Trump's Insurrection Is in Arizona Now

This exposé on the aftermath of the January 6 Capitol attack in Arizona reveals that the newest battleground for Trump's domestic insurgency is the Grand Canyon State. Will it turn violent there, too?

Introduction

The Washington Post has called Kelli Ward, the chair of the Arizona GOP, a “leading voice” in the Stop the Steal “movement” orchestrated by Ali Alexander, Alex Jones, and Roger Stone. But per the Post, days after Ward’s January 2021 reelection as chair of the Arizona GOP—an election Ward won by just 42 votes—she faced calls for an audit of her victory by defeated challenger Sergio Arellano. Those familiar with Ward won’t be surprised to learn that, despite being the chief proponent of post-election audits in the presidential race, Ward quickly rejected calls for an audit of her election, insisting, per the Arizona Republic, there is “no procedure, process or rule that allows for that.”

But rules had never stopped Ward before. And they’re certainly not stopping her now, as she coordinates the movement of Trump’s insurgency from Washington to Arizona.

Ali Alexander Owns Arizona

On December 8, 2020, days before Stop the Steal announced a January 6 rally in DC that would spark an armed rebellion and leave five dead—while injuring 130—a Twitter account that Kelli Ward controls (@AZGOP) tweeted the following words:

In a follow-up tweet, Ward’s GOP tweeted a line from the ultra-violent 1982 film Rambo: “This is what we do, who we are: Live for nothing, or die for something.” 

Observers might well have wondered whether this was an instance of Ward endorsing convicted felon Ali Akbar— a man who, as the son of an Muslim Emirati father and a Black Christian woman from Texas, changed his name to “Ali Alexander” to escape aspects of his past—or vice versa.

Was Ward seeking some portion of Alexander’s evident credibility with far-right pro-Trump extremists in Arizona, or lending him her own? After the January insurrection, the Arizona-dwelling Alexander revealed he’d been working with three of Trump’s top allies in Congress—Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, and Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama—to not just plan the Stop the Steal/March to Save America rally that incited a violent attack on the Capitol but to engineer the rally and march to put maximum pressure on the January 6 joint session of Congress. Did Ward herself have that sort of pull with powerful Trump allies in Congress? It remains unclear.

On January 13, 2021—just a week after the insurrection—Alexander erased any doubt about how he saw affairs in his adopted home state, declaring in an interview with the far-right, Michigan-based Church Militant that Stop the Steal “owns all of [the] Arizona [state government], except the Secretary of State [Democrat Katie Hobbs].”

Alexander’s extraordinary boast came in the context of the following statement:

The fight, for Stop the Steal, is to quickly change our election laws in some of these key [national-election battleground] states. And we have the ability to do that if we’ll recall some of these bad governors [including Arizona GOP governor Doug Ducey], if we’ll pressure folks in the state legislatures, and then, frankly, toss out [of office] some of these state House speakers and state Senate presidents [including Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers and Arizona state Senate president Karen Fann], who stood in the way of calling special [post-election] sessions [to overturn Biden’s victory]. So we can win—there is a pathway to regain our [pro-Trump conservatives’] confidence in our elections and change the election laws to vet our elections going forward. The Democrats haven’t won yet. But the pathway is narrow.

[But] I’m pretty optimistic. We own all of Arizona, except for the Secretary of State. There is tremendous pressure right now [on] the state Senate president and the state Speaker of the House there [in Arizona], especially after Maricopa County ignored their subpoenas [to turn over all 2020 ballots in the county to the GOP-led legislature for auditing]. So I’ll tell you something private: [Arizona] Speaker [Rusty] Bowers and state Senate president [Karen] Fann had a call with the[n-]president [Donald Trump] in which they told the president, “No, we’re not calling a special session.” And we [Stop the Steal] caused quite a ruckus.

Worth noting in the above is all of the following:

(1) Alexander issued a threat to Bowers and Fann. As Ward’s quote-tweet of him had confirmed, Alexander is—for all his bluster—a significant figure in GOP politics in Arizona. For Alexander to say that he would be bending the entirety of his Stop the Steal organization to “tossing out of office some of these state House speakers and state Senate presidents who stood in the way of calling special sessions” after the 2020 presidential election was for him to threaten specific GOP leaders in Arizona.

