A Republican official from a key Arizona county said Monday that he had rejected calls from President Donald Trump’s White House in the weeks following the 2020 election because he believed “whatever needed to be said, needed to be said in a courtroom.”
The calls made by individuals in Trump’s White House to Clint Hickman, then-chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, appeared to be part of a pressure campaign led by Trump’s then-personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Arizona GOP Chair Kelli Ward to convince members of the elected body that supervises elections in the county to announce that there had been voting irregularities in their county, as litigation related to the election continued in the state, according to records published last week by The Arizona Republic.
“I got a phone call from the White House switchboard, and I have to say it: All of these people that called me, it wasn’t stonewalling. We were in litigation at all these points. … Whatever needed to be said, needed to be said in a courtroom in front of a judge or a jury,” Hickman told CNN’s Michael Smerconish on “Cuomo Prime Time,” referring to a number of election-related lawsuits that were pending at the time of the White House calls.
The former official also told Smerconish that he had cautioned Trump’s campaign against calling him due to the pending lawsuits, saying: “I said, ‘Just do me a favor. I can’t talk to anyone while this is being litigated.’ “
Hickman told The Republic that he had allowed the calls to go to voice mail, where the White House’s switchboard operator asked him to call the President back. He did not return the calls, he told The Republic.
Along with Trump, Giuliani — who in November met with GOP state lawmakers in Arizona — also tried to contact supervisors in Maricopa County, according to The Republic, and to Republican Bill Gates, who confirmed the Christmas Eve call to CNN’s Kyung Lah in June.
Hickman, Gates and the board’s other Republican members eventually certified the results of the election and have continuously said the election was fair. Despite members of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors standing by the integrity of the county’s election results, which found that President Joe Biden carried the county by more than 2 percentage points, GOP state senators in Arizona demanded an election audit of the 2020 ballots in Maricopa County in April.
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