Trump presses Attorney General Mark Brnovich, Legislature for action on election probe

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Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich (right) looks on while Bryan Willington (United Phoenix Firefighters Local 493) answers questions during a press conference on Nov. 22, 2021, at the Attorney General's Office in Phoenix.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich (right) looks on while Bryan Willington (United Phoenix Firefighters Local 493) answers questions during a press conference on Nov. 22, 2021, at the Attorney General's Office in Phoenix.

Former President Donald Trump renewed his pressure campaign on Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, asking in a statement Tuesday what happened to the “Rigged and Stolen Arizona Presidential Election that is being investigated.”

In his statement, Trump baselessly claims 35,000 fictitious votes in Pima County and calls on the state Legislature to decertify the 2020 election results.

The statement, issued through his Save America political action committee, didn’t attack Brnovich. But it makes clear that the investigation opened by Brnovich’s office hasn’t satisfied Trump, a man whose influence in Republican circles still could impact politics here.

Brnovich is seeking the GOP nomination in next year’s U.S. Senate race. Trump’s endorsement in that crowded primary could help determine who gets to challenge Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz.

Neither Brnovich's office nor his campaign were immediately available for comment.

Agents for the Attorney General’s Office interviewed former Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes, a Democrat, earlier this month about election administration matters.

That came on the heels of September’s final report from Cyber Ninjas, the company that reviewed the county’s 2020 ballots and raised concerns about thousands of people who appeared to have moved but still voted. It also questioned whether the county adequately verified signatures on the envelopes for mail-in balloting, among other concerns.

The ballot review, ordered by the state Senate, still found that President Joe Biden won Arizona’s most populous county, but Trump seized on the report’s concerns as evidence of the stolen election he has falsely claimed since Election Day. Election experts from both political parties have rejected Trump’s claims and view Cyber Ninjas’ recount as amateurish.

Undaunted, Trump continues to press Arizona for action to reverse his defeat.

“Whatever happened to the Rigged and Stolen Arizona Presidential Election that is being investigated, or maybe the words should properly be ‘looked at,’ by Attorney General Mark Brnovich? When will the legislature vote to decertify?” Trump said in his statement.

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“People are very upset in Arizona that it is all taking so long, especially when the findings of the State Senate’s Forensic Audit were so conclusive, not even including the recent revelation of 35,000 fictitious votes in Pima County, and precincts with over 100 percent turnout (how do you like that one?). The people of Arizona are anxiously awaiting the decision of the Attorney General. They know what really went on during that Election!”

State Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, and a Trump-backed candidate for secretary of state, recently has raised again claims that Pima County inserted extra votes in its totals. It is a claim raised last year at a Nov. 30 meeting in Phoenix featuring Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani and has been offered without evidence.

Brnovich's office has gone over it at least once. In an Oct. 14 letter to Finchem, Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Wright said the office's Election Integrity Unit didn't have any basis to support the claims.

The "EIU was unable to find that any evidence submitted to the EIU pertaining to allegations that 34,000 - 35,000 votes were 'inserted' into Pima county's system during the 2020 General Election," she wrote.

Brnovich is running for the Senate in a Republican field that also includes solar power executive Jim Lamon; Blake Masters, a top aide to billionaire entrepreneur Peter Thiel; Michael “Mick” McGuire, the retired adjutant general of the Arizona National Guard; and Arizona Corporation Commissioner Justin Olson.

The winner of the GOP primary will face Kelly, who won a 2020 special election to fill the remainder of the term initially won by the late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

Reach the reporter Ronald J. Hansen at ronald.hansen@arizonarepublic.com or 602-444-4493. Follow him on Twitter @ronaldjhansen.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Trump presses Ariz. Attorney General Mark Brnovich on election probe

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