(2) Alexander called on Bowers and Fann to “vet” elections in Arizona and elsewhere to ensure that Democrats don’t “win.” It’d be easy to think Alexander is only speaking of future elections in Arizona here, but the ex-con dispels any such notion when he says Stop the Steal’s immediate response to Bowers and Fann deciding not to call a special session to audit the 2020 election was to “cause quite a ruckus [in Arizona].”

(3) Alexander says he has “private” information about contacts between Donald Trump and GOP leaders in Arizona. We can’t know the source of Alexander’s intel, except to say that, as none of the three key players in these contacts—Trump, Bowers, or Fann—have spoken publicly about these private phone calls, Alexander’s source must either be (a) inside the Trump campaign, or (b) within the highest echelons of the Arizona GOP. Certainly, either of these is possible: as Proof has previously reported, Alexander was in touch with Trump’s campaign by text message in mid-insurrection, and has claimed to “own” the Arizona GOP. This said, Alexander gives an inadvertent hint about the source of his private information in saying that it caused Stop the Steal to go on a public campaign against Bowers and Fann—suggesting that neither of these two leaked the details of their call with Trump to either Alexander or his agents. A far more likely suspect for the leaker would be, for instance, top Trump political adviser—and for what it’s worth, Donald Trump Jr. girlfriend—Kimberly Guilfoyle, who’s close enough to Ali Alexander that she actually spoke to him by phone on Insurrection Eve.

(4) Alexander appears to confirm that his organization, which helped incite the January 6 insurrection, helped to put “tremendous pressure” on GOP leaders in Arizona to conduct an audit of 2020 ballots in Maricopa County. As just such an audit is now occurring (see below), it appears that what we are seeing now in Arizona is a byproduct of pressure caused by the Stop the Steal “movement” after it somehow came into possession of “private” information about contacts between the Trump campaign and the Arizona GOP—a leak that occurred in the context of Ali Alexander having previously been in contact with both Trump’s campaign and the Arizona GOP.

In his Church Militant interview, Alexander says that, “What we [Stop the Steal] are going to attempt to do is to punish the people who betrayed President Donald J. Trump but [also those who] betrayed our [conservatives’] voting rights and [post-election] efforts for election integrity [including an audit]…we’re gonna punish the—I’ll be careful with my words here—heck out of those folks.” (Emphasis in original.)

While Alexander focuses most, among the GOP leaders in Arizona, on Republican Governor Doug Ducey—also, perhaps not coincidentally, the top target of Trump’s ire in Arizona—he makes clear that Bowers and Fann may face similar “punishment” if they don’t bend to his will on a post-election audit. After claiming to Church Militant that various federal prosecutors around the country are “funded” by George Soros to ensure that they won’t prosecute antifa activists or other anti-Trump figures—an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory Trump himself has pushed—Ali Alexander says that “those Republicans who don’t know what time it is—it’s 11:59 on the Doomsday Clock—have to be purged from the [Republican] Party.” So this is what Bowers and Fann were facing if they kept resisting Trump’s demand for yet another audit in Maricopa County.

While Alexander’s threat of “purg[ing]” people from the GOP is not per se violent, the Washington Post reports that the FBI is “investigating potential ties between those physically involved in the attack on the Capitol and individuals who may have influenced them, such as…Ali Alexander”—meaning that crossing Alexander carries with it, especially in a state where the Alexander-linked Proud Boys are as active as they are in Arizona, the possibility of physical intimidation or worse. Perhaps it’s no surprise that, seconds after speaking of the Doomsday Clock, Alexander—who has a history of violent rhetoric—told Church Militant that the GOP needs “men of action.”

(5) Alexander describes his work in Arizona in militaristic terms—and as a conquest. Specifically, he says the following:

[The Stop the Steal movement in] Arizona started with one man: state representative Mark Finchem. And he’s become a great friend and a brother to me. He will be running for higher office [Secretary of State] in Arizona. When we had that Arizona hearing [on a possible audit], we [Stop the Steal] then had nine [GOP members of the Arizona legislature favoring an audit]. After the Arizona hearing was concluded—it was eleven and a half hours long—our private whip count [of audit proponents] was about thirteen or fourteen. Now we’re dealing with forty or fifty [state legislators] in Arizona, so I’m very optimistic that Stop the Steal has already taken over Arizona, that we will control who the [GOP] leadership is in [Arizona].

