- Trump on Thursday said Democrats were trying to distract from the release of the Arizona audit.
- He seemed unaware that a draft result had been released and confirmed Joe Biden’s win.
- Trump allies had hyped the audit, saying it would uncover a vast plot to steal the 2020 election.
Former President Donald Trump on Thursday accused Democrats of seeking to distract from the release of the result of the controversial vote audit in Maricopa County, Arizona.
But he appears to have launched the attack unaware that details of the audit had already been released, and that the audit had confirmed that President Joe Biden was the victor.
In the statement late Thursday, Trump hit out at the House of Representatives commission investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol, which on Thursday subpoenaed allies and aides of the president.
Trump said the move was timed to distract from the expected release on Friday of the result of the Maricopa County audit by the contractors Cyber Ninjas.
The audit attracted criticism from state election officials and some Republican officials, who accused Cyber Ninjas of conducting a shambolic process designed to substantiate right-wing conspiracy theories and undermine Biden’s win.
The result of the process has been eagerly anticipated by supporters of the former president, who hoped it would undermine Joe Biden’s victory in the battleground state, which helped secure him the presidency in November 2020.
—Daniel Chaitin (@danielchaitin7) September 24, 2021
Trump’s statement, distributed by email around 11 p.m. ET, said, “Interesting that the Unselect Committee of political hacks ‘dropped’ their subpoena request the night before Arizona is expected to announce its findings from the Forensic Audit on voter fraud in the 2020 Presidential Election Scam.”
He went on to praise Cyber Ninjas as “highly respected auditors” and said “everybody will be watching Arizona tomorrow.”
But Trump apparently didn’t realize that news organizations in Arizona had obtained draft copies of the audit result.
Reports on its results went live shortly before Trump’s statement, and they made it clear that the recount showed that Biden had won, in line with the official result.
In fact, the audit found that Biden had won the county by 99 more votes than in the original tally, while Trump received 261 fewer votes than in the original vote count.
It was back in February that the Republican-led state Senate commissioned Cyber Ninjas to conduct the audit, saying it was necessary to establish faith in the integrity of the election.
The audit was launched despite there being no evidence of fraud or other malpractice that could affect its results. It came after Trump for months pushed his “Big Lie” that the election had been stolen from him as a result of fraud.
In a statement early Friday, Jack Sellers, the chair of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, said that the original count had been accurate, and that the result was the “will of the voters.”
“That should be the end of the story. Everything else is just noise,” he said.
On Friday morning Trump issued another statement, making a different set of arguments about the audit, not mentioning its finding that Biden received more votes than him.
In a statement shared by spokeswoman Liz Harrington, he said the results showed evidence of fraud, and suggested that media reports about its conclusions were wrong.
Trump did not appear to have access to the full report, instead citing what he had “heard” about its contents.
—Liz Harrington (@realLizUSA) September 24, 2021
None of Trump’s previous claims of electoral fraud have been substantiated. Dozens of legal challenges were made, but none succeeded in overturning a result.