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    (CNN)Two Republican state senators in Arizona received subpoenas from the FBI in late June for text messages and emails as the Justice Department investigation into the events of January 6, 2021, has expanded to examine efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.Arizona Senate President Karen Fann, who led the partisan audit of ballots cast in Maricopa County, and state Sen. Kelly Townsend will comply with the subpoenas, according to Arizona Senate communications director Kim Quintero. Arizona Senate President Karen Fann"President Fann and Senator Townsend are fully cooperating in releasing whatever emails and text messages they are requesting," Quintero told CNN, calling the subpoenas "political theatrics." "We have no reason to believe they will be called to testify in Washington D.C.," Quintero added.Neither Fann nor Townsend responded to requests for comment. The subpoenas were first reported by media outlets in Arizona.Read MoreThe Justice Department has issued a number of subpoenas to people who served on fake slates of electors in seven battleground states that former President Donald Trump lost in 2020.Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward, along with her husband, Michael...
    Virginia “Ginni” Thomas’ efforts to call on state lawmakers to disrupt President Joe Biden’s 2020 election win were broader than previously known, with The Washington Post reporting Friday that the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas had sent form letters to 29 Arizona legislators encouraging them to meddle in the state’s slate of presidential electors. The new report adds 27 recipients of the messages to the two Arizona lawmakers who, it was reported last month, received apparently prewritten emails from Ginni Thomas. Ginni Thomas’ support of the efforts to overturn former President Donald Trump’s electoral defeat have come under scrutiny given her husband’s participation in a case that was before the Supreme Court concerning the House’s January 6 investigation. There is the potential that he will be involved in other cases related to that investigation. Justices decide for themselves whether cases present a conflict requiring their recusal. The Supreme Court public information office did not respond to CNN’s inquiry about the latest report. Twenty members of the Arizona House and seven state senators received identical messages on November 9,...
    As the Jan. 6 insurrection hearings commence, other information unrelated to the terrorist attacks from that day are surfacing. The Washington Post reported Friday that Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, pressed 29 Arizona lawmakers to overturn their elections in favor of Trump. The outlet had previously reported that Thomas emailed two lawmakers, but newly obtained emails indicate at least 29. The Post was able to obtain the emails under Arizona’s public records law. The emails sent on Nov. 9, 2020, argued that the legislators needed to intervene in order to set aside Joe Biden’s popular-vote victory and choose “a clean slate of Electors.” While she did not mention the candidates' names, the intent was clear due to her reference to fraud committed during the election and Joe Biden’s popular-vote win in the state. Of the 29 lawmakers, about 20 were noted to be members of the Arizona House and at least seven Arizona state Senators. At the time the emails were sent, the emailed individuals represent more than half of the Republican members of the state...
    by Tom Joyce   In reaction to the mass shooting inside of a Texas elementary school, Arizona lawmakers seek to explore their options to help teenagers struggling with mental health issues. Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers appointed State Representative Joanne Osborne, R-Goodyear, to chair a new Ad Hoc Committee on Teen Mental Health this week. The committee will look into causes and issues impacting teen mental health. Some of these issues include substance abuse, depression, and suicide. The committee hopes to find potential solutions to these problems. The Ad Hoc Committee on Teen Mental Health will consist of members of the House of Representatives and of the Arizona community. It’s intended to research and review information about how substance abuse, bullying, and social media may impact the mental health of Arizona’s youth, including teen suicide. The committee is supposed to identify potential solutions and offer recommendations to both public and private agencies to address teen mental health problems and improve access to mental health care. “Teenage children today are faced with tremendous stress and pressure along the path to...
