Democrats in Arizona are calling for an investigation by local authorities into newly revealed efforts by then-President Donald Trump and his allies to pressure local officials into orchestrating the presidential election outcome in the way that Trump wanted. At one point, Arizona state GOP chairwoman Kelli Ward even texted a local Republican official in Maricopa County, Arizona, insisting: “We need you to stop the counting.” The White House switchboard repeatedly contacted that same official, Maricopa County Supervisor Clint Hickman, with an operator attempting to patch him through to Trump himself.
As Arizona state Rep. Reginald Bolding (D) put it, “The evidence reported is clear: that members of [Trump’s] own party, both nationally and right here in Arizona, have conducted illegal and horrific behavior that threatens our democracy.” In what scenario is a request from a top party official for local leaders to “stop the counting” in any way acceptable under democracy? At another point, longtime Trump ally Rudy Giuliani left a voicemail for another Republican leader in Maricopa County, saying: “I have a few things I’d like to talk over with you. Maybe we can get this thing fixed up… And I think there may be a nice way to resolve this for everybody.”
Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, has also urged the opening of an investigation into the pressure campaign. Now, it appears as though the office of Arizona state Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican, is heading down that path. Brnovich’s team has asked Hobbs to “please provide any and all records your office possesses related to potential violations of Arizona’s election laws,” and The Arizona Republic identifies those comments as a “reference to the pressure campaign.” Arizona state Sen. Rebecca Rios (D) had previously characterized Brnovich as beholden to Trump, insisting that his “silence now that he’s running for Senate shows that he’s folding for President Trump.” Brnovich is running in the Republican primary to take on Mark Kelly, a recently elected Democratic Senator.
Trump and his close allies are not the only ones facing some pushback for affronts against democracy. Lawyers who have been involved in court cases challenging the integrity of last year’s presidential election have also been facing the possibility of sanctions. In the meantime, Giuliani himself has lost his law license in New York (and subsequently D.C.) because of his promotion of election-related conspiracy theories.