Trump’s election loss in the state.

In Ms. Ward’s case, a divided three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, rejected a request from her and her husband to block a subpoena seeking metadata information about calls placed between November 2020 and January 2021. The subpoena did not seek information about the content or location of the calls.

Ms. Ward argued that the subpoena infringed on her First Amendment right to freedom of association.

The members of the majority — Judge Barry G. Silverman, appointed by President Bill Clinton, and Judge Eric D. Miller, appointed by President Donald J. Trump — wrote that Ms. Ward had not met her burden.

“Ward participated in a scheme to send spurious electoral votes to Congress, a scheme that the committee describes as ‘a key part’ of the ‘effort to overturn the election’ that culminated on Jan. 6,” the two judges wrote.

They added that Ms. Ward had invoked her Fifth Amendment rights when the committee sought to question her. “Having attempted the less intrusive method of asking Ward directly,” the two judges wrote, “the committee has a strong interest in pursuing its investigation by other means.”

The majority said the subpoena did not appear to affect political activities.

“There is little to suggest that disclosing Ward’s phone records to the committee will affect protected associational activity,” the two judges wrote, adding: “This subpoena does not target any organization or association. The investigation, after all, is not about Ward’s politics; it is about her involvement in the events leading up to the Jan. 6 attack, and it seeks to uncover those with whom she communicated in connection with those events.”

In dissent, Judge Sandra S. Ikuta, appointed by President George W. Bush, said the majority had given insufficient weight to the couple’s constitutional rights. “The communications at issue here between members of a political party about an election implicate a core associational right protected by the First Amendment,” Judge Ikuta wrote.

[Boldface added]

Blake Masters Is the Most Dangerous Candidate in America

What makes Arizona’s GOP Senate hopeful such a threat is that unlike a lot of other far-right politicians, he really believes what he’s saying.

 

The Arizona Republican Party’s Anti-Democratic Experience

First, it turned against the establishment. Now it has set its sights on democracy – the principles, the process and even the word itself.

By Robert Draper

August 15, 2022

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/15/magazine/arizona-republicans-democracy

[Excerpt:]

The most telling among Trump’s Arizona endorsements is that of the secretary of state candidate Mark Finchem, whom Trump has described in an official statement as “a true warrior” who took an “incredibly powerful stance on the Massive Voter Fraud that took place in the 2020 Presidential Election Scam.” Indeed, Finchem, as a state representative, was one of Arizona’s first public officials to baselessly claim that the state’s voting machines had been corrupted in Biden’s favor. At a candidate forum I attended in mid-July, Finchem disclosed to the audience that he had charged $5,000 to his personal American Express card to rent out a Phoenix hotel conference room where, on Nov. 30, 2020, he and Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani staged a multihour presentation to Finchem’s fellow state legislators of supposed fraud in Arizona, even as state officials were certifying the election for Biden a few miles away. As secretary of state, Finchem would be Arizona’s top election official during a potential rematch of Trump and Biden in 2024 and could work to invalidate the results, which the current secretary of state, the Democrat Katie Hobbs, now running for governor, refused to do in 2020.

The enmeshment of Finchem and other Arizona Republicans in the tumultuous final weeks of Trump’s presidency is remarkable in its depth and complexity. On Nov. 4, 2020, the day after the election, Representative Paul Gosar conceived the first protest of the results anywhere in the United States, marching to the Maricopa County recorder’s office in Phoenix, where the ballots were still being tallied. Joining Trump’s lawyer Sidney Powell in a postelection lawsuit seeking to invalidate Arizona’s results, on the factually unsupported grounds that “old-fashioned 19th-century ballot stuffing” had occurred there, was the Phoenix lawyer Alexander Kolodin, who on primary night won a seat in the State Legislature (no Democrat will oppose him in the general election). As the flurry of Arizona lawsuits failed one by one, the state’s G.O.P. chairwoman, Ward — who had also filed an unsuccessful election lawsuit — maintained a weekslong pressure campaign against the Republican-controlled Maricopa County Board of Supervisors to throw out the results, saying in one ominous text message (among many that were obtained by The Arizona Republic), “I know you don’t want to be remembered as the guy who led the charge to certify a fraudulent election.”

