Newly released files show top Republicans in greater Arizona County dodged calls from Donald Trump and his allies in the aftermath of the 2020 election as the then president sought to prevent victory certification of Joe Biden in the main states of the battlefield.
The Maricopa County files, first obtained by the Republic of Arizona, shed light on another state where Trump, his lawyers and others have launched a behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign on Republican officials overseeing the elections. Days before Congress certified Biden’s victory on January 6, Trump urged Georgian Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to find enough votes to overturn Biden’s victory there.
Trump attempted to reach Clint Hickman, then chairman of the Maricopa County Supervisory Board, on Jan.3, shortly before midnight in Washington and hours after Trump’s call was announced with Raffensperger, according to records.
“Hello sir. This is the White House operator I was calling to let you know that the president is available to take your call if you are free,” the White House operator said in a voicemail message. . “If you could call us back, sir, that would be great. Good evening.”
Hickman told The Arizona Republic he did not return the phone call. He said he assumed Trump would try to pressure him to change election results or discuss election plots like he had done with Raffensperger.
âI’m not going to register a president, so I’m not going to talk to a president. I didn’t want to have a very brutal call home on a Sunday night, âHickman told the newspaper.
Hickman and the rest of the supervisory board, which is Republicans controlled 4-1, have aggressively defended the vote count in Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix and 60% of Arizona voters. They maintained that the result was not affected by fraud or irregularities.
Republicans in the state Senate used their subpoena power to take control of the 2.1 million ballots and the machines that counted them. A company run by a Trump supporter who has shared outlandish conspiracy theories is overseeing an audit for the Senate GOP.
The most aggressive pressure came from Arizona Republican Party President Kelli Ward, who tried to convince Republicans on the board to question the election results, even as officials attempted to push back. to inspire trust. At one point, she texted Hickman, “We need you to stop the count.”
She tried to convince Hickman and his supervisors Steve Chucri and Bill Gates to call Trump’s attorney Sidney Powell, who has filed lawsuits across the country alleging election conspiracies. The lawsuits were all dismissed.
Early on November 20, when council was due to certify the Maricopa County election results, Ward texted Gates, “Can we talk today now that the trial is over?” There are so many anomalies that need to be judged. I know the Republican board of directors doesn’t want to be remembered which entity led the charge to certify a fraudulent election.
After sending information alleging fraud, and shortly before the board of directors voted to accept the election results, she texted him: âLooks like your fellow Repubs are throwing in the towel. Very sad. And not American.
She texted Chucri, âLooks like you’re playing for the wrong team and people will remember that. BAD team.
The files also include voicemail messages from Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani trying to reach several of the GOP supervisors. Chucri met Giuliani while in Phoenix to spread Trump’s baseless fraud theories.
âIf you get the chance, could you please call me,â Giuliani said in a message to Gates. âI have a few things I would like to talk about with you. Maybe we can fix this thing. You know, I really think it’s a shame that Republicans are both in this kind of situation. And I think there may be a good way to solve this problem for everyone.