Add Arizona attorney general and Senate hopeful Mark Brnovich to the list of Republicans who’ve decided that their political ambitions require them to tightly embrace Donald Trump’s election lies. Brnovich had been publicly tepid on the Big Lie, defending the state Senate’s right to “investigate” Maricopa County’s vote, but not embracing the proceedings. Brnovich also joined in certifying President Joe Biden’s win in Arizona in 2020. These things predictably drew Trump’s fury, and, days after Brnovich announced his Senate run, joining an already crowded Republican primary, he started fiercely defending the fraudit, which has drawn virtually universal criticism from actual election audit experts and has compromised the integrity of Maricopa County’s elections equipment, potentially costing millions of dollars.

Brnovich sent Attorney General Merrick Garland an angry letter attacking the Justice Department as “more interested in supporting the hysterical outcries of leftist pundits on cable television, rather than the rule of law.”

The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has expressed concern about the efforts to undermine the state’s election, and last week, Garland said of the Arizona effort and others that “Many of the justifications proffered in support of these post-election audits and restrictions on voting have relied on assertions of material vote fraud in the 2020 election that have been refuted by law enforcement and intelligence agencies.” Those comments, according to Brnovich, “displayed an alarming disdain for state sovereignty.”

”My office is not amused by the DOJ’s posturing,” Brnovich postured.

The reason for Brnovich’s sudden shift is pathetically obvious. In late May, Trump targeted Brnovich with a statement saying he “has to get on the ball and catch up with the great Republican Patriots in the Arizona State Senate.”

”As massive crime in the 2020 Election is becoming more and more evident and obvious, Brnovich is nowhere to be found,” Trump wrote on his now-defunct blog. “He is always on television promoting himself, but never mentions the Crime of the Century, that took place during the 2020 Presidential Election, which was Rigged and Stolen. Arizona was a big part and Brnovich must put himself in gear, or no Arizona Republican will vote for him in the upcoming elections.”

Message received. Less than a week after announcing his Senate run, and after a private conversation with Trump, there’s Brnovich, suddenly trying to turn himself into the patron saint of the fraudit. 

As for that effort, the hand recount of Maricopa County’s ballots is nearly complete, but the conspiracy theory-driven investigation of the authenticity of ballots continues. The CEO of the company that manufactured the ballots told CNN he’s mystified by what the investigators are doing, and even put his own ballots under ultraviolet light in an attempt to replicate what he was seeing on the livestream of the count, “trying to figure out what they could possibly be looking for.”

    “It’s not being disclosed what they’re looking for, what those processes are, and that’s frustrating,” he said. He could probably figure it out by diving into the conspiracy theory sites of the far right, but that doesn’t mean it would make any sense at all. Witness the fact that Cyber Ninjas, the Trump supporter-run company with no election audit experience running the Maricopa County proceedings, apparently hasn’t contacted the company that made the ballots to learn what they should expect to see and what would constitute suspicious anomalies. 

    Meanwhile, a stream of Republicans from other states are visiting Maricopa County to be seen on site and get themselves some of the glow of ultimate Trumpiness. It’s Donald Trump’s party and practically every Republican who wants to be anyone is getting on board.

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