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Officials in Maricopa County, Ariz., threw up another roadblock before the state Senate’s 2020 election audit this week, refusing to surrender a portion of subpoenaed materials due to the alleged security risks they pose. 

That refusal came in the form of a letter on Monday from the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office that cited “a significant security risk to law enforcement data utilized by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office as well as numerous federal agencies.”

In its subpoena, the Arizona State Senate had asked for, in part, “access or control of all routers, tabulators or combinations thereof, used in connection with the administration of the 2020 election, and the public IP of the router.”

The Monday letter from the MCAO said the county was refusing to hand over those routers or even digital copies of them, citing an alleged “security risk” associated with the hardware. 

County spokesman Fields Moseley told Just the News on Thursday that “the routers the Senate subpoena commanded the County produce support [more than 50] departments, not just elections operations,” including “critical law enforcement data that, by law, cannot be disclosed, as well as Maricopa County residents’ protected health information and full social security numbers.”  

“By providing the routers, or even virtual images of routers, sensitive data and the lives of law enforcement personnel could be endangered,” he added. 

That explanation would appear to conflict with the February ruling of Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Timothy Thomason in which the judge ordered Maricopa to comply with the state Senate’s subpoena. Addressing the county’s numerous objections to the subpoena, Thomason argued that Maricopa’s claims of confidentiality concerns do not preempt the requirements of the subpoena. 

“The Senators had the power to issue the Subpoenas and have the statutory power to enforce those Subpoenas in the manner set forth in the statutes,” Thomason wrote. “The Subpoenas are, in essence, the equivalent of a Court order, requiring production of certain information. The County cannot avoid a subpoena based on statutes that require that the material being subpoenaed be kept confidential.”

Thomason’s ruling constituted “a minute entry that the subpoenas are legitimate and enforceable by the Senate,” Moseley said. “Maricopa County has worked hard to comply with the demands of the subpoena and tried to solve this security risk in a number of ways. We continue to study this issue.”

Ken Bennett, the former Arizona Secretary of State and the current liaison between the audit team and the state Senate, said the legislature is working to obtain the routers in spite of the county’s denial. “I don’t know why the routers in a tabulation and election center have anything to do with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office or numerous federal agencies,” Bennett told Just the News on Thursday.

Moseley said the county is “working with the IT professionals to better explain the function of these routers because a lot of people are asking.”

If the county prevails, that could mean that a significant portion of the election is itself effectively un-auditable, insofar as a fair chunk of the election data may be stored on hardware shielded by adjacent confidentiality claims. 

The Arizona audit has been the most high-profile effort by Republicans yet to investigate the results of last year’s election to ensure that the official outcome of that race was properly certified, with the router controversy being just one of many roadblocks thrown up by the county in the last several months. 

State Senate Republicans fought for several months to secure the audit, battling the issue out in Arizona court before getting the green light earlier this year.

A further legal challenge by state Democrats came to an end this week with an agreement between the Arizona Democratic Party, state Senate President Karen Fann, and several other parties, including Cyber Ninjas, the Florida-based security firm conducting the audit.

That agreement in part stipulated that Cyber Ninjas workers “will not compare signatures on early ballot envelopes with signatures from the voter registration file.” The agreement also demanded that auditors put in place numerous security measures to ensure the integrity of the archived voting materials. 

State Senate President Karen Fann told Just the News that signature verification will be undertaken “if necessary” and that nothing in the agreement precludes auditors from matching the signatures.

Fann said signature matching will only occur when the signature itself is unclear “or any other instance where we would need additional verification.”

“Signatures are already captured on the ballot envelope images,” she said. “If for some reason we cannot clearly see the signature image, then we can match with the actual envelope.” 

Cyber Ninjas’ role in the audit has been controversial, in no small part due to claims from critics that the company is being unduly secretive about its funding sources. 

Controversy has also intensified lately around Maricopa County’s governance of the election. Arizona GOP Chair Kelli Ward on Wednesday posted a picture of what she claimed were “the servers for Maricopa Co elections” along with “external drives that were loaded w/ nightly early vote totals.” She said she was told that the drives were “taken to an offsite ‘undisclosed location’ nightly ‘for safety’ by an employee or a Dominion contractor working for [the county].”

Fields expressly denied that any Dominion workers were involved in taking the results offsite. He said the county created “two daily backups of the Election with daily tabulation data,” one of which was stored onsite and the other of which was stored at “a secure offsite location at a County facility” with “highly restricted access.” 

“The backup is created in the event there is a disaster (e.g., fire, flood) at MCTEC and the onsite servers are rendered unusable,” he said.

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Election 2020

VIDEO: Shocking news on November 2020 election irregularities in Fulton County, Georgia.

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REPORT: James Murdoch spent $20 million Opposing Trump

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According to a new report from Newsmax “James Murdoch, an heir to the Fox News fortune, spent $20 million opposing Donald Trump’s 2020 reelection while funneling another $100 million through a nonprofit to support leftwing political groups, according to a new report.”

