Secretary of State Seeks Criminal Probe of Pressure From Trump, Supporters

Interfering with an election official is a felony, Katie Hobbs reminds attorney general
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 8, 2021 6:55 PM CDT
Arizona Official: Investigate Trump Pressure on Vote Count
Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward speaks as Republican US Rep. Paul Gosar listens during a state GOP news conference in Phoenix last Nov. 5.   (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

Arizona's secretary of state has asked its attorney general to open a criminal investigation into whether former President Trump and others tried to pressure election officials last November. Katie Hobbs' request came after the Arizona Republic reported last week that Maricopa County supervisors received texts and voicemails while ballots cast in the president election were still being counted, USA Today reports. The Republic said the messages came from the White House; Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal attorney at the time; Sidney Powell, a lawyer working for Trump; and state Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward. They were sent to the GOP members of the county's Board of Supervisors. The communications "involve clear efforts to induce supervisors to refuse to comply with their duties," Hobbs said, which could have broken state law.

"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 to Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican, per CBS. Trump reportedly tried to reach Republican Maricopa Supervisor Clint Hickman twice immediately after the election, per the Hill. And the Republic found Ward told the Board of Supervisors chairman on Election Day, "We need you to stop the counting." Knowingly interfering with or trying to influence an election official is a felony in Arizona, Hobbs said. Trump lost to President Biden in Arizona, then unsuccessfully tried to challenge the election results. The state has found no problems with its 2020 vote count. There was no comment yet about Hobbs' request from the attorney general's office. (Read more Arizona stories.)

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