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Arizona Sec of State seeks probe into Trump's election interference

Were Team Trump's election interference efforts in Arizona legal? Arizona's secretary of state believes the answer is no.

It was late last week when the public first learned of new records documenting an important dimension in Donald Trump's scandalous post-election schemes. As Arizona prepared to certify Joe Biden's victory in the state, the then-president and his team reached out Republicans in Arizona's largest county as part of a highly dubious pressure campaign -- and there's evidence to prove it.

It wasn't long before many started asking a fairly obvious question: was this legal? As the Arizona Republic reported overnight, one leading official in the Grand Canyon State believes the answer may be no.

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs on Wednesday asked Attorney General Mark Brnovich to open a criminal investigation into possible efforts by former President Donald Trump and his allies to influence Maricopa County supervisors as the ballots were still being tallied. Hobbs said some of the communications "involve clear efforts to induce supervisors to refuse to comply with their duties," which could violate Arizona law.

In her request to the state attorney general, Hobbs also cited at least one potential felony charge under Arizona law.

The secretary of state wasn't alone. As the Arizona Republic's article went on to note, Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) also yesterday urged U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to examine the possibility of "an extremely serious crime" in what Gallago called a "pressure campaign" exerted by the Trump campaign and party officials.

In his letter to Garland, the Democratic congressman argued that the Republican efforts "reflect a disturbing trend following the 2020 election of Trump advisors and allies, and even former President Trump himself, committing potential crimes to overturn the election."

For Trump critics, it's probably best to keep expectations low. In Arizona, for example, state Attorney General Mark Brnovich is an ambitious Republican who recently launched a U.S. Senate campaign. The idea of him seriously investigating Trump for alleged election interference is difficult to imagine.

In D.C., meanwhile, Garland has been reluctant to pursue Trump-related scandals for fear of appearing "partisan."

But that doesn't negate the seriousness of the revelations. Indeed, let's not forget that there's an ongoing criminal probe in Georgia, where members of a grand jury are hearing evidence about the former president's alleged efforts to intervene in the state's vote count.

As regular readers know, Team Trump leaned heavily on Georgia officials in January, including a phone conversation in which the then-president told Georgia's Republican secretary of state that he wanted someone to "find" enough votes to flip the state in Trump's favor, the will of the voters be damned.

If those efforts sparked a criminal probe, there's no reason Team Trump's gambit in Arizona shouldn't receive similar scrutiny.