Two weeks after the Nov. 30 election-fraud hearing convened by Finchem and Giuliani, while state officials were certifying the Arizona results, the official state G.O.P. Twitter account posted a video of Ward and 10 other Republicans signing documents falsely proclaiming themselves to be the state’s electors and declaring the election results illegitimate. Among the phony electors were three Republicans who would later appear on the 2022 primary ballot: the U.S. Senate candidate Jim Lamon and the State Senate candidates Anthony Kern and Jake Hoffman. (Lamon was defeated by Masters; Kern and Hoffman won.) This fake-elector scheme had been in the works for over a month and involved Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who in emails obtained by The Washington Post urged two Arizona lawmakers, Speaker Rusty Bowers and State Representative Shawnna Bolick, to “take action to ensure that a clean slate of electors is chosen.”

When that maneuver also failed to bear fruit, several Arizona Republicans joined with Trump in attempting a final desperate postelection measure. On Dec. 21, 2020, Gosar and his fellow Arizona congressman Andy Biggs, then the head of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus, were among a group of G.O.P. House members who met with Trump in the White House to discuss actions including calling on Vice President Mike Pence to decertify the election results unilaterally. Two weeks later, on Jan. 5, 2021, 16 Arizona legislators — Bolick, Kern and Finchem among them — signed a letter to Pence that was also signed by Republican legislators in four other contested states, urging him to delay certifying the election results for 10 days. Pence refused to do so, and on Jan. 6, Kern and Finchem were among the Arizonans who descended on the Capitol. Finchem photographed the riotous mob and posted it on Twitter with the caption, “What happens when the People feel they have been ignored, and Congress refuses to acknowledge rampant fraud.”

As a result of their involvement in Trump’s efforts to steal back the presidency, Finchem, Ward, Biggs and other Arizona Republicans have been issued subpoenas by the Jan. 6 committee. (Though Ward taunted Democrats last year for their resistance to the State Senate audit in Arizona — “What are they hiding?” she demanded at the time — she has since sued to block the committee from obtaining her cellphone records.) Back home in Arizona, however, they have faced no reprisals within their party. Far from it: Their willingness to assist Trump in overturning the 2020 election was rewarded across the boards on primary night.

There was no mystery as to why. According to a state survey of Arizona voters last year, 61 percent of Republicans believed the 2020 election “was stolen from President Trump.” Perhaps not by coincidence, the G.O.P. primary candidates who spoke the most vociferously about fraud in the 2020 elections were those like Kari Lake and Blake Masters, who were not in Trump’s trenches back then and now had to work overtime to prove themselves fit for combat against the enemy.

Politicians involved in Donald Trump’s effort to put forth electors to falsely claim he had won Arizona said doing so without first filing a legal challenge could look like a crime.

Two Arizona Republicans recruited by allies of former President Donald J. Trump to join an effort to keep him in office after he lost the 2020 election grew so concerned about the plan that they told lawyers working on it that they feared their actions could be seen as treason, according to emails reviewed by The New York Times.

Kelli Ward, the chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party, and Kelly Townsend, a state senator, were both said to have expressed concerns to Mr. Trump’s lawyers in December 2020 about participating in a plan to sign on to a slate of electors claiming that Mr. Trump had won Arizona, even though Joseph R. Biden Jr. had won the state.

The scheme was part of a broader bid — one of the longest running and most complicated that Mr. Trump undertook as he sought to cling to power after losing the 2020 presidential election — to falsely manufacture a victory for him by creating fake slates of electors in battleground states who would claim that he had been the true winner.

Some of the lawyers who undertook the effort doubted its legality, and the emails, which have not been previously reported, were the latest indication that other key players also knew they were on shaky legal ground, and took pains to create a rationale that could justify their actions.