    The wife of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas pressed Republicans in Arizona to overturn Joe Biden's 2020 election victory there, according to emails published on Friday.  Ginni Thomas repeated President Donald Trump's false claims that the election was marred by fraud. 'Please stand strong in the face of political and media pressure,' she wrote. 'Please reflect on the awesome authority granted to you by our constitution. And then please take action to ensure that a clean slate of electors is chosen for our state.' The swing state of Arizona was central to Trump's claim that he was cheated of victory. Biden won the state by about 10,000 votes. The decision by Fox News to call the state for Biden infuriated Trump, and he has repeatedly disputed the outcome. Ginni Thomas, the conservative activist wife of Justice Clarence Thomas pressed Republicans in Arizona to overturn Joe Biden's 2020 victory there, according to emails published on Friday Democrats and ethics campaigners have called on Justice Thomas to recuse himself from cases involving the 2020 election because of his wife's efforts to...
    By Mark Sherman and Jonathan J. Cooper | Associated Press WASHINGTON — Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and a conservative political activist, urged Republican lawmakers in Arizona after the 2020 presidential election to choose their own slate of electors, arguing that results giving Joe Biden a victory in the state were marred by fraud. The revelations first published by The Washington Post on Friday show that Thomas was more involved than previously known in efforts, based on unsubstantiated claims of fraud, to overturn Biden’s victory and keep then-President Donald Trump in office. In the days after The Associated Press and other news organizations called the presidential election for Biden, Thomas emailed two lawmakers in Arizona to urge them to choose “a clean slate of Electors” and “stand strong in the face of political and media pressure.” The AP obtained the emails under the state’s open records law. Thomas also had written to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in the weeks following the election encouraging him to work to overturn Biden’s victory and Trump...
    WASHINGTON (AP) — Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and a conservative political activist, urged Republican lawmakers in Arizona after the 2020 presidential election to choose their own slate of electors, arguing that results giving Joe Biden a victory in the state were marred by fraud. The revelations first published by The Washington Post on Friday show that Thomas was more involved than previously known in efforts, based on unsubstantiated claims of fraud, to overturn Biden’s victory and keep then-President Donald Trump in office. In the days after The Associated Press and other news organizations called the presidential election for Biden, Thomas emailed two lawmakers in Arizona to urge them to choose “a clean slate of Electors” and “stand strong in the face of political and media pressure.” The AP obtained the emails under the state’s open records law. Thomas also had written to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in the weeks following the election encouraging him to work to overturn Biden’s victory and Trump in office, according to text messages first reported...
    Virginia ‘Ginni’ Thomas, the right-wing activist wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, pressured Arizona lawmakers to throw out Joe Biden’s slate of electors in the state and replace them with pro-Trump electors, according to emails reviewed by the Washington Post. The newly revealed emails show that Thomas was “ was more deeply involved in the effort to overturn Biden’s win than has been previously reported,” notes the Post. Additionally, the report connects Thomas as a player “in the extraordinary scheme to keep Trump in office by substituting the will of legislatures for the will of voters.” Thomas has become an increasingly controversial figure in recent months as reporting has exposed the fact that she would suggest to Donald Trump the hiring and firing of officials in his administration, attended the Jan. 6 rally that preceded the attack on the U.S. Capitol and she texted then Chief of Staff Mark Meadows QAnon-related conspiracy theories about overturning the 2020 presidential election. The new reporting by the Post details Thomas’s direct involvement in trying to use her considerable influence in the...
    Republicans are chipping away at LGBTQ rights in state legislatures across the country. Republican state lawmakers are introducing bills across the nation that trample on the rights of LGBTQ people in the areas of health care, education, athletics, and more. They have already put forward at least 25 bills in state legislatures across the country to clamp down on the rights of LGBTQ Americans — especially transgender youth. The Republican-sponsored bills would make it harder for students to join LGBTQ school groups, restrict trans students from competing in school sports, and prohibit trans youth from receiving gender-affirming health care. Some of these bills would also force trans students to use bathrooms where they may face anti-trans harassment, bullying, and even sexual assault or result in them using single-occupant bathrooms that are inconvenient and single them out for being trans. Republican state lawmakers across the country have already pre-filed or introduced 25 anti-LGBTQ bills to be considered this year, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. Pre-filing a bill means submitting a...
