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Donald Trump arrives for Arizona rally under pressure

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Donald Trump will speak at a rally in Arizona on Saturday and is expected to backtrack on his baseless claims that the 2020 presidential election suffered from massive voter fraud.

It will be the former president’s first rally of 2022 and offers a potential glimpse of the role he could play in a crucial midterm election year.

But the former president also faces pressure, with the ongoing investigation into January 6, 2021 and multiple trials

Trump also recently clashed with Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) over the issue of voter fraud in the last presidential election.

More Election Allegations

On Friday, Trump released a statement on the rally through his spokeswoman Liz Harrington and appeared to indicate he would revert to the idea that the election was “stolen” from him.

“Looking forward to seeing everyone in Arizona tomorrow! Many topics will be covered including the rigged 2020 presidential election, the fake big lie, the corrupt LameStream media, the disaster in Afghanistan, inflation, the sudden lack of respect for our nation and its leaders, and so much more,” the statement read.

“Large crowds will also be covered on television,” Trump promised.

respect for our Nation and its leaders, and much more. Large crowds will also be covered on television. See you Saturday night!”

— Liz Harrington (@realLizUSA) January 14, 2022

The former president has repeatedly made unsubstantiated claims about the 2020 election and Arizona has come under particular scrutiny. Trump and some of his allies have strongly backed a controversial election audit in the state’s Maricopa County.

That audit, released in September, ultimately found no evidence the election suffered widespread fraud, but instead claimed President Joe Biden won the state. The audit was criticized by both Republicans and Democrats.

Arizona also closed the book on the majority of outstanding voter fraud cases from 2020 this week and no criminal charges have been filed.

It remains to be seen whether the former president will refer to the audit on Saturday.

Clashes with GOP senators

Trump’s continued insistence that the last election suffered from fraud has led to recent clashes with Republican senators. Sen. Mike Rounds told ABC News on Jan. 9 that the last election was “fair, as fair as we’ve seen” and that the GOP “just didn’t win.”

In response, Trump asked if Rounds was “crazy or just stupid.” His comments in turn led to responses from McConnell and Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND), John Thune (R-SD) and Mitt Romney (R-UT), all of whom expressed support for the Rounds.

Trump suggested in an interview with NPR on Jan. 11 that McConnell was responsible for GOP senators not supporting his fraud allegations, calling the Kentucky Republican a “loser.”

Trump’s role in the 2022 midterms

It’s unclear at this point if the recent clash signals the Republican Party is moving away from the so-called “big lie” of 2020 voter fraud, but it appears that at least some top elected officials don’t want the 2020 election to be the focus of the 2022 midterm reviews.

Nonetheless, Trump is expected to play a major role in the November election and has already endorsed GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake in Arizona. Lake said she would not have certified the 2020 election. Trump has yet to endorse a GOP Senate primary candidate from Arizona.

Fallout from the January 6 attack

The former president also faces pressure from several other directions.

The House Select Committee investigating the events of January 6 is investigating Trump’s actions that day, seeking documents and testimony, most recently from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who has refused to submit to an interview.

The former president is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to block the committee from accessing certain documents he requested, citing executive privilege. Two lower courts had ruled in favor of the committee, and the Supreme Court has yet to hear the case.

Prosecution and criminal investigation

Trump is also involved in several lawsuits separate from the Jan. 6 investigation, including a lawsuit with his niece Mary Trump and a libel suit from writer E. Jean Carroll.

New York Attorney General Letitia James is leading a criminal investigation into the Trump Organization and has subpoenaed the former president, along with his children Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office also investigated the Trump Organization’s finances and indicted the company in July 2021 for an alleged 15-year tax evasion scheme.

Trump may be planning to use his Saturday rally to reassert his central role in the Republican Party and exert influence over the midterm elections, but his continued focus on bogus voter fraud allegations and seemingly growing legal troubles could cast a veil over the event.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to hold a rally July 3, 2021 in Sarasota, Florida. Trump will hold his first rally of 2022 in Arizona on Saturday. Getty Images/Eva Marie Uzcategui

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