Report blows the lid off Trump’s influence on controversial Arizona election 'audit'
Donald Trump speaking with attendees at the "Rally to Protect Our Elections" hosted by Turning Point Action. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Former President Donald Trump was mostly silent about Maricopa County's 2020 election audit, but his influence over the process was much more prominent than it seemed, The Arizona Republic reports.

Records uncovered by the AZ Republic show Trump received direct updates from audit workers at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, with his allies pressuring the lead contractor "on when to report findings, and that contractor asked people close to the former president if he could help pay for it."

Leaders of the Arizona Senate publicly denied Trump had any influence over their work, and while audit workers claimed they intentionally kept Trump at arms length to protect the credibility of their effort, they sought Trump's approval and money behind the scenes.

Chat messages reviewed by the AZ Republic show Cyber Ninjas founder Doug Logan talking about secretly taking money from Trump.

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"I told them there was no way I could take funds directly," Logan said in the chat.

"It's my understanding that our underfunded status is known all the way up to 45," Logan wrote to a subcontractor, seemingly upset that he didn't receive any funds from Trump. "Never talked with him, but I've been told the message has been received."

According to the AZ Republic's report, the messages reveal for the first time how deeply Logan and his allies were involved with the Trump brand as they hand counted 2.1 million ballots cast by Maricopa County voters.

"Logan for months fought the release of his personal messages, which The Republic first sought through state Public Records Law. But after a $50,000-a-day sanction for noncompliance and exhausting all appeals, Logan’s lawyer has turned over many — but not all — text and Signal messages Logan sent and received while working on the audit," the AZ Republic's report stated. "Logan on Tuesday declined to comment on the pleas for money he made through extensive communication with Christina Bobb, a former Trump lawyer and conservative broadcaster who served as a go-between for the former president."

Senate Republicans have claimed from the beginning that Trump did not push for the audit and did not lend it his assistance.

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Read the full report at The Arizona Republic.