                 Nine Arizona legislators held a hearing Monday in the Democratic stronghold of Pima County and Tucson over persistent rumors of election irregularities, including one anonymous allegation that 35,000 fraudulent votes were added to the final tally. State Sen. Kelly Townsend (R-Mesa) explained why the Pima County election integrity hearing was necessary. “People ask me, ‘Why are you doing Pima when you’re not done with Maricopa, there’s a lot of work to do.’ Well, we’re all playing whack a mole with all the crazy things they’re throwing at us.” She went on, “The clock is ticking while we’re waiting for the 2022 election.” She explained how the Arizona Legislature must be finished by the end of April for the 90 days to go by until any law can be enacted, in order to be in place for the 2022 primary. “Hopefully we can get a special session instead,” referring to her calls for Gov. Doug Ducey to call one now. State Rep. Mark Finchem (R-Oro Valley), who is running for Arizona Secretary of State and is endorsed by Trump,...
                        Two state lawmakers in Arizona, one from each political party, resigned Wednesday. “To my constituents & colleagues, I’m writing to inform you of my resignation, effective September 30th, from my House seat in Legislative District 11. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve with you, the Republican caucus, and the entire House,” Rep. Bret Roberts (D-AZ-11) announced on Twitter. To my constituents & colleagues, Im writing to inform you of my resignation, effective September 30th, from my House seat in Legislative District 11. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve with you, the Republican caucus, and the entire House. — Bret Roberts (@BretRbrts) September 8, 2021 Roberts did not elaborate very deeply on the reason for his resignation, though he did cite his family as the main driver. “For all those inquiring, after much consideration this decision was made merely on the basis that it is best for our family. Once again, Wishing all of you the best,” he said in...
    Supporters of Donald Trump gathered outside of the Philadelphia Convention Center on Nov. 6, 2020, as ballots continued to be counted. Arizona's sham audit has gone so stunningly well that Pennsylvania GOP lawmakers plan to launch one themselves. Apparently trashing election equipment and wasting millions in taxpayer dollars on an effort marred by incompetence and GOP infighting is looking pretty enticing. The fact that the people leading the bogus Arizona audit are now COVID-positive and can't even deliver the final report on time is just icing on the cake. Sign us up! Republican State Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, citing no actual evidence, said GOP lawmakers are pushing for a "full forensic investigation," clearly avoiding the term "audit" since Arizona's has turned into such a debacle.  Corman simply doesn't trust the outcome of the 2020 election. Call it a sixth sense, a fever dream, a craven attempt to score political points, Corman told a right-wing media type, “I don’t necessarily have faith in the results ... I think that there were many problems in our election that we need to get to...
    (CNN)As the Texas legislature enters the final week of its special session, state Democrats are bringing in reinforcements from around the country to Washington, DC, in a final push to pressure federal lawmakers to pass voting rights legislation. Beginning Monday, more than 100 Democratic state legislators will fly into the nation's capital as part of a planned "week of action" centered on convincing US senators to forgo their August recess until the upper chamber passes the For the People Act, the sweeping Democratic voting and election bill shot down by Senate Republicans earlier this year. The lawmakers, who hail from at least 20 states, will kick off their advocacy campaign with a rally on Tuesday in the nation's capital. According to organizers, there will be "a series of events and meetings with federal lawmakers throughout the week to underscore the urgent need to pass legislation protecting the right to vote before the end of summer and undo anti-voter laws in time for the 2022 midterm elections." The events are being planned by Declaration of American Democracy, a coalition of activist...
