An Arizona federal judge has ruled against arguments brought in hopes of blocking the House committee investigating the Capitol riot from accessing phone records for chair of the state GOP Kelli Ward and her husband, who were among the state’s fake electors for Trump after the 2020 election, although Kelli’s side is appealing.
Around the country, numerous Trump allies gathered in key states that Biden won to assemble claims they were, in fact, the duly selected members of the electoral college for their respective states, and documentation of these fundamentally false claims was sent to federal authorities amid hopes of finding some way to block the Congressional certification and overall finalization of Biden’s presidential election victory. Ward and her husband are doctors, and Ward’s lawsuit argued that upholding the subpoena would violate medical privacy, although Judge Diane J. Humetewa concluded the period covered by the riot committee’s demands is clearly relevant to legislative purposes. “That three-month period is plainly relevant to its investigation into the causes of the January 6th attack,” the judge said. “The court therefore has little doubt concluding these records may aid the select committee’s valid legislative purpose.”
The judge also dismissed arguments from the Wards about supposedly looming violations of their rights under the First and 14th Amendments. Among other points of contention, the judge also didn’t find the argument about the potential that releasing phone records opens up the couple to harassment compelling to the point of action. Those “incidents have already occurred,” the judge remarked, as summarized in NBC’s reporting. Kelli Ward was supportive of the idea for fake electoral votes early in the process. Ward was in favor of attempting “to keep it under wraps until Congress counts the vote Jan. 6th (so we can try to “surprise” the Dems and media with it),” per an early December 2020 message from Arizona lawyer Jack Wilenchik. Those involved “would just be sending in ‘fake’ electoral votes to Pence so that ‘someone’ in Congress can make an objection when they start counting votes, and start arguing that the ‘fake’ votes should be counted,” as he summarized it.
The House has now passed an update to the procedures for Congressionally certifying the presidential election outcome that, alongside other provisions, changes the rules for objections to electoral votes. At present, just a member from each chamber must back an objection for the dispute to move to debate and a vote, and the relatively lax standards for the process open up opportunities for abuse — as January 6 proved. Under standards the House approved, that changes. “Congress doesn’t sit as a court of last resort, capable of overruling state and federal judges to alter the electoral outcome,” Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) said. “If any objections are allowed during the joint session, grounds should be limited to the explicit constitutional requirements for candidate and elector eligibility and the 12th Amendment’s explicit requirements for elector balloting. Objections would require one-third of each chamber to be entertained and majority votes to be sustained.” Changing the requirements from one member a chamber to one-third of each chamber is obviously a big jump.