Arizona attorney general continues election investigation after audit flop

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) has requested documents from both the state Senate and Maricopa County officials days after a report into the results of the 2020 election failed to deliver a smoking gun that would prove wrongdoing or errors behind former President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump announces new social media network called 'TRUTH Social' Virginia State Police investigating death threat against McAuliffe Meadows hires former deputy AG to represent him in Jan. 6 probe: report MORE’s election loss.

In letters to the Senate, which ordered the audit earlier this year, and the county, where Republican officials have pushed back against the Senate GOP’s inquiry, Brnovich’s office requested copies of reports and evidence presented last week. 

“The Arizona Senate’s report that was released on Friday raises some serious questions regarding the 2020 election,” Brnovich said without detailing any of those questions. “Arizonans can be assured our office will conduct a thorough review of the information we receive.” 

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Jennifer Wright, an assistant attorney general in Brnovich’s office, told Maricopa County’s Board of Supervisors to preserve documents related to last year’s elections, in which Biden won the county — home of Phoenix and about two-thirds of Arizona’s voters — by 45,000 votes.

“Based on the information contained within the report, the [elections integrity unit] expects the need to obtain documents, files, and related information during the course of review that is potentially relevant to the 2020 General Election,” Wright wrote to supervisors and to Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer (R), who has defended his employees’ handling of last year’s elections. 

The Republican report showed that Cyber Ninjas, the firm hired by Arizona’s state Senate in spite of its lack of experience conducting election audits, made mistakes of its own in manually recounting nearly 2.1 million ballots cast in the 2020 elections for president and Senate.   

Brnovich’s request to Maricopa County covers a broad range of documents, from hard paper copies to electronically stored information, election equipment used to administer the election and video recordings of the vote count, as well as logs of visitors who entered buildings used to conduct the election.

In his letter to the state Senate, Brnovich requests unredacted copies of the report generated by Cyber Ninjas, though it does not address whether that would include signatures, names and other identifying information that the firm blacked out to protect voter privacy. It requests evidence that backs up two of the subcontractors’ reports and interviews with those who compiled the reports.

The new inquiry is the latest sign that Republicans who buy into Trump’s fantasies and lies about the elections are undeterred by the results of a report that specifically cited its inability to find discrepancies in the vote count. 

Several Republican candidates running for U.S. Senate seats, including former Ohio Republican Party Chair woman Jane Timken (R) and former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R), continued to question the results of the election that Trump lost even after the report was released. Brnovich is also a Senate candidate — he is running in a competitive primary for the right to take on Sen. Mark KellyMark KellyOur military shouldn't be held hostage to 'water politics' Democratic incumbents bolster fundraising advantage in key Senate races Warnock raises .5 million in third quarter MORE (D-Ariz.).