    Key lawmakers in charge of potential election reforms in Pennsylvania appear split on whether a third-party audit of the state’s November election results will occur. This, after former President Donald Trump called state GOP leaders out by name – including Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Bellefonte, and State Government Committee Chairman Dave Argall, R-Pottsville – in a terse statement demanding “a full forensic audit” identical to an effort undertaken in Arizona this spring. “The people of Pennsylvania and America deserve to know the truth,” Trump said. “If the Pennsylvania Senate leadership doesn’t act, there is no way they will ever get re-elected!” Argall told the Penn Capital-Star he’s “still reviewing the pros and cons” while his counterpart in the House, Chairman Seth Grove, R-York, dismissed the idea outright. “The PA House of Representatives will not be authorizing any further audits on any previous election,” he tweeted Thursday. “We are focused on fixing our broken election law to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat.” President Joe Biden won Pennsylvania by fewer than 81,000 votes in November. The...
    Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. In the two states with the closest outcomes in the 2020 election and where secretaries of state held the line against efforts to overturn the results, Republican lawmakers have made brazen power grabs that would tie the hands of those same elected officials in future elections. Georgia GOP lawmakers have already codified their effort into law while Republicans in Arizona are attempting to finalize a similar move, as The Washington Post's Aaron Blake points out. In Georgia, which Biden won by less than 13,000 votes, Republicans removed GOP Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger form the state election board, which will give the Republican-controlled legislature ultimate say over who controls the board. GOP lawmakers also granted themselves the power to suspend county elections officials if they don't like the way they’re handling their jobs in the midst of future elections. So Republican lawmakers have effectively given themselves the power to manipulate elections officials at both the state and county levels. Republicans in Arizona, where Biden prevailed by just over 10,000 votes, are now in the midst of similarly trying to...
    Republicans in the Arizona Legislature gaveled out Thursday, unable to agree among their caucus on a final budget. Lawmakers were told by Republican leadership Thursday afternoon that they couldn’t find common ground that would bring all of their members to vote for Gov. Doug Ducey’s proposed budget that scrapped the state’s progressive income tax structure and replaced it with a flat 2.5%. Both the House of Representatives and Senate adjourned until June 10 but reserved the option to reconvene sooner should lawmakers reach an agreement. Senate President Karen Fann told lawmakers Thursday that talks had broken down over the past 12 hours and that keeping members at the Capitol would be futile. Republicans kept thin majorities after the 2020 general election that saw the state’s 11 Electoral College votes go to President Joe Biden while also electing U.S. Senate challenger Mark Kelly over appointed Republican incumbent Martha McSally. While they maintained control of both state chambers, such thin majorities mean one or two defecting Republican lawmakers can stall any party-line vote. Democrats responded to the...
    (CNN)A bill aimed at changing the mail-in voting process in Arizona, including stopping some voters from automatically receiving ballots, has stalled following an intense back-and-forth between the bill's sponsor and another GOP lawmaker on Thursday. More on Voting Rights See where lawmakers have introduced bills that would make it harder to vote Republican state lawmakers push new criminal penalties for election activities Atlanta mayor: 'More effective way' than boycotts to get necessary voting reform The legislation in question, SB 1485, would revise the state's permanent early voting list, which allows a voter to automatically receive a ballot by mail for every election. It would remove voters who have not participated in the last four elections, including partisan primaries, and also don't respond to final mailed notices. Voters would be allowed to sign up again if they were removed from the list.A part of an ongoing Republican-led effort to restrict voting across the country, the bill passed the state House earlier this week and had previously been approved by Arizona's Senate. Because it was amended in the House, it required...
    (CNN)Months after former President Donald Trump and his allies in Congress attempted to overturn Arizona's election results, Republicans in the state's legislature are advancing a series of measures that would make it harder for some residents to vote. The bills are part of a push by Republican-controlled legislatures in several states to impose strict new voting laws that could suppress votes -- a list that also includes Georgia and Texas, two other states with increasingly diverse electorates where Democrats have made recent gains, and Iowa, where Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a new law that makes it harder to vote early. More on Voting Rights Florida Senate panel advances election bill that would ban drop boxes Georgia at center of voting rights fight after state Senate passes bill to restrict rights Iowa governor signs controversial law shortening early, Election Day voting Biden signs executive order expanding voting access House passes bill that would counter GOP efforts to restrict voter access Nearly two dozen bills that would restrict voting were introduced in Arizona this year, and several have advanced in...
