The conservative organization with unparalleled authority to uncover potential fraud in the 2020 Arizona election came back empty-handed after its months-long investigation, according to a draft report obtained by NBC News affiliate KPNX of Phoenix .
The so-called audit came after former President Donald Trump and his associates publicly questioned the legitimacy of the 2020 election following Joe Biden’s victory.
To be clear, the investigation by Cyber Ninjas, a Florida-based cybersecurity firm, was never going to be legitimate, regardless of the results. The owner behind the group is a conspiracy theorist who spread lies about the 2020 election, and even some local Republicans admitted the coup was embarrassing.
But this is not the first time Trump and his supporters have used Arizona to launch costly, undemocratic, and conspiratorial initiatives. In fact, there have been several over the past decade.
Anjali Nair / MSNBC; Getty; PA
In 2011, Trump, the loudest voice in spreading conspiracy theories about then President Barack Obama, said he sent people to Hawaii to investigate Obama’s birth certificate. Trump’s baseless claim that Obama was not born in the United States was aimed at undermining Obama’s legitimacy as president.
I have people who have studied it and they can’t believe what they find, Trump told NBC’s TODAY show at the time.
It should sound familiar.
Also that year, Arizona Tea Party activists linked up with Trump and his associates to discuss the so-called birth conspiracy.
This should also sound familiar to you.
The first group to make contact was the Greater Phoenix Tea Party Patriots, through one of the group’s co-founders, a Conservative activist named Kelly Townsend. At the time, Republicans in Townsend and Arizona used Trump’s conspiracy theory to push for a law that would have removed Obama from the 2012 presidential ballot had he not proven his citizenship. to the taste of Republicans.
As The Arizona Republic reports:
[Townsend] wanted to ask Donald Trump to go to Arizona and come around to the bill. Townsend, who would win a seat at State House the following year, spoke with the representative at the time. Carl Seel, R-Phoenix, a supporter of Bill. Seel wrote to Trump and received an invitation to Trump Tower in New York City.
After that meeting with Trump, Republican lawmakers in Arizona agreed to pass the birth bill in early 2011. But so-Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, ultimately vetoed the bill.
That same year, another Arizona tea party group contacted Trump associate and conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi to press for an investigation into Obama’s birthplace. Brian Reilly, a member of the Surprise Tea Party Patriots, arranged a meeting between Corsi and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Here is how the Republic explained this meeting:
[T]es Reillys, Corsi, and a few other members of the Surprise Tea Party traveled to downtown Phoenix to meet with Arpaio. Reilly got right to the point when he told the sheriff, “I was part of the Surprise Tea Party and I was here to tell you about the President’s birth certificate.”
Arpaio announced an investigation into Obama the following year.
Much like his statements encouraging the ridiculous election review this year, Trump has encouraged Arpaio’s bogus review.
Kudos to @RealSheriffJoe for their successful investigation of Cold Case Posse who claims @BarackObamas birth certificate is false, Trump said in a 2012 tweet.
In 2016, Arpaio closed its investigation without evidence of fraud. Yet the doomed investigation from the start is said to have garnered an unknown amount of money and considerable attention for figures in the right-wing national media. The same has been said about the failed Arizona election audit.
Visit the ReidOut blog to learn more.
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