“James and his wife, Kathryn Murdoch, have largely backed Democrats or liberal, nonpartisan causes, according to CNBC, which found the large contribution while reviewing the 2019 tax return documents of Quadrivium, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit the couple control. Quadrivium was founded in 2014,” the report continues.

“It has been widely known that the young Murdochs backed President Joe Biden’s candidacy, but the $100 million for Democrats and other PACs was not well publicized, having been funneled through Quadrivium, CNBC reported.”

James’s wife, Kathryn backed Hillary Clinton in 2016 election “a vote for Trump is a vote for climate catastrophe.”

The night Trump defeated Hillary, she wrote “I can’t believe this is happening. I am so ashamed.”

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Scenarios for an early Trump return to power: the feasible, the far-fetched and the fantasy

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The ever-churning rumor mill surrounding former President Donald Trump has, in recent days, produced a new genre — speculative scenarios that envision the 45th president making his way back to the White House sooner than expected.

Ever the showman — and never one to be upstaged by the media — Trump, who continues to maintain the election was stolen from him, has begun fueling these rumblings via a number of provocative comments.

For those confounded by the headlines and statements “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump” — but also wondering if there’s any plausible basis for such scenarios — let’s review the options.

1. Reinstatement: According to the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman — and vouched for by National Review’s Charles C.W. Cooke, among others — Donald Trump has been musing aloud within his inner circle about the possibility of being reinstated as commander-in-chief by August — yes, that means by August, 2021.

On June 1, Haberman tweeted: “Trump has been telling a number of people he’s in contact with that he expects he will be reinstated by August (no that isn’t how it works but simply sharing the information).”

Cooke confirmed Haberman’s claims, adding that, according to his reporting, Trump expects that former Sens. David Perdue of Georgia, and Martha McSally of Arizona, will be marched back into the upper chamber. 

Adding to the intrigue around Cooke and Haberman’s reporting is Trump himself, who recently appeared in a video for the National Republican Senatorial Committee saying: “We’re gonna take back the Senate, take back the House, we’re gonna take back the White House and sooner than you think.”

It is unclear just how Trump plans to effectuate an August return, but he has been closely monitoring the audit efforts underway in Maricopa County, Ariz., and Windham, N.H., as well as the developing audit efforts in Pennsylvania and Georgia.

From a legal standpoint, however, even those with close personal and professional ties to Trump doubt the Constitution leaves room to reinstate a president following the certification of his defeat by the Electoral College.

Regardless of the findings of any audit, “it is highly unlikely that any court will reverse the Electoral College votes,” said Jenna Ellis, former Trump campaign senior legal adviser. “The constitutional and legally viable judicial options at this point, are to hold accountable the administrators, public officials, and secretaries of state who disregarded state law.”

“The states allowed those certifications for the Electoral College delegates to be given to Congress, and the Electoral College is how we select a president in the United States,” Ellis continued. “The Republican-led state legislatures who were too spineless to exercise their constitutional responsibility to ensure the correct slate of delegates were sent to Congress must now provide the American people with confidence that this lawlessness will never happen again and put reasonable election integrity safeguards in place, as President Trump outlined this weekend in his North Carolina speech.”

Of course, there are alternatives to the court-ordered reinstatement fantasy …

2. Rep. Donald J. Trump: Trump parachutes into the midterm campaign cycle, running to become a member of the House of Representatives. His official Florida residence would allow him to run in a Republican-friendly district. Republicans take back the House and Senate — by what would have to be significant margins. Trump is elected Speaker of the House. Congressional Republicans successfully impeach both President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. Trump is once again the president of the United States.

Conservative radio host Wayne Allyn Root floated this idea last week during an interview with Trump, to which the former president responded, “That’s so — that’s so interesting.” He went on to call it a good idea. 

3. The no-election speakership: For the Congressional rules buffs out there, Ari Fleischer has the early-return scenario for you. 

“If you want to engage in conspiracy theories and wild dreams, here’s the ultimate scenario,” the former press secretary under President George W. Bush said on “Just the News AM” Monday. “You don’t need to be a member of the House of Representatives to be elected speaker. So, Republicans take back control of Congress in 2022, and when it comes time to vote for speaker, they can name [Trump] speaker. Then, if Republicans took two-thirds of the Senate, they can impeach Joe Biden, impeach Kamala Harris, and voila — Speaker Donald Trump becomes president.”

“Anything else and everything else is a fantasy,” said Fleischer. “There is no reinstatement clause, it’s not part of American government.”

4. The long game: And finally, the likeliest — and most conventional — of the Trump-return scenarios: The ex-president waits it out until 2024, when he will be afforded the legally uncontroversial option of again running for the highest office in the land and possibly winning — this time potentially with a mandate stemming from the results of the ongoing 2020 swing-state audits.

In the last month or so, speculation that the former president will run again in 2024 has jumped from being pure speculation to something Trump is remarking upon daily. Over the weekend, he answered questions on Fox News about his next potential running mate. Following Facebook’s decision last Friday to maintain the ban on Trump’s account until at least January 2023, those subscribed to the Save America PAC email list received a brief note from Trump: “Next time I’m in the White House there will be no more dinners, at his request, with Mark Zuckerberg and his wife. It will be all business!

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