    PHOENIX (AP) — Republicans in the Arizona House have voted to strip the state's elected utility regulators of their power to require utilities to get more of their electricity from solar and other clean energy sources. Rep. Gail Griffin of Hereford amended her bill to adopt the state's current standards requiring 15% of power to come from renewable sources before Wednesday's 31-28 party-line vote. Democrats were unified in opposition. But it retains the ban on the Arizona Corporation Commission adopting new proposed standards that would require most of the state's utilities to get half their power from solar, wind and other renewable sources by 2035 and 100% from clean energy, including nuclear, by 2050. The Senate has a similar measure, meaning the ban is being fast-tracked and could quickly reach Republican Gov. Doug Ducey's desk. GOP lawmakers have been emboldened by a recent state Supreme Court decision that called the commission’s powers into question. Ducey himself has been critical of the commission’s adoption of renewable energy standards, and is backing the effort to block the commission’s power. “I want to...
    Arizonans who seek to carry a firearm in their vehicle on public school grounds no longer would need to unload it beforehand under legislation working its way through the Arizona Legislature. House Bill 2840 would remove the requirement that adults unload a firearm before they drive onto school grounds. The bill is scheduled for one more vote on the House Floor before being sent to the Senate. “The components of the bill are four-fold,” bill sponsor Rep. Jaqueline Parker, R-Mesa, said during a Wednesday hearing. “Number one, the gun has to be in the car. Number two, the gun has to be under the control of an adult. Number three, if the adult leaves the car, the car has to be locked. Number four, the gun cannot be visible from outside of the car.” Gun safety advocates say negligent firearms discharges most commonly happen when performing mundane tasks such as unloading a firearm or moving it. Democrats opposed the bill, saying it would lead to gun deaths on school grounds. “This bill suffers from...
    GOP state lawmakers in three battleground states where President Joe Biden narrowly defeated former President Donald Trump in November are looking to tighten their states’ vote-by-mail rules. The moves come after Trump spent the lead-up to the general election by going after vote-by-mail, which was implemented in many states to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Trump repeatedly claimed that vote-by-mail would lead to “fraud” and would “destroy this country.” There was a surge in early and mail-in voting during the 2020 election, with most votes cast by Democrats. Now, with legislative sessions in the statehouses in session, GOP lawmakers are coming up with a flurry of laws aimed at restricting vote-by-mail. In Georgia, Republican state Sen. Jason Anavitarte introduced SB 29 this week. The bill, if implemented, would require voters to provide a form of identification when requesting and dropping off their absentee ballot. Biden won Georgia by less than 12,000 votes out of the nearly 5 million ballots cast. In Arizona, lawmakers introduced several bills aimed at limiting or getting rid of vote-by-mail. SB 1503, introduced by state...
    PHOENIX (AP) — Several Arizona lawmakers figure prominently in the controversy over the Republican effort to overturn President Donald Trump’s election loss and the ensuing chaos after a mob stormed the Capitol. From raising objections to the state’s election results to attending or potentially helping to organize the violent rally, Arizonans are playing an outsized role in the recriminations that have marked the final weeks of Trump’s presidency. Some of their actions have brought formal complaints and demands for an investigation from Democrats. Arizona was a hotbed for GOP election denialism long before Trump supporters broke into the Capitol and halted the formal certification of Biden’s victory. Several state lawmakers began questioning the result almost immediately after it became clear that Biden had narrowly become the first Democrat to win Arizona since 1996. There is no evidence for the allegations of fraud. But they were aired during a meeting at a Phoenix hotel with Trump’s lawyers, Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis. Two Arizona congressmen, Reps. Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar, carried the allegations to the Capitol...