We [Stop the Steal] have got a lot of gas. And we’ve got all the leverage in the world. And the Republican Party can choose to commit suicide or it can choose to put us in leadership. That is the only path forward for the American Right….[as] it’s not just our civil rights that are up for grabs right now, it’s our natural rights. And if brave men will lean on God and revisit the great minds across millennia, we will tell people what their rights are. I always think that there’s a backstop: that even if we lose politically, the government ought to be very fearful about continuing to cross those lines of our natural rights, because we are the majority, there are 80 million of us, and we will not die quietly in the night.

If you’re thinking that Alexander seems to be threatening all-out civil war if he doesn’t get his way—yes, it appears so.

Yet he’s not just talking about civil war: he’s talking about a holy war that ends with the Rapture. And Ali Alexander’s holy war turns out to be as anti-Catholic—as least as it concerns those American Catholics who are also Democrats—as it is anti-Semitic:

The End [of all existence] must come—and there will be broad confusion [when it does]. How could the antichrist be someone who is painted as a peacemaker? How could the Church be subverted in a way that Christians would allow it to be subverted or celebrate[ that subversion]? And so it’s this grand confusion. And I can’t help but think that we are either there [at the Biblical end-times] or this is the pre-configuration of it. You have a Catholic president-elect who argues that we need to keep the faith. What faith? What faith? What faith? Because you [Joe Biden] don’t believe in [Christian] doctrine, or the Bible, or the Church….People [on the right] are going crazy right now. Absolutely crazy. But I have committed my life to this fight now, and you have to finish the race. There is no reward for getting to the one-yard line. You will be cast into Hell….We [Americans] have to decide what we believe about Jesus Christ—not the Republican Party, not any of this other stuff. It’s like, “What do you believe about Jesus Christ, and where you’re going when you die?” Dying an honorable death [in the Stop the Steal fight he has committed himself to] is an awesome thing, actually.

If you’re thinking that Alexander seems to be imply Biden may be the antichrist, and that the battle to reinstall Trump in the White House is a holy war—yes, it appears so.

Now reread Arizona GOP chair Kelli Ward’s retweet of Alexander’s insistence that he’s “willing to give my life for this fight.” Now rewatch the video of Alexander shouting, in Freedom Plaza on Insurrection Eve, “Victory or death! Victory or death! Victory or death!” This is the man—with Trump himself—who lies behind the Arizona “audit.”

Donald Trump Enters the Picture

That Ali Alexander’s focus, on January 13, was not just on 2022, but on resurrecting the failed January 6 rebellion outside of Washington in the spring of 2021, was evident in his discussion with Church Militant. Asked if Trump’s defeat marked “the end of the Republican Party” or simply “the end of [the GOP] as everyone perceives it to be [now]”, Alexander answered him in this way (emphasis supplied):

Most certainly the latter. As we [have] perceive[d] the Republican Party—that’s over. That’s totally over. Is it the end of the Republican Party [completely]? I think that we will know the answer to that over the next three months [by mid- to late April 2021]. The question is, “Can Stop the Steal mount this bull [the Republican Party] that is trying to kill itself?” And if we can tame this bull [the GOP] that is bleeding out and rushing for additional spears that it wants to jam itself into. If we can steer it [the party] away from that, then we will have saved the Republican Party. And it’s very important that we not start a third party—that we [the insurrectionist Stop the Steal “movement”] take over the Republican Party [in the next three months].

As Alexander said these things, it wasn’t just that he’d previously been photographed with Trump; or that Trump had invited him to the White House during the 2020 election cycle to participate in a “social media summit”; or that he’d been in phone contact with someone so close to the Trumps that she’s in essence a family member (Guilfoyle); or that he’d texted with Trump’s agents during the January insurrection (including individuals with knowledge of the president’s movements, which they then texted him about); it’s that his January ambitions for Arizona mirrored those of Trump while he was at the White House (through January 20) and then in Florida thereafter.