Kenneth Chesebro, a lawyer working for Mr. Trump’s campaign, wrote in a Dec. 11, 2020, email to other members of the legal team that Ms. Ward and Ms. Townsend had raised concerns about casting votes as part of an alternate slate of electors because there was no pending legal challenge that could flip the results of Arizona’s election.

“Ward and Townsend are concerned it could appear treasonous for the AZ electors to vote on Monday if there is no pending court proceeding that might, eventually, lead to the electors being ratified as the legitimate ones,” Mr. Chesebro wrote to the group, which included Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer.

Mr. Chesebro wrote the word “treasonous” in bold.

Image

The use of the word underscored how well aware at least some of Mr. Trump’s allies were that they were undertaking truly extraordinary steps to keep him in office, so much so that they risked being seen as betraying their country.

Ms. Ward, who pushed for the electors plan to be kept secret, ultimately joined the effort and signed a document that purported to be a “certificate of the votes of the 2020 electors from Arizona” and claimed that Mr. Trump had won the state’s 11 Electoral College votes.

One person working on the plan, the Arizona-based lawyer Jack Wilenchik, conceded in emails that the Electoral College votes the campaign was working to organize “aren’t legal under federal law” and repeatedly referred to them as “fake,” The Times has reported.

In a later email, Mr. Wilenchik said that the rush to file the papers with the Supreme Court was “to give legal ‘cover’ for the electors in AZ to ‘vote’” on Dec. 14, 2020, the day the Electoral College was slated to gather and cast votes.

Ms. Townsend did not serve as one of the electors for Mr. Trump, but pushed his claims of a stolen election.

Both Ms. Ward and Ms. Townsend have since received subpoenas from the Justice Department asking questions about the fake electors plan and demanding documents detailing communications with Mr. Trump’s legal team.

The department has widened its investigation into the events leading up to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, including issuing a subpoena for Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel to Mr. Trump who pushed back on some of his most extreme efforts to overturn the election, according to a person familiar with the subpoena.

Ms. Ward, Ms. Townsend, Mr. Wilenchik and Mr. Chesebro did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The push to organize slates of false electors involved hands-on work by Mr. Giuliani, who the emails indicate spoke with Ms. Ward and Ms. Townsend as the Trump campaign was apparently urging the electors to vote on Dec. 14.

Mr. Chesebro sought assurances from Mr. Wilenchik that he would quickly file papers to the U.S. Supreme Court contesting a ruling by Arizona’s Supreme Court affirming Mr. Biden’s win in the state.

“Reason is that Kelli Ward & Kelly Townsend just spoke to the mayor about the campaign’s request that all electors vote Monday in all contested states,” Mr. Chesebro wrote to Mr. Wilenchik, apparently referring to a conversation with Mr. Giuliani.

He said that the concern from Ms. Ward and Ms. Townsend was that activating an alternate group of electors in favor of Mr. Trump “could appear treasonous” in the absence of a pending lawsuit. “Which is a valid point — in the Hawaii 1960 incident, when the Kennedy electors voted, there was a pending recount,” Mr. Chesebro added.

He was referring to an instance that he and others were using as a foundation for their argument that they could put forward fake slates of electors. In 1960, the result of the election in Hawaii was unsettled as the Electoral College was close to meeting. The governor certified a slate of electors in favor of Richard M. Nixon, who claimed he had won as the recount continued. John F. Kennedy also formed a slate of electors.

When the vote count was finished, Mr. Kennedy had won, and his slate of electors ultimately was certified.

However, little about the 1960 incident resembled what happened in 2020. By the time the Electoral College met on Dec. 14, 2020, the votes had all been counted, Mr. Biden had been declared the winner and various courts had tossed challenges filed by Mr. Trump’s allies.

In a follow-up email, Mr. Chesebro wrote that he no longer saw “cause for concern” because a legal action some of the group planned to file was “at the printer” and that the Supreme Court considers an action docketed whenever it is mailed. He wrote that it would be in the mail by the time the Electoral College met.

