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‘The No. 1 issue’: Trump whips up election falsehoods after flawed Arizona report

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Friday’s flawed report from the Republicans investigating Arizona’s 2020 election isn’t changing minds or dampening enthusiasm among election conspiracy theorists. Instead, the movement keeps gaining traction in the Republican Party.

Inexperienced reviewers hired by the Arizona state Senate have been trawling through the results in Maricopa County for months, with the county’s Republican elected officials debunking their claims as they went along. But as draft copies of the report surfaced Thursday night, with a vote count aligning with the official results showing President Joe Biden won, GOP-controlled Texas became the latest state to launch a copycat investigation of 2020 results in four large counties. Republican state legislative leaders in two states Biden narrowly won, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, recently blessed election reviews as well.

Republican candidates up and down the ballot in state after state are adopting former President Donald Trump’s phony claims about fraud and stolen elections. And in Arizona, Republicans said their demand to keep revisiting 2020 was inflamed — and that the report made it necessary to consider more restrictive voting rules in future elections.

“This is a huge win for the 3 November movement to get to the bottom of the 2020 election,” said Boris Epshteyn, former special assistant to Trump who has been tracking efforts in Arizona. He said “the next step is a full audit and canvass of all Arizona counties and including a full canvass in Maricopa County.”

The Arizona state GOP held a watch party for the unveiling of the report, and multiple candidates for governor questioned the validity of the state’s 2020 election results throughout the day. The same thoughts and statements have spread to other states, too, driven by Trump’s lies and unsubstantiated claims about the election.

For months, Trump has been fixated on reports about the 2020 election results, and has been particularly interested in the Republican efforts in Arizona. During media appearances and at event speeches, Trump made questioning the 2020 election results a major rallying cry, even calling it the “crime of the century.” Behind the........

© Politico

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