The Order of Events

  1. Bowers and Fann say “no” to the President of the United States;

  2. Alexander, who has been in regular contact with Team Trump, somehow learns of these “private” conversations between Trump and GOP leaders in Arizona;

  3. Alexander coordinates his Stop the Steal resources—the same ones Trump had exploited to enact an armed rebellion in Washington—to bring “significant pressure” down upon Bowers and Fann and cause “quite a ruckus” in Arizona;

  4. Bowers and Fann bend to the pressure brought by Alexander and Trump and announce, a week after Alexander’s Church Militant interview, on January 20, that they are continuing the fight for a third post-election audit of ballots; and

  5. approximately a month later, on February 26, 2021, Bowers and Fann (with the aid of Kelli Ward’s state organization) win the right to access ballots from Maricopa County—Arizona’s largest county, and now a “bluing” one—and to conduct yet another audit of the ballots after the first two found no irregularities whatsoever.

{Note: You can find more information on the basic facts of the Arizona recount here.}

So pressure from Trump on Bowers and Fann apparently wasn’t enough, but pressure from Alexander and Ward as well apparently was. One can only imagine how pleased Trump then became with Alexander and Stop the Steal—the latter a group which, one must remember, is partially run by Trump friend and adviser Roger Stone, who owes Trump for giving him a presidential pardon just as Stone and Stop the Steal were planning Trump’s January 6 rally, an apparent quid pro quo that would be shocking if not for all Trump’s other highly public (yet still illicit) quid pro quos. The question, then, is what Donald Trump has offered (or could offer) the currently in hiding Ali Alexander to advance his cause in Arizona. We don’t know. We only know that Trump owes the Stop the Steal coordinator, and Roger Stone, and Alex Jones—and he owes them a lot.

Indeed, the Washington Post now reports that, from his reconstituted bridal suite at Mar-a-Lago, Trump has “seized on a new avenue to try to call the [2020 election] outcome into question: a hand recount of 2.1 million ballots cast in Arizona’s largest county”, and Trump is now “fixated on the unorthodox [audit] process underway in Phoenix”—the very process forced by Alexander and Stop the Steal. The Post reports that “Trump asks aides for updates about the process multiple times a day”, in doing so “expressing particular interest in the use of UV lights to scrutinize Maricopa’s ballots—a method that…could damage the votes.”

That last sentence should send a chill down your spine. What the Post is reporting, to be clear, is that a company called Cyber Ninjas—a company (a) based in Trump’s home state of Florida, (b) run by a “Stop the Steal advocate” (Arizona Mirror), (c) reported to be known by “almost no one involved in election or politics in Florida, the state where the company is headquartered” (Politico), (d) with no experience with election audits (Arizona Republic), and (e) per the Washington Post, “not federally accredited by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to test voting systems”—is using techniques that could destroy ballots at a time when the top cheerleader of their efforts is insisting he wants to see a shift in vote tallies. A rule of thumb: destroying ballots shifts tallies.

That Trump will declare “proof” of voter fraud if Cyber Ninjas manages to change the vote tallies in Arizona is evidenced by a recent bizarre patio rant at Mar-a-Lago, where he interrupted a private gathering to fulminate further about the presidential election, expressing excitement only in discussing the Arizona audit pushed by Ali Alexander:

Let’s see what they find [in Arizona]. I wouldn’t be surprised if they found thousands and thousands and thousands of votes, so we’re going to watch that very closely. And after that, you’ll watch Pennsylvania [do a post-election audit of ballots], and you’ll watch Georgia, and you’re gonna watch Michigan and Wisconsin. And you’re watching New Hampshire [conduct a post-election audit in the Town of Windham]—they found a lot of votes up in New Hampshire. Because this was a rigged election and everybody knows it. And we’re going to be watching it very closely. But just take a look [at] it: [the Arizona audit] is on closed-circuit [TV], I guess it’s on all over the place because everyone’s talking about it.

Politico notes that Trump is so obsessed with the audit that he has even “repeatedly hyped up the [audit] in written statements that have also attacked Arizona Republican Governor Doug Ducey, whom the former president hasn’t forgiven for his refusal to call the state’s election results into question.” According to the Post, Trump has gone so far as to demand—unsuccessfully—that Ducey call up the National Guard to oversee the audit, a sign that he seeks to position the review as a matter of national security. Per the Post, even Jack Sellers, Republican chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, now says the audit is “creating more chaos [and] more doubt and not solving anything.” He added, in a Post interview, that Doug Logan, owner of Cyber Ninjas, has a “disconcerting” unfamiliarity with Arizona election law.