Mr. Wilenchik filed the petition the same day, records show. (The Supreme Court denied the petition in February 2021. )

In the weeks after the election, Mr. Chesebro wrote a series of memos outlining a plan to send so-called alternate electors to Congress for the certification. A little more than two weeks after Election Day, Mr. Chesebro sent a memo to James Troupis, another lawyer for the Trump campaign in Wisconsin, laying out a plan to name pro-Trump electors in that state, which was also won by Mr. Biden.

Mr. Chesebro also sent a Dec. 13, 2020, email to Mr. Giuliani that encouraged Vice President Mike Pence to “firmly take the position that he, and he alone, is charged with the constitutional responsibility not just to open the votes, but to count them — including making judgments about what to do if there are conflicting votes.”

That idea became the basis for Mr. Trump’s pressure campaign against Mr. Pence in which the president attempted to convince his own vice president that he could block or delay the congressional certification of Mr. Biden’s victory on Jan. 6, 2021.

Mr. Chesebro also was involved in a Dec. 24, 2020, email exchange with John C. Eastman, the pro-Trump lawyer, over whether to file legal papers that they hoped might prompt four justices to agree to hear an election case from Wisconsin.

In those emails, Mr. Chesebro argued that the “odds of action before Jan. 6 will become more favorable if the justices start to fear that there will be ‘wild’ chaos on Jan. 6 unless they rule by then, either way.”

Their exchange took place five days after Mr. Trump issued a call for his supporters to attend a protest at the Ellipse near the White House on Jan. 6, 2021, the day Congress would certify the electoral vote count confirming Mr. Biden’s victory. “Be there. Will be wild!” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter.

 

Two ‘Alternate Electors’ sue January 6 Committee to Block Supoena

Arizona GOP Chair Kelli Ward and her husband, who are both doctors, argue that turning over their phone records would violate their patients’ rights to privacy.

Feb. 2, 2022

By Dareh Gregorian and Daniel Barnes

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/two-alternate-electors-sue-jan-6-committee-block-subpoena-rcna14669

A pair of so-called alternate electors sued this week to block the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol from getting their phone records.

Kelli Ward, the Arizona GOP chair, and her husband, Michael Ward, argued in papers filed Tuesday in federal court in Arizona that the congressional panel should be prevented from getting their phone records because they are doctors.

The suit contends that if T-Mobile were to hand over their records to the committee, it would “violate state and federal privileges of medical privacy and physician-client communications; and substantially infringe the right to privacy guaranteed under Arizona state law by invading the Plaintiffs’ seclusion.”

A spokesperson for the Jan. 6 committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The House panel issued subpoenas last week to 14 of the 84 so-called alternate electors who falsely claimed that then-President Donald Trump had won the election in their states.

Ward, an ardent Trump supporter who fought to overturn President Joe Biden’s electoral victory in Arizona, and her husband were part of a bogus slate of electors, which she celebrated on YouTube at the time. “We believe that we are the electors for the legally cast votes here in Arizona,” she said in a video posted Dec. 15, 2020.

Several experts on election law said the Justice Department could pursue criminal charges related to the filing of Electoral College votes for Trump from states that voted for Biden in 2020.

 

Candidate for Secretary of State asks DOJ to investigate Kelli Ward and fake Republican electors

By: Mark Phillips

Feb 04, 2022 and last updated Feb 06, 2022

https://www.abc15.com/news/local-news/candidate-for-secretary-of-state-asks-doj-to-investigate-kelli-ward-and-fake-republican-electors

[Excerpts:]

PHOENIX — More potential legal problems for Arizona Republican Party chair Kelli Ward. Earlier this week the January 6th Commission subpoenaed Ward and her husband Michael Ward’s phone records as part of its investigation.

The Wards signed documents falsely claiming to be among the state’s presidential electors in 2020. Friday, former Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes, who is running as a Democratic candidate for Secretary of State, sent an official request to the Department of Justice accusing Kelli Ward and the eleven people who signed on as electors of making false claims to federal and state officials in an attempt to change the electoral college votes in Arizona.

The Wards are attempting to block the subpoenas. There is no word yet on when a judge will rule on their request.

