When the leaders of a evaluation of Arizona’s election have been making an attempt to persuade a choose to not halt their sketchy audit of Maricopa County’s 2020 outcomes, they claimed they’d be completely blissful to seek out that nothing was amiss within the tally.
“Our consumer is just not going into this with the notion that they’re going to discover something unsuitable,” Alex Kolodin, a lawyer for the auditors, mentioned at a court docket listening to final week. “That nothing went unsuitable is an appropriate reply to our consumer, so we simply want to make that completely clear to the court docket.”
However within the far-right corners of the media ecosphere — and on the Palm Seaside resort that the previous president calls dwelling — that’s not the notion.
Far-right blogs like Gateway Pundit have seen criticisms of the evaluation as an indication that Democrats are “terrified” of the “alleged huge fraud” the audit might expose.
One America Information Community (OAN) has framed up its protection of the Arizona evaluation as simply the primary in what may very well be a sequence of audits in different states the place former President Trump contested his defeat.
Trump himself, speaking to a crowd at Mar-A-Lago last week, remarked on the “fascinating issues” that have been occurring in Arizona.
“I wouldn’t be shocked in the event that they discovered 1000’s and 1000’s and 1000’s of votes,” Trump mentioned, as he rattled off a number of different battleground states that he had focused together with his claims of mass voter fraud.
Trump could also be watching the audit from afar. However a number of of his supporters who boosted his campaign to overturn the election have a direct hand within the audit, which began final month on the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum. And because the recount chugs alongside, the broader MAGA world is pinning its hopes on the trouble as a key step to lastly — lastly — overturning the election.
An OAN reporter even requested the election scholar Rick Hasen, in keeping with a screenshot of the e-mail he tweeted Monday, what would occur to a president if his election was confirmed to be “fraudulent past any doubt.” Hasen declined to provide the reporter a remark.
Birthed Out Of Trump’s Election ‘Massive Lie’
Arizona’s Republican-controlled legislature was one in all a number of GOP state homes throughout the nation to entertain President Trump’s voter fraud theories after he misplaced his reelection bid. Over time, state Republican lawmakers got here to embrace the concept of an audit spearheaded by the Senate that, within the phrases of 1 committee chairman, would “put this to relaxation.”
The leaders of the audit have repeatedly claimed that their goal isn’t to reverse the outcomes.
“This has all the time been, and continues to be, about offering confidence within the election course of and figuring out any enhancements which will must be made,” Rod Thomson, a spokesperson for Cyber Ninjas, the Florida-based agency employed to guide the audit, informed TPM in an electronic mail.
But Cyber Ninjas’ CEO Doug Logan promoted false claims of a stolen election in 2020, whereas working behind the scenes to help those that led the failed election reversal campaign.
He authored a doc, titled “Election Fraud Details & Particulars,” which was printed on the web site of Sidney Powell, the pro-Trump lawyer who filed a number of Trump-aligned court docket challenges and now faces a 10-figure defamation suit from Dominion Voting Programs.
One other fringe pro-Trump lawyer, Lin Wooden, confirmed to TPM final month that Logan was at Wooden’s property in November final 12 months, “engaged on the investigation into election fraud” with others.
Wooden has helped to boost personal funding for the Arizona recount, which is now anticipated to value excess of the $150,000 in public funding that the Senate has appropriated for it. Ex-Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne, Michael Flynn, and OAN staff — all cheerleaders of Trump’s efforts to overturn his misplaced reelection bid — have boosted the personal fundraising effort as effectively.
The official audit Twitter web page has leaned into the perimeter fundraising effort. On Saturday, a number of hours after the account promoted fundtheaudit.com — a web site “powered by” Byne’s group The America Challenge — Fund The Audit mentioned that it had raised $1 million. OAN anchor Christina Bobb is reporting on the audit while also fundraising for it.
“I think about that the result in all probability will change,” Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman (R) mentioned on a press name Tuesday, whereas criticizing the audit, “simply because there may be an expectation by the individuals paying for this recount that the result goes to be completely different.”
Different election conspiracists have their handprints on the audit itself. A former state consultant who sought to overturn the 2020 presidential ends in Arizona, Anthony Kern, is working on the audit as a “momentary employed worker” of one in all its contractors. Kern, in his final days in workplace, riled up a D.C. crowd a day earlier than the assault by pledging his life for Trump. An image the next day confirmed him on the Capitol steps because the assault passed off.
The audit can be employing technology developed by Jovan Pulitzer, one other election conspiracy theorist who Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) known as a “failed inventor and failed treasure hunter” when Pulitzer’s claims popped up in that state.
Even the recount’s procedures — a portion of which have been launched publicly attributable to a court docket order — seem to wink at among the fantasies of mass fraud within the 2020 election. As an illustration, the procedures instruct auditors to be aware of how sure ballots are folded and the ink getting used — particulars that don’t actually make a distinction within the context of how Arizona elections are run however appear to play into conspiracy theories about counterfeit ballots flooding the election.
“They’re setting forth procedures and insurance policies to verify and be certain that the totals are wildly completely different due to the best way they’re doing this “count-recount-audit,” relying on what you need to title this train,” mentioned Tammy Patrick, a former election official in Maricopa County, who’s now a senior fellow on the Democracy Fund.
Bearing Fruit For The Professional-Trump Fringe
Trump supporters across the nation are hanging on each growth out of the audit.
Whereas native reporters protecting the recount have been constrained to a “pool” rotation of a restricted variety of reporters, a author for Gateway Pundit was lately given looser rein and even an “BREAKING EXCLUSIVE” interview with Ken Bennett, the previous Arizona secretary of state who’s serving as the general public face of the evaluation. OAN, whose anchor is fundraising for the audit, is the Senate-approved live-streamer of the ballot-counting course of.
Peter Navarro, a Trump White Home advisor and the creator of a number of reports asserting mass election fraud, informed OAN final week that he believed the Arizona audit may precede an analogous audit in Georgia, the place the size of voter fraud was, in his universe, “a lot bigger.”
Chatting with Steve Bannon Thursday, Trump supporter Boris Epshteyn mentioned that if the audit exhibits “even a small fraction” of what the previous president’s devotees anticipate, “the freight prepare of audit is coming down the best way. It’s on the prepare to Georgia.”
And at a Monday city corridor in Windham, New Hampshire — one of many states Trump talked about in his remarks concerning the Arizona recount final week — attendees demanded a Maricopa-style audit whereas chanting “cease the steal!”