Trump and Giuliani personally pushed for conspiracy-driven Arizona vote ‘audit’, emails show

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 (AP)
(AP)

Recently revealed emails sent between Arizona state senators has revealed that Donald Trump and his former personal attorney Rudy Giuliani personally urged GOP officials in the state to push for the highly-partisan recount of the 2020 election vote counts in Maricopa County.

The emails were uncovered by American Oversight, a watchdog organisation, which criticised the audit as a "sham partisan crusade." The Washington Post reported on the contents of the emails.

In one email from 2 December, the president of the Arizona state Senate Karen Fann told two constituents that she had spoken with Mr Giuliani "at least six times over the past two weeks."

Another constituent warned Ms Fann in late December that she would be recalled by "the new patriot movement of the United States" for not offering enough support to Mr Trump.

Ms Fann assured him she was "doing everything legally possible to get the forensic audit done."

“I have been in numerous conversations with Rudy Guiliani [sic] over the past weeks trying to get this done,” Ms Fann wrote. “I have the full support of him and a personal call from President Trump thanking us for pushing to prove any fraud.”

Arizona became an early flashpoint in the 2020 election after Fox News called the state for Joe Biden, shocking conservatives who were certain the generally red-leaning state would go to Mr Trump.

Since then, Trump-loyal conservatives have been desperate to find any evidence of widespread voter fraud in the state with no success.

Austin Evers, the executive director of American Oversight, said the emails were clear evidence that the audit's goal was to further entertain Mr Trump's lies about the 2020 election.

“The more we learn, the more it becomes clear that this is not an audit, it’s a sham partisan crusade carried out by some of the most cynical actors our democracy has ever known,” Mr Evers said in a statement. “With each new email, the paper trail confirms that the true goal of this process is to perpetuate Donald Trump’s big lie of a stolen election and to undermine faith in our democracy.”

The emails were also indicative of the desperation of Republican voters and their refusal to admit that Mr Trump lost the election.

In one email from 10 April, an individual named Rachel Griffin told Ms Fann if they did not turn up evidence of fraud the Arizona lawmakers would be voted out of office.

“We are not going to be treated like idiots. We will make sure none of you are ever re-elected again unless you prove there was fraud,” Ms Griffin wrote. “It is no longer acceptable for all of you to pay lip service. We want results and we want them now.”

Ms Fann assured the woman that the lawmakers were working to deliver on the audit, saying “our efforts have been sabotaged every step of the way but we are not giving up!”

That response stands in sharp contrast to another that Ms Fann gave to a constituent who said she was "appalled, offended and upset" that taxpayer money was being used for a "fraudulent audit."

Ms Fann assured her that the audit was meant to reaffirm Mr Biden's win in the state, not to undermine it.

“This is where you are mistaken. Biden won. 45% of all Arizona voters think there is a problem with the election system. The audit is to disprove those theories or find ways to improve the system,” she wrote.

The audit in Maricopa County has been criticised for its lack of transparency and for not following state rules for elections and recounts.

Cyber Ninjas, the group overseeing the audit, is run by a man who is a vocal Trump supporter and who parroted the president's lies about widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election. The audit has also long overshot its deadline to finish, which was initially set in mid-May.

At the current rate the recount will not be finished until August.

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