Cyber Ninjas Appears to Be a “Stop the Steal” Proxy

No one really knows the whole Cyber Ninjas backstory. But here’s what we do know:

  1. Ali Alexander started Stop the Steal as a Florida-based movement to inspect voting equipment and thereby “prove” claims of fraud in Florida elections;

  2. Doug Logan, the head of Cyber Ninjas, is a Stop the Steal advocate (see below);

  3. Cyber Ninjas is based in Florida, but no mainstream election official or group in Florida heard of them, suggesting that they must have been working with fringe groups in Florida (Stop the Steal being a good example of such a “fringe” group);

  4. Ali Alexander and Stop the Steal were one of the chief advocates of the current audit in Arizona, which inexplicably eschewed all reputable election-audit firms and any Arizona-based companies to contract with a company it seems almost impossible that Alexander and Stop the Steal never came across when they were working in Florida, Doug Logan was an advocate of their work, and the work both Stop the Steal and Logan were doing in Florida was in the same subfield.

It doesn’t take much dot-connecting to at least fear—and want to see investigated—the possibility that Donald Trump, having failed to convince Bowers and Fann to conduct a fraudulent post-election audit in Maricopa County, recruited a man with whom he and his team had had dealings in the past, Ali Alexander, to ensure that the said audit went forward, and that Stop the Steal was thereafter vital to ensuring that the audit would be conducted not in a responsible way but by a conspiracy theorist who may well be the functional equivalent of a proxy for Stop the Steal, and therefore for Trump.

Indeed, according to Politico, even top Florida Republicans have never heard of Logan or Cyber Ninjas. “‘Doug Logan? Cyber Ninjas? No. I don’t know these guys. Never heard of them,’ said Christian Ziegler, vice chair of the Republican Party of Florida and a resident of Sarasota, echoing a dozen top Florida Republicans and elections professionals interviewed by Politico.” This tracks with Alexander’s claim, to Church Militant, that RNC chair Ronna McDaniel is “not a fan of mine.” It would therefore be little surprise if Logan and Cyber Ninjas were known to a fringe group like Stop the Steal but not to anyone associated with the national Republican Party, or even the state GOP in the state where Cyber Ninjas is headquartered and does most of its business.

What the Audit Looks Like Now

The Arizona Democratic Party has labeled this third audit in Maricopa County the “fraudit”—and with good reason. Here’s an enumeration of its astounding elements:

  1. Reporters are forbidden from asking Logan about Stop the Steal. (Arizona Republic)

  2. No state or county officials are onsite as Logan does his work. (Arizona Republic)

  3. Only 150 people are counting ballots, at least one of whom, per NBC News, is an insurrectionist—former GOP state representative Anthony Kern—who was at the United States Capitol among the rioters on January 6. (Arizona Republic; link)

  4. Logan won’t guarantee that the three-person vote-counting teams each have a Democrat, Republican, and independent—and indeed it’s unknown if any of the teams have a Democrat (the Post reports that even the Arizona GOP concedes that, among the volunteer “observers”, “most are Republicans”; the Post adds that not only are observers prohibited from taking notes, but there are so few of them that, even if they were nonpartisan, they would not be in a position to see what is happening at most of Logan’s vote-counting tables). (Arizona Republic)

  5. The ballots are not secure from shenanigans—for instance, the replacement of real ballots with fake ones—as “reporters found an unlocked door and strolled right onto the floor of the coliseum on Thursday evening.” (Arizona Republic)

  6. For no obvious reason, the only races being audited are the statewide races won by Democrats—even though Kelli Ward has said that the reason for the recount is to run a check of Arizona’s entire elections system. (Arizona Republic)

  7. Logan says unnamed “statisticians” have identified “areas of concern”—specific neighborhoods—he’ll be putting special attention into, with it unclear whether some (or even all) of these neighborhoods are ones in which Biden performed well, and/or where most of the denizens are voters of color. (Arizona Republic)

  8. In addition to $150,000 in taxpayer funding, Logan is being funded by “private” individuals that he won’t name, though it’s known that one of the sources of Logan’s funding is pro-Trump propaganda network OANN, which Donald Trump Jr. was rumored to have previously sought to buy. (Arizona Republic)

  9. OANN was given the exclusive right to livestream the audit, driving traffic to an outlet Trump advises his voters to watch instead of Fox News. (Arizona Republic)

