Arizona State Republican Representative Jake Hoffman has been filmed dodging questions about a letter he signed falsely stating that electors in the state voted for Donald Trump following the 2020 election.
When Mr Hoffman was asked by 12News why he signed the fake declaration, he simply walked away.
Richard Ruelas of the Arizona Republic followed up with Mr Hoffman, asking him “on what authority did you find yourself as an elector?”
“In unprecedented times, unprecedented action does occur,” Mr Hoffman said. “There’s no case law, there’s no precedent that exists as to whether or not an election that’s currently being litigated in the courts has due standing, which is why we felt it appropriate to provide Congress and the vice president with duelling opinions.”
A Republican-supported audit in Arizona’s largest county, overwhelmingly considered a farce by observers, failed to find widespread voter fraud in the state, but instead confirmed President Joe Biden’s victory in the state.
“Did you have direction from anybody in doing this?” Ruelas asked.
“I was one of the electors, I’m not in charge of the electors,” Mr Hoffman replied. When asked how he heard about the plan, Mr Hoffman said “you would need to ask the party chair that question”.
“Ask [the party chair] how you got a phone call?” the reporter asked. “Did you not know how you arrived at a place?”
At this point, Mr Hoffman tried to end the interview and started to walk away.
The Independent has reached out to Mr Hoffman for comment.
The secretaries of state in those states have passed along the forgeries to the House Select Committee investigating 6 January, Politico reported. Communications between state officials and the National Archives have also been shared with the panel.
Democratic secretaries of state Jocelyn Benson of Michigan and Katie Hobbs of Arizona met with the committee in November.
“They mostly discussed election administration in Arizona, the 2020 elections, threats/harassment directed toward the office, and the Cyber Ninja’s partisan ballot review,” Murphy Hebert, a spokesperson for Ms Hobbs, told Politico.
Tracy Wimmer, a spokesperson for Ms Benson, told the outlet that she and her staff answered the committee’s questions about the 2020 election and events in the run-up to the Capitol riot on 6 January 2021.
The National Archives sent the fake documents via emails to the office of Ms Hobbs on 11 December 2020 “for your awareness”. They added that the documents wouldn’t be accepted.
Taking legal action against at least one pro-Trump group, Arizona sent a cease and desist letter to a Trump-supporting “sovereign citizen” group in which they told them to stop using the state seal, sending the issue on to the state’s attorney general.
“By affixing the state seal to documents containing false and misleading information about the results of Arizona’s November 3, 2020 General Election, you undermine the confidence in our democratic institutions,” Ms Hobbs wrote to one of the groups.
Group leader Lori Osiecki told the Arizona Republic in December 2020 that she chose to send in the fake documents after going to rallies after the election and attending a full-day meeting in Phoenix where then-Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani was present. After the meeting, she was upset that Governor Doug Ducey wasn’t helping Mr Trump overturn the election.
“One thing I will say about conservatives, is if something is wrong, and we have lost – a true loss – then we accept,” she said at the time. “We’re not going to drag people through the mud and fight it. But this clearly has got issues. I saw it with my own eyes and my own research. After that hearing, I was shocked we didn’t have any other marching orders.”
The group in Michigan that sent in a similar document didn’t use the state seal and state officials didn’t go further on the matter after the document was rejected by the National Archives.
On the anniversary of the Capitol riot on 6 January, Ms Hobbs said that “this past year has shown us that the threats to our democracy persist”.
“Election officials continue to face regular harassment and threats to their lives,” she added. “Fringe groups push fraudulent audits of our election results. And a wave of new laws – here in Arizona and across the country – threaten the freedom to vote, a bedrock principle of our republic”.
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