 

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/two-alternate-electors-sue-jan-6-committee-block-subpoena-rcna14669

Certificates purporting to be from Trump electors were sent to Washington by Republicans in seven battleground states — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

The Wards were not among the 14 fake electors the House panel named last week, but the suit says the committee subpoenaed their phone records last month, focusing on the period from Nov. 1, 2020, to Jan. 31, 2021.

The lawsuit made many of the same arguments that have been raised by other Trump allies resisting the committee’s subpoenas, including the assertion that the panel does not have enough Republicans and that its subpoenas lack a “legislative purpose.” Those arguments have not gained traction in court.

The argument that the subpoenas would violate doctor-patient privacy appears to be a first. The suit says that Kelli Ward “derives meaning and satisfaction from her work outside of politics as a doctor” and that since December 2019 she “has practiced medicine exclusively in the field of medical weight loss.”

It says that “for many of Kelli Ward’s patients, the mere fact that they are seeing a doctor for medical weight loss is a sensitive issue, and some bring up other issues … all of which are intensely personal and private medical concerns.”

The case involving the lawsuit was initially assigned to U.S. District Judge Susan Brnovich, a Trump appointee whose husband, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, was criticized by Trump at a rally in the state last month for not doing more to investigate “fraud” in the 2020 election. Kelli Ward spoke at the rally, the Arizona Capitol Times reported.

Brnovich on Wednesday recused herself from the case, which has since been assigned to another judge.

 

Arizona GOP chair Kelli Ward rejects calls for audit of party elections

By Dan Merica, CNN

Updated 3:10 PM ET, Sat January 30, 2021

https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/30/politics/arizona-gop-kelli-ward-audit/index.html

Kelli Ward on Friday rejected calls for an audit into her recent reelection as the chair of the Arizona Republican Party and other party races, arguing that the state GOP does not have the structure to review them.

“We don’t have the structure to be able to do an audit,” she said on KFYI’s radio show “The Conservative Circus with James T. Harris,” adding, “But we welcome their input to make elections bigger.”

She added that the structure for an audit “doesn’t exist in our process, our procedures, our bylaws, in statute.”

After promoting Trump’s baseless fraud claims, Kelli Ward facing audit of her own Arizona GOP win

Ward, one of the most fervent proponents of former President Donald Trump’s false claim that the 2020 election was stolen from him, claimed not only that an audit was not possible, but that calls for it were being pushed as a way to attack her.

She argued that the only people demanding an audit are Sergio Arellano — a Tucson small business owner who challenged Ward for the top state party job — and people who were part of his campaign.

Arellano did not respond to CNN’s request for a response to Ward on Friday.

 

There Are A Lot Of Questions’: Arizona GOP Faces Concerns About Party Elections

January 28, 20213:50 PM ET

Heard on Morning Edition

BEN GILES

https://www.npr.org/2021/01/28/961714642/there-are-a-lot-of-questions-arizona-gop-faces-concerns-about-party-elections

Then-President Donald Trump is greeted by Kelli Ward, chair of the Arizona Republican Party, during a stop in Arizona last year.

The chair of Arizona’s Republican Party has been a leading voice for false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.

Now Kelli Ward faces questions from her fellow Republicans about the state party’s recent election of party leaders, and possibly her own reelection as party chair.

Multiple Arizona Republicans have demanded an audit of the state party’s leadership election at its Jan. 23 biennial convention. Ward claimed a narrow victory that day, reportedly defeating southern Arizona businessman Sergio Arellano by 42 votes. Local press was barred from covering the event, which has traditionally been open to reporters.

Concerns about the vote-counting process grew after a candidate running to serve on a committee in Arizona’s 8th Congressional District was announced as the winner at the meeting. Hours later, Sandra Dowling was told she actually lost, according to multiple Republicans.

Kim Owens, a Republican who supported Arellano’s bid for party chair, said the state party didn’t allow observers to watch the vote-counting process, a violation of the party’s election procedures.

It’s an accusation reminiscent of failed GOP complaints last fall in multiple states, such as Pennsylvania, where then-President Donald Trump lost to now-President Biden.

