OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
Donald Trump made a slew of comments on Thursday night related to the 2020 presidential election and fraud allegations.
During an interview on One America News Network, Trump praised the conservative news outlet for exposing what he deems the “massive fraud” in the 2020 election.
“That’s all people ask me. They say ‘what’s going on in Arizona?’ They want to talk about election fraud. The weak Republicans don’t want to talk about it. The weak or stupid or RINOs [Republican in name only], call them whatever you want, and yet the Republican voter, that’s what they want to hear,” Trump told OAN.
“They want to hear about 2020. They want to find out, is that something that should be turned over? When they rob a jewelry store of all the diamonds and they get caught, you have to return the diamonds. They want to find out what’s going on. The Republican voter wants the story. The weak Republican politician doesn’t want to talk about this story because they think it’s bad politically,” Trump said.
“I think it’s great politically,” he added.
“There was an expression that I’ve heard, that you’ve heard, for many years — the vote counter is far more important than the politician, or the person running for office,” Trump added.
“And that was the case, in this instance, for the presidential election. Very sad that this could happen. It was a third world election,” he said.
Democrats are not happy about the developments this week in the Arizona election audit.
On Thursday, Arizona’s Secretary of State Katie Hobbs sent a letter claiming the election machines that were audited by the Cyber Ninja team these past few weeks should never be used again.
“This equipment was accessed by amateur, uncertified ‘auditors’ with zero transparency. I support election integrity, and therefore can’t support the continued usage of these machines,” she wrote.
This equipment was accessed by amateur, uncertified “auditors” with zero transparency.
I support election integrity, and therefore can’t support the continued usage of these machines. https://t.co/pwjQjpnkWp
— Secretary Katie Hobbs (@SecretaryHobbs) May 20, 2021
Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward has had it with what she sees as the obstruction in the Maricopa County, Arizona election audit and now she is threatening action.
“There have to be consequences,” she said during an appearance on One America News. “There could be arrests of people who are refusing to comply.”
It’s the latest drama to encompass the audit of the 2.1 million ballots in the state’s largest county, which has featured false allegations votes were destroyed and conspiracy theories alleging the ballots were shredded and eaten by chickens, who were then killed to cover up the evidence.
Ward’s comments came after the Republican-controlled Board of Supervisors for Maricopa County refused to attend a meeting Tuesday with GOP senators who had demanded the audit. The board called the audit was a ‘sham’ run by ‘grifters’ that cast doubts upon the democratic process.
And it wasn’t the first time an arrest has been suggested.
In February, when the county was arguing against the audit in court, most Arizona Republican senators supported a resolution to hold the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in contempt and arrest supervisors for failing to turn over access to voting records. The resolution failed to pass but showed the mindset of those elected officials who demanded the audit.
Her interview came on the same day that it was discovered that election data that was rumored to have been deleted was found.
The information that was alleged to have been deleted has been recovered, an auditor said.
At a hearing on Tuesday afternoon in the Senate, CyFIr founder Ben Cotton, a subcontractor on Senate President Karen Fann’s audit team, said that his team was able to recover data that the Senate’s election team had accused Maricopa County of deleting.
“I’ve been able to recover all of those deleted files, and I have access to that data,” he said at the hearing. “I have the information I need from the recovery efforts of the data.”
Maricopa County officials responded in a tweet after the hearing.
“Just want to underscore that AZ Senate’s @ArizonaAudit account accused Maricopa County of deleting files- which would be a crime- then a day after our technical letter explained they were just looking in the wrong place- all of a sudden ‘auditors’ have recovered the files,” it said.
Cotton’s explanation indicates that county officials were correct when they said no files had been deleted.
The audit’s official Twitter account explicitly claimed the county “deleted a directory full of election databases from the 2020 election cycle” shortly before turning over its ballot tabulation machines to the audit. To back up its claim, it posted a screenshot purporting to show a list of deleted files, all of which were shown as being modified on April 12, about a week and a half before the county delivered the machines to Veterans Memorial Coliseum, where the audit is being conducted.
Last week State Senate President Karen Fann asked for county officials to come and meet with her to “constructively resolve” issues with the audit, including the reported claim that a “main database” in the Election Management System was deleted.