    Members of the Arizona state legislature formally called for an audit of Maricopa County’s election equipment and software on Friday. Senate President Karen Fann, as well as Speaker of the House Rusty Bowers, formally made the call on Friday for “an independent audit of the Dominion software and equipment used by Maricopa County in the 2020 General Election.” “The two leaders, along with incoming Senate Government Chair Michelle Ugenti-Rita and House Majority Leader Warren Petersen, had numerous phone calls with members of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors,” the press release stated. “As a longtime advocate for improving and modernizing our election system, I am pleased to learn that the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors is supportive of conducting an independent audit of their voting software and equipment,” Sen. Ugenti-Rita said in a statement, adding that it is “important we maintain all of the voting public’s confidence in our elections and this is a positive first step in the right direction.” Peterson added that a “significant number of voters believe that fraud occurred and with the number of irregularities it is...
    President Trump’s legal team will participate in a public “hearing” on election integrity with Arizona lawmakers on Monday, Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis announced on Friday. “Arizona State Legislature to hold hearing on election integrity Monday, November 30. Mayor @RudyGiuliani and I will be present on behalf of President @realDonaldTrump,” she announced, providing a link detailing the event: ????????????Arizona State Legislature to hold hearing on election integrity Monday, November 30. Mayor @RudyGiuliani and I will be present on behalf of President @realDonaldTrump. https://t.co/b8ORVzEakP — Jenna Ellis (@JennaEllisEsq) November 27, 2020 ????Arizona election fraud hearing coming up Monday!!!???? pic.twitter.com/8Lv0YtOc6J — Jason Miller (@JasonMillerinDC) November 27, 2020 “The President’s legal team will be present from DC to assist in a fact finding hearing with select members of the Arizona House and Senate and a panel of experts,” a description of the event reads. “The goal will be to gather the evidence that justifies calling a special session to contemplate what happened and take immediate action accordingly,” it adds: State Legislatures are uniquely qualified and positioned to hold hearings on election irregularities and fraud...
    Former Arizona senator Jeff Flake is leading dozens of 'Republicans against Trump' on the first day of the National Convention in Charlotte. Flake is among a number of well-known conservative Trump critics to throw their support behind Joe Biden, including Sens. Gordon Humphrey of New Hampshire (now an independent) and John Warner of Virginia. Last year, Flake wrote a withering indictment of the president in an op-ed which urged fellow Republicans to 'save their souls' and vote for impeachment. He had, until now, stopped short of endorsing Biden and is expected to make a speech later today on behalf of the 'Republicans for Biden' group. US Republican Senator from Arizona Jeff Flake (R), with his wife Cheryl Flake (L), walks to the Senate floor in the US Capitol in Washington, DC, USA, 03 October 2018 U.S. President Donald Trump attends a news conference about the latest coronavirus disease (COVID-19) developments, in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, U.S. August 23, 2020 Senator from California and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris and her...
    By BOB CHRISTIE, Associated Press PHOENIX (AP) — The biggest knock-down, drag-out primary election fight among the 90 Arizona Senate and House seats up for grabs in November features two sitting Republican lawmakers in a suburban north Phoenix district battling for the soul of the GOP. Sen. Heather Carter, known as one of the more moderate GOP lawmakers, is defending her seat against a challenge from Rep. Nancy Barto, a social conservative who has embraced anti-abortion and religious freedom legislation. Both have represented the 15th District, either in the Senate or House, for years — Barto since 2006 and Carter since winning her first election in 2010. They are not fast friends, and backers of the candidates have poured more than $1.8 million into the race, breaking about 2-1 for Carter. The health care community is backing Carter, while social conservative and low-tax groups have Barto's back. The fierce GOP battle is playing out as Democrats see a chance to gain control of at least one legislative chamber for the first time in decades, a reality that's drawn business interests...
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