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Arizona Republicans rebuff Trump's claim of fraud, call for election audit of Maricopa County

It comes after Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, found himself in the president's crosshairs when he signed off on the state's election certification.
Image: Rusty Bowers
Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, R-Mesa, speaks on the floor of the House of Representatives at the Arizona Capitol, in Phoenix on April 18, 2019.Ross D. Franklin / AP file

A top Republican in Arizona refuted President Donald Trump’s meritless attempts to overturn the election results there in a sharply-worded statement Friday while also joining other Republicans in calling for an election audit of its largest county.

Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, a Republican, said in a statement that it was highly unlikely, under state law, that the legislature there could appoint its own electors to deliver the state's Electoral College votes to Trump. The president’s legal team, which includes former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, has claimed in its sputtering legal fight that widespread voter fraud in Arizona and other states is the reason Trump lost the election.

Bowers, however, put those claims to rest.

“Our state’s canvass was completed on Monday, and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris received the most votes, so those are the candidates whom the state’s presidential electors must vote for,” he said in the statement. “Nothing in the U.S. Constitution or the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court even suggests that the Arizona Legislature could retroactively appoint different electors who would cast their ballots for 2 different candidates.”

“As a conservative Republican, I don’t like the results of the presidential election," he said. "I voted for President Trump and worked hard to reelect him. But I cannot and will not entertain a suggestion that we violate current law to change the outcome of a certified election.”

This comes weeks before the Electoral College votes to cast their official ballots for president and vice president, and after the head of the General Services Administration informed President-elect Joe Biden that the official governmental transition process has been approved.

It also comes after Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican and close ally of Trump, found himself in the president's crosshairs on Monday when he signed off on the state's election certification. Trump tweeted that Ducey had "betrayed" the people of Arizona by not backing the president's false assertion that he'd actually won the state that he lost by over 10,000 votes.

Video footage of Ducey signing the certification shows his phone ringing to the tune of the "Hail to the Chief" during the ceremony — the ringtone he's said he uses to make sure he doesn't miss calls from the White House. Ducey muted the call.

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Several other battleground states — including Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Georgia — have also certified their results and officially declared Biden the winner. Trump’s legal team has been mocked and excoriated for its allegations of fraud without offering solid proof.

However, in a tweet Friday night, Trump latched onto another statement from Bowers, Arizona Senate President Karen Fann, also a Republican, and other top GOP state officials, which called for an forensic audit of Maricopa County, the state’s most populous area.

Trump claimed the audit “will easily give us the state.” But, in the statement, the officials said the audit, which has not been initiated, would explain irregularities and offer transparency to voters in the state.