After his defeat in 2020, Donald Trump and his confederates focused their anti-election efforts on a handful of states, including Arizona, where the Republican fell just short. In fact, we learned this week that the outgoing president reportedly tried to pressure Arizona’s GOP governor to participate in a scheme to overturn the state’s results.
It was against this backdrop that NBC News reported overnight that special counsel Jack Smith’s office has subpoenaed the Arizona secretary of state’s office.
[A spokesperson for the secretary of state’s office] said Smith sought information linked to a pair of lawsuits, one filed by former President Donald Trump’s campaign and the other by former Arizona Republican Party chair Kelli Ward, that claimed errors and fraud tainted the 2020 presidential election results. Specifically, Smith sought documents related to communications with opposing attorneys, discovery and proposed exhibits, Smith-Leonard said of the subpoena, which was issued as recently as May and was first reported by The Arizona Republic.
What’s more, just as the public was learning about this aspect of the criminal investigation, a key figure in Arizona politics was making some news of his own. CNN reported:
A former top Republican official in Arizona, who rejected pressure from Donald Trump and his allies following the former president’s 2020 election defeat, told CNN Wednesday night that he has spoken with the FBI as part of the ongoing criminal probe related to efforts to overturn the vote. Former Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers revealed the interview with investigators lasted four hours and took place a few months ago.
“I am hesitant to talk about any subpoenas, et cetera, but I have been interviewed by the FBI,” Bowers said on the air, adding that he’d spoken to investigators about two telephone calls: one he had with Trump and Rudy Giuliani after the election, along with a one-on-one call from Trump.
This is of particular interest because we have a pretty good idea about how those calls went.
Indeed, as part of the bipartisan U.S. House investigation into the Jan. 6 attack, the former speaker of the Arizona House delivered gripping testimony, including an instance in which he recalled hearing Giuliani tell him, “We’ve got lots of theories. We just don’t have the evidence.”
Bowers went on to testify, as part of his description of his conversation with Giuliani and Trump: “I said, ‘Look, you are asking me to do something that is counter to my oath when I swore to the Constitution to uphold it, and I also swore to the Constitution and the laws of the state of Arizona. This is totally foreign as an idea or a theory, to me, and I would never do anything of such magnitude without deep consultation with qualified attorneys.’”
As regular readers might recall, Bowers spoke with great eloquence about his disappointment with Trump’s illegal scheme and its consequences. The Arizonan made clear that he saw no defense for the former president’s tactics, which included Trump pressuring Bowers to help him cheat.
All of which is to say, the fact that the FBI interviewed Bowers for four hours is not good news for a certain someone at Mar-a-Lago.