“We can’t just talk the talk. We have to walk the walk. And this is a perfect example of, if there was nothing to hide, there’s nothing to hide. Let’s put it all out in the open. Count the votes,” Owens said. “We have every expectation that the results will be exactly what were announced. But because there are questions in the minds of the voters, we need to just put that to rest and move on.”

State party leaders still haven’t released a full tally of the votes cast during the convention.

That includes the vote to reelect Ward as party chair, but also controversial votes to censure top Arizona Republicans, including Gov. Doug Ducey, former U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake and Cindy McCain, the widow of late U.S. Sen. John McCain.

Trey Terry, a Republican active with the party in the West Valley, said those tallies are usually announced moments after the votes are counted.

“There are a lot of questions. There are a lot of concerns. And this is supposed to be the party of election integrity. And I don’t think we had that on Saturday,” Terry said.

Terry voted for Arellano as an alternative to Ward, saying he soured on her leadership after watching Republicans lose another U.S. Senate seat in 2020 and lose the popular vote for president for the first time since 1996.

Ward’s response in the weeks after the election didn’t help.

“The behavior after the election results was probably the final straw for me. You know, the Twitter account that has just become a late night troll. It’s embarrassing to most Arizona Republicans I talk to.”

However, Owens said the requests for an audit aren’t an attempt to rehash the race for party chair.

“This is not about one candidate or one race — it’s about the moral high ground that we have set. We believe in election integrity. And if that’s the case, then this should not be a problem going forward,” she said.

Arizona Republican Party officials did not respond to a request for comment.

 

Kelli Ward files suit against VP Pence to give election to Trump

By Howard Fischer, For Prescott News Network |  azcapmedia

December 29, 2020

https://www.dcourier.com/news/2020/dec/29/kelli-ward-files-suit-against-vp-pence-give-election/

Dr. Kelli Ward, left, chair of the Arizona Republican Party, talks with a supporter of President Donald Trump as they join the crowd at a rally outside the Arizona state capitol Nov. 7, 2020, in Phoenix. Legal papers filed Monday, Dec. 28, 2020, by Ward and the state’s GOP in federal court in Texas ask a judge there to void laws that give the ultimate authority to Congress to decide which Electoral College delegates should be counted. (Ross D. Franklin/AP, file)

 

Arizona GOP Censures Cindy McCain, Doug Ducey, Re-Elects Kelli Ward as Chair

Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell’s allies defeat similar effort by Kentucky Trump backers

Cindy McCain, widow of Sen. John McCain, was censured by members of the Arizona GOP on Saturday.PHOTO: FILMMAGIC FOR U.S.VETS

By Eliza Collins

Updated Jan. 23, 2021 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/arizona-gop-censures-cindy-mccain-doug-ducey-re-elects-kelli-ward-as-chair-11611453988

 

Arizona Republican Party, chair Kelli Ward sued over refusal to audit her election

Yvonne Wingett Sanchez

Arizona Republic

April 12, 2021

https://eu.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/elections/2021/03/12/arizona-gop-chair-kelli-ward-sued-over-refusal-audit-her-election/4667094001/

 

Trump loyalist who insulted McCain worries Republicans now that she leads Arizona GOP

After taking on Arizona’s Republican establishment, Kelli Ward is now chair of the state GOP. That makes some in the party very nervous.

(Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press)

BY MARK Z. BARABAK COLUMNIST

MAY 10, 2019 5 AM PT

https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-arizona-republican-chair-kelli-ward-trump-2020-battleground-state-20190510-story.html

Reporting from Phoenix —

In 2016, Donald Trump stormed Washington and swept aside a hostile Republican Party establishment. Now, as he seeks reelection, the president has tightened his grip on the GOP nationally as loyalists — whose main credential is fealty to the White House — seize control of state parties around the country.

Trump acolytes have replaced veterans and party insiders in places such as Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, which were crucial to his election, the perennial swing state of Florida, as well as New Hampshire, which holds the first presidential primary.