  10. OANN records from the balcony of the Phoenix Veterans Memorial Colosseum—which seats 14,870—with the result that vote-counters (e.g. the insurrectionist Kern) look like “ants” to observers (the Post writes that the Arizona GOP “allows one local reporter at a time to attend the recount, positioned in bleachers high above the floor where counting is taking place”). (Arizona Republic)

  11. Reporters—other than those from Trump’s favored outlet, OANN—were at first barred from the venue entirely on the claim, by Arizona Senate liaison Ken Bennett, that there “wasn’t room” for reporters in the 14,870-seat arena. (Arizona Republic)

  12. The GOP eventually allowed one reporter to observe the audit at a time, but then began banning reporters if they took photos that cast doubt on the audit, as happened when an Arizona Republic reporter took a photo of Anthony Kern. (link)

  13. In the midst of the audit, the Arizona Republic caught Kern shaking hands with insurrectionist Trump pal Andy Biggs on camera; per Alexander, Biggs conspired with Alexander and Stop the Steal in plotting the events of January 6. (link)

  14. Despite the fact that, in Arizona, ballot counters are only allowed to use red ink to mark ballots—as blue or black ink can be read by scanners, and therefore could be fraudulently used by counters to mark and fraudulently change ballots—Doug Logan is allowing his workers to use blue ink. (Arizona Republic)

  15. After reporter Jen Fifield alerted Logan to the fact that his team was wrongly using blue pens, she was “banned from providing any further [public] updates [on the audit] until her shift [at the audit site] was over.” (Arizona Republic)

  16. While Logan’s outfit has no expertise in election audits, it is an expert, it says, in election hacking, boasting on its website that it has expertise in “types of [election] security vulnerabilities we’ve known how to prevent for over ten years”, including, per Politico, the illicit hacking of voting machines. (Politico)

  17. Logan is so obsessed with hiding what he’s doing that, per Politico, he “asked a judge to keep the procedures of the process secret and also wanted to bar the press and public from the courtroom for a hearing on the subject.” (Politico)

  18. All this is happening despite Maricopa County having already run a forensic audit confirming there were no irregularities in the 2020 vote there—an audit ordered and overseen by “a majority-GOP board of supervisors.” (Politico)

  19. The only evident basis for the Arizona GOP hiring Logan is that, as Politico reports, “Logan authored a document, bristling with conspiracy theories surrounding voting machine companies, that was posted on the website of lawyer Sidney Powell.” That Powell was a lawyer for Trump at the time, and that the document in question appeared on Powell’s personal website, suggests Logan was in contact with Trump’s lawyers—something he’s since confirmed. (Politico)

  20. When Logan was caught parroting Powell’s since self-discredited conspiracy theories on Twitter, he deleted his Twitter account. Before the feed was deleted, reporters found a post in which Logan wrote that he “wholeheartedly support[s] Trump” and another in which he insisted Trump’s claims of election fraud were accurate because such fraud was “real” and definitely “happened.” This latter tweet puts Logan in the position of needing to find fraud in the Arizona ballots to maintain or redeem his own professional reputation (to the extent one exists) as well as to aid the man he’s publicly said he “supports.” (Politico, Arizona Mirror)

Fann originally wanted Rudy Giuliani associate Phil Waldron—a man often discussed at Proof because of his apparent attendance at the January 5 “war council” at Trump International Hotel—to run the Arizona audit, only later settling on Logan, who had appeared on an expert witness list alongside Waldron in a pro-Trump suit in Antrim, Michigan linked to Michael Flynn. Logan repeatedly used the #StoptheSteal hashtag post-election, and, per the Arizona Mirror, also used his Twitter feed (@securityvoid) to offer “extensive activity in support of the Stop the Steal movement.”

As the Arizona Mirror reported (see link above), Logan even retweeted the man believed to be the “Q” of QAnonRon Watkins—who himself was retweeting Kelli Ward. The subject of both Watkins’ and Ward’s tweets? The possibility that Donald Trump got two hundred thousand more votes in Arizona than his certified 2020 vote tally indicated.

The Dark Money of the Arizona Audit

Besides OANN, who’s funding this administrative insurrection dedicated to toppling the Biden presidency?

