Former President Donald Trump called to thank Arizona’s state Senate president for “pushing to prove any fraud,” while members of his legal team including onetime lawyer Rudy Giuliani huddled privately with her after the state’s 2020 election results had been certified, according to newly released emails.
In one of the emails dated Dec. 2 obtained through FOIA request by the legal watchdog group American Oversight, the state’s Senate president Karen Fann (R) told two constituents that she had spoken with Giuliani “at least 6 times over the past two weeks.”
She added that a day before, she had held a “private 2 hour meeting” with Giuliani and the Trump legal team at the state Senate.
Weeks later, in an exchange dated Dec. 28, Fann assured a constituent that she had “been in numerous conversations with Rudy Guiliani [sic] over the past weeks trying to get this done.”
“I have the full support of him and a personal call from President Trump thanking us for pushing to prove any fraud,” she said.
The correspondence provides an inside look into the more than 500 pages of emails related to Arizona’s “sham partisan crusade” to recount the 2.1 million ballots cast in Maricopa County that American Oversight revealed on Friday.
The publicly-released emails follow reports earlier this week that have indicated Trump has been obsessively fixated on the Arizona audit which he has reportedly hoped will spark similar efforts across the country.
In a rare admission, Fann appeared to acknowledge Trump’s loss in at least one email responding to a person who complained the audit was a waste of money, writing in part: “Biden won. 45 % of all Arizona voters thinks there is a problem with the election system. The audit is to disprove those theories or find ways to improve the system.”
Still, more than six months after the 2020 presidential election, Fann has emerged among a group who has continued to egg on the former president’s big election lie.
In an email dated April 10, a person named Rachel Griffin emailed Fann demanding whether the audit was “smoke and screen” to placate those of us who “know there was election fraud.”
“We are not going to be treated like idiots. We will make sure none of you are ever re-elected again unless you prove there was fraud,” Griffin said. “It is no longer acceptable for all of you to pay lip service. We want results and we want them now.”
In her response, Fann promised that the audit would soon be underway.
“Our efforts have been sabotaged every step of the way but we are not giving up!” she wrote.
The newly released emails come days after Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) — who recently announced a run for governor — said in a statement Tuesday that the observers of the audit had continued to report to her office that the recount was plagued by “problematic practices, changing policies and security threats.”
In a statement Friday, American Oversight’s executive director, Austin Evers decried the effort to “perpetuate Donald Trump’s big lie of a stolen election.”
“The more we learn, the more it becomes clear that this is not an audit, it’s a sham partisan crusade carried out by some of the most cynical actors our democracy has ever known,” he said. “With each new email, the paper trail confirms that the true goal of this process is to perpetuate Donald Trump’s big lie of a stolen election and to undermine faith in our democracy.”