Here in Arizona, an emerging 2020 battleground, the new party chief is Kelli Ward, a former state lawmaker, fierce Trump devotee and twice-failed candidate for U.S. Senate who campaigned against fellow Republicans the way a battering ram meets a brick wall.

She attacked two of Trump’s nemeses, former Sen. Jeff Flake and the late Sen. John McCain — insulting his family as McCain lay on his deathbed — consorted with conspiracy-mongers and forced her 2018 primary opponent, Martha McSally, to hug Trump so tightly, critics say, that she helped Democrats win their first Senate seat in Arizona in 30 years.

The fact she now presides over the state party delights Democrats and makes no small number of Republicans exceedingly nervous.

 

Arizona’s Kelli Ward is campaigning with an alt-right troll to prove her love for Trump

She’s hitting the road with Pizzagate propagator Mike Cernovich.

By Li Zhouli@vox.com  

Aug 20, 2018

https://www.vox.com/2018/8/20/17759718/kelli-ward-mike-cernovich-arizona-republican-primary

The already complicated Arizona Senate race just got even more bizarre.

Arizona Senate candidate Kelli Ward, a Republican who’s been focused on her ties to President Trump, has now enlisted a well-known conspiracy theorist and alt-right troll to participate in her campaign.

Pizzagate propagator Mike Cernovich is among the cast of characters — a veritable who’s who of far-right personalities — that is scheduled to partake in Ward’s upcoming “Road to Victory” campaign tour later this week. The tour, which will also feature an appearance from conservative commentator Tomi Lahren and a video shoutout by Iowa Rep. Steve King, is Ward’s last-ditch effort to convince voters of her Trump bona fides as she seeks to fend off challenges from former Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Rep. Martha McSally.

Ward — who first ran for Senate in a race against John McCain in 2016 — has positioned herself as a Republican molded in Trump’s image, who’s willing to call bullshit on the establishment and moderates like McCain and Jeff Flake. “We’re Through With Lying, Fake ‘Conservatives,’” her campaign website emphasizes. Her Twitter account is also dedicated to slamming RINOs (Republicans in name only) and includes frequent attacks on McSally as well as the state’s current senators.

Ward’s association with Cernovich appears to be part of her latest effort to appeal to far-right Republican voters in advance of the state’s heated Senate primary next week, and an attempt to further define herself as anti-establishment. When asked about her connections to the alt-right in a recent MSNBC interview, however, Ward struggled to distance herself from the movement — which has become synonymous with bigotry toward women and minorities — even as she welcomed one of its key ambassadors to her campaign.

Ward ultimately seemed to admit her true aims: She’s interested in using Cernovich’s platform and doesn’t seem to mind that it’s previously involved comments defending rape and the promotion of fake theories like Pizzagate, which have spurred violence.

“Mike Cernovich has an audience that we want to reach, and that includes Republicans, conservatives, liberals, Democrats, people of all ilks,” she said. “And so if he’s coming on the bus tour, I think he’ll have a voice and he’ll have something that he wants to say.”

With just over a week left before the state’s primary next Tuesday, Ward is racing to take down Arpaio, a fellow Trump acolyte, and McSally, who’s widely seen as the establishment pick and the frontrunner. According to the RealClearPolitics polling average, Ward trails McSally by roughly 8 percentage points.

One of the key factors that have pushed Ward’s campaign further and further to the right is Arpaio’s entry into the race. While Ward was seen as the de facto Trump candidate before he opted to run and even garnered the president’s praise on Twitter, Arpaio has effectively split this base of support and forced Ward to scramble as they both face off against McSally.

So far, the president has kept mum about his current preferences in this race — intermittently doling out praise to Ward, McSally, and Arpaio and frustrating some Republicans in the process. It’s unclear whether Ward’s latest stunt will have any impact on his calculus.

 

Human Rights Campaign Press Release

Anti-Equality Extremists Kelli Ward And Chadwick Moore To Speak At Trump Pride Event

by Wyatt Ronan 

October 14, 2020

Today, the Trump Campaign announced an upcoming LGBTQ-focused “Trump Pride” event in Phoenix, Arizona. Among the featured speakers is Chair of the Arizona Republican Party, anti-LGBTQ extremist Kelli Ward and far-right provocateur Chadwick Moore.

