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Firm behind Arizona audit says no data was destroyed, contradicting GOP allegations

A firm that is conducting a controversial election audit in Arizona confirmed Tuesday that no data has been destroyed, contradicting some Republicans’ claims that officials had deleted information regarding the vote tally in Maricopa County.

Ben Cotton, founder of CyFIR LLC, which is working on the audit, said he had retrieved all the data he needs from Arizona’s most populous county, which President BidenJoe BidenChinese apps could face subpoenas, bans under Biden executive order: report OVERNIGHT ENERGY:  EPA announces new clean air advisors after firing Trump appointees |  Senate confirms Biden pick for No. 2 role at Interior | Watchdog: Bureau of Land Management saw messaging failures, understaffing during pandemic Poll: Majority back blanket student loan forgiveness MORE won in November. The remark came a day after county officials said auditors could not find the information because they did not know where it was located. 

“I have the information I need from the recovery efforts of the data,” Cotton told state senators at a livestreamed hearing.

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The reversal marks a setback for former President TrumpDonald TrumpChinese apps could face subpoenas, bans under Biden executive order: report Kim says North Korea needs to be 'prepared' for 'confrontation' with US Ex-Colorado GOP chair accused of stealing more than 0K from pro-Trump PAC MORE and his allies, who had seized on the claims of deleted data to suggest there were deeper issues in Arizona’s tally.

“The entire Database of Maricopa County in Arizona has been DELETED! This is illegal and the Arizona State Senate, who is leading the Forensic Audit, is up in arms,” Trump said in a statement Saturday. “The story is only getting bigger and at some point it will be impossible for the weak and/or corrupt media not to cover.”

Biden was the first Democratic presidential candidate to win Arizona since 1996.

Cotton’s confirmation that he has all of the data he needs is the latest development in an audit that has split open the state GOP.

The audit is being controlled by Republicans in the state Senate, but some in the GOP have grumbled over the partisan direction in which they’ve taken the count.

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Lawmakers in the state legislature have said the audit is needed to address unfounded claims of election irregularities, but local officials have said the count will cast doubts on election integrity moving forward.

“None of this is inspiring confidence. None of this will cause our citizens to trust elections. In fact, it is having the opposite result,” the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, which is made up of four Republicans and one Democrat, wrote to Arizona's Republican state Senate President Karen Fann Monday. 

“It is time to end this,” the board wrote. “For the good of the Senate, for the good of the Country and for the good of the Democratic institutions that define us as Americans.”