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Arizona secretary of state seeks investigation of alleged election meddling by Trump, Giuliani, allies

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs asked Attorney General Mark Brnovich on Wednesday to open a criminal investigation of possible efforts by former President Donald Trump, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Arizona GOP chairwoman Kelli Ward, and others to lean on Maricopa County supervisors after Trump lost Arizona in the Nov. 3 election, The Arizona Republic reports. Some of the calls and text messages, uncovered by the Republic last week, "involve clear efforts to induce supervisors to refuse to comply with their duties," which would violate Arizona law, she wrote.

According to calls published by the Republic, Trump tried to contact GOP county supervisor Clint Hickman twice after the election, on New Year's Eve and again on Jan. 3, after The Washington Post posted a recording of Trump asking Georgia's Republican secretary of state to find just enough votes for Trump to win the state. Hickman let the calls go to voicemail because of ongoing litigation. Giuliani left voicemails, published by the Republic, and Ward sent text messages, urging the supervisors "to stop the counting" due to debunked fraud allegations; after that was unsuccessful, Ward said the supervisors were "unAmerican" and playing for the "WRONG team," the Republic reports. 

"The request for a legal review is freighted with political overtones," the Republic notes. Hobbs, a Democrat, is running for governor next year while Brnovich, a Republican, is running for a U.S. Senate seat. Trump, who still dominates the Republican Party, has already criticized Brnovich for not backing a widely criticized ballot review ordered by the state Senate's Republican majority. In her letter, Hobbs asked Brnovich to refer her request to another law enforcement agency "if your ethical duties prevent you from investigating this matter."