Kelli Ward has consistently supported and voted in favor of legislation that would give businesses a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people. She even called for the impeachment of U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch after Lynch filed a complaint alleging North Carolina was discriminating against transgender people, following that state legislature’s passage of the notorious HB2 in 2016.

Chadwick Moore denied that the Trump Administration banned transgender people from serving in the military (they did). Moore claims that the story of Stonewall is a lie, saying it was “transformed into yet another vehicle of social marxism. Moore said in February that “there is no such thing as a gay child,” and he is on the record attacking transgender people for their looks and calling Michelle Obama transgender.

“The mere presence of anti-equality extremists like Kelli Ward and Chadwick Moore at this Trump Pride event is proof that his campaign’s LGBTQ outreach is a sham,” said Arizona State Director Bridget Sharpe. “Their extremism and anti-equality actions are rivaled only by the dangerous and destructive policies the Trump-Pence administration has perpetrated against LGBTQ people over the last four years. Nobody who knows the history of these extremists can listen to a word they say and believe they are an allies in our fight for equality. The Trump-Pence record is nothing to be proud of — it has actively endangered LGBTQ lives while we still have so much to accomplish. Starting outreach in mid-October will not cut it, and LGBTQ and pro-equality voters will send Trump and Pence packing in November in favor of true allies and champions of equality in Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.”

According to recent surveys conducted by the Human Rights Campaign and Hart Research, LGBTQ issues have robust support among likely voters in Arizona, anti-equality attacks launched by some Republicans are falling flat, and support for transgender people is strong.

 

Arizona court declines GOP request to invalidate mail voting

JONATHAN J. COOPER, Associated Press

April 5, 2022

https://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/Arizona-court-declines-GOP-request-to-invalidate-17060029.php

PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona Supreme Court declined Tuesday to consider a request by the Arizona Republican Party to eliminate the early voting system used by 90% of the state’s voters and require nearly all voters to cast ballots in person on Election Day.

The court ruled that the case did not meet the limited criteria for a lawsuit filed directly to the state’s high court but said the GOP could take its case to Superior Court.

The lawsuit filed in February argued absentee voting is unconstitutional and asked the justices to get rid of it or at least eliminate the no-excuse absentee balloting system Arizona adopted in 1991 and has steadily expanded ever since.

The lawsuit comes amid GOP efforts on many fronts to remake the system for casting and counting votes as former President Donald Trump repeats the lie that he lost the 2020 election because of fraud in Arizona and other battleground states. It was blasted by Democrats and voting rights advocates who said the argument was deeply flawed and aimed at undermining elections.

The Arizona Republican Party and its combative chairwoman, Kelli Ward, have been at the forefront of Trump’s efforts to cast doubt on the 2020 election results and block the certification of Democratic President Joe Biden’s victory. The latest lawsuit was filed by the state GOP and Yvonne Cahill, the party’s secretary. Ward is not named as a plaintiff.

The lawsuit comes amid GOP efforts on many fronts to remake the system for casting and counting votes as former President Donald Trump repeats the lie that he lost the 2020 election because of fraud in Arizona and other battleground states. It was blasted by Democrats and voting rights advocates who said the argument was deeply flawed and aimed at undermining elections.

The Arizona Republican Party and its combative chairwoman, Kelli Ward, have been at the forefront of Trump’s efforts to cast doubt on the 2020 election results and block the certification of Democratic President Joe Biden’s victory. The latest lawsuit was filed by the state GOP and Yvonne Cahill, the party’s secretary. Ward is not named as a plaintiff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Alarmism about election fraud in America extends at least as far back as Reconstruction, when white Southerners disenfranchised newly empowered Black voters and politicians by accusing them of corruption. After the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, some white conservatives were frank about their hostility to democracy. Forty years ago, Paul Weyrich, who helped establish the Heritage Foundation and other conservative groups, admitted, “I don’t want everybody to vote. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”

— Jane Mayer