An Arizona lawmaker fired back at Attorney General Merrick Garland Friday after the nation's top lawyer announced plans to scrutinize post-election audits.
What is the DOJ doing?
Garland announced Friday several new initiatives under his leadership, including:
- Doubling the staff at the DOJ's Civil Rights Division
- Scrutinizing laws that Republicans say protect election integrity, but Democrats claim restrict voting rights
- Examining post-election audits
- Combatting "election disinformation"
Garland's promise to scrutinize "post-election audits to ensure they abide by federal statutory requirements to protect election records and avoid the intimidation of voters" was "a clear reference to a Republican-backed audit in Arizona," NBC News reported.
Garland said, in part:
As part of its mission to protect the right to vote, the Justice Department will, of course, do everything in its power to prevent election fraud and, if found, to vigorously prosecute it. But many of the justifications proffered in support of these post-election audits and restrictions on voting have relied on assertions of material vote fraud in the 2020 election that have been refuted by law enforcement and intelligence agencies of both this Administration and the previous one, as well as by every court — federal and state — that has considered them.
Arizona Republicans initiated an audit of 2020 presidential election ballots from Maricopa County, the most-populous county in Arizona, earlier this spring. The audit, which has yet to be completed, has been highly controversial and widely condemned by Democrats.
What was the response?
Arizona state Sen. Wendy Rogers (R), an ardent supporter of former President Donald Trump, had a blunt response for Garland.
"You will not touch Arizona ballots or machines unless you want to spend time in an Arizona prison. Maybe you should focus on stopping terrorism. The Justice Department is one of the most corrupt institutions in the USA," she said.
In another tweet, Rogers said, "The free state of Arizona will not tolerate this federal meddling."
"If Attorney General Merrick Garland thinks he has a right to our ballots and machines he should go to court. If he uses force when multiple courts have already authorized this audit he will be in violation of the law," she added.