We know who funded Stop the Steal and its associated post-election efforts: among others, Publix heiress Julie Jenkins Fancelli and Trump adviser Michael Lindell. But now we also know that former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne is one of those raising money for the Arizona audit. According to the Washington Post,

At a news conference Wednesday, [Ken] Bennett urged members of the public to donate to the audit through a website connected to a group called the America Project, whose chief executive is Patrick Byrne. Byrne, a former chief executive of Overstock, attended a raucous hours-long meeting with Trump in the Oval Office in December [2020] where he, [Sidney] Powell and former national security adviser Michael Flynn advised the president on tactics to overturn the election.

{Note: Per an Axios report, the insurrectionists wanted Trump to “invoke emergency national security powers, seize voting machines, and disable the levers of American democracy.”}

Lindell now assures Trump voters that Trump will be reinstalled at the White House by August. While he often cites a lawsuit he’s trying to get before the Supreme Court as one means for this to occur, a Byrne-funded Arizona audit would seem to be another.

The Post reports that Flynn is now touting Byrne’s audit fundraising scheme on Parler, and that the Arizona GOP is sending Trump voters to Byrne on Doug Logan’s explicit recommendation. The consequent incestuousness of the audit effort seems to suggest coordination between the same individuals who coordinated with Trump prior to the insurrection in Washington. Even new figures in the effort—such as Ken Bennett—have their own terrifying histories, with Bennett having tried to keep Barack Obama off Arizona’s ballots in 2012 by falsely implying he wasn’t born in the United States.

Conclusion

The situation in Arizona is dire. The Post reports that three well-respected election integrity organizations have sent a letter to the DOJ warning that if the Department doesn’t immediately send observers to Arizona, the 2020 presidential election ballots proving Biden’s victory there are “in imminent danger of being stolen, defaced, or irretrievably damaged.” Of course, with the audit under way, irreparable harm may already have been done to the ballots and to the public’s trust in Arizona’s 2020 vote.

We mustn’t forget that what’s happening in Arizona now is a direct continuation of what Trump was militating for in Washington on January 6: for the Electoral College ballots that confirmed Joe Biden’s November 2020 victory to be “sent back to the states” so that the very states Trump now says will be conducting audits (Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin among them) can audit their vote tallies. Trump failed in Washington, so he—with the aid of the same group of donors, allies, agents, and associates he was working with there—now seeks to conduct his insurrection piecemeal. And just as Rudy Giuliani told the mob at the White House Ellipse on January 6 that if Trump and his legal and political teams had “ten more days” they could prove fraud in the 2020 election, what this gang of insurrectionists has realized is that they’re now freed from the time constraints laid out in federal law.

As long as any of the post-election audits find any evidence of any kind of irregularity—no matter how specious, or even if it’s one the auditors themselves created (such as with Logan’s destruction of Arizona ballots using UV lights)—the aim Trump had in Washington in January can still be achieved: to convince the 70% of Republicans who think Biden an illegitimate president that they’re right and should take consequential actions in response to that belief.

So what sort of protests would supposed “proof” of voter fraud in Arizona produce? We don’t have to wonder. We already know precisely the sort of protest the men behind the Arizona audit have in mind—as we saw it unfold just four months ago in Washington. Or we could read what Alexander said to Church Militant about the “war” in America:

Our responsibility is to challenge bad government and to remold it so that it might edify God and might bring forth the Kingdom of God here in Earth. The coronavirus caused me to do a deep dive [into my faith]—and I found my theory of everything. And that [is]: there is a War—there’s only one War, there has only ever been one War, and we know that that is between Jesus Christ and the Devil—but the War here on Earth, as best as I can tell now, with all the information I have, is the War between the Church and the people who have infiltrated the Church. There is a Global Order of folks [Alexander later makes clear he is referring to the Freemasons, who he calls “satanic”], and they shape history, introduce inventions, [but] keep back some of the good under the promise of future enlightenment. So I’ve always been on this journey: this [Stop the Steal fight] is the Convergence of my life.

As Alexander’s words make clear, the leading pro-Trump insurrectionists consider themselves to be on a pseudo-religious mission. They are not going to stop; Trump’s insurrection is not going to stop. The question now is whether the FBI, the DOJ, and the rest of the federal government can develop a whole-of-government approach to address this insurgency. Leaving individual state actors to combat Donald Trump’s insurrection on a state-by-state basis is not an option. The chaos in Arizona—and whatever may follow it, once the results of the audit are announced—is all that lies down that path.