(CNN)Arizona Republican officials are pushing back against false claims from former President Donald Trump and his allies about the 2020 election — another sign of how the same divisions that led the House GOP to oust Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney from her post as No. 3-ranking member last week are fracturing the party outside of Washington.
Trump lit the latest fuse Saturday — as Republican leaders of the Arizona state Senate press forward with a controversial audit conducted by Cyber Ninjas, a Florida-based consulting firm — when he falsely claimed in a statement that the “entire Database of Maricopa County in Arizona has been DELETED!”
Stephen Richer, the Maricopa County recorder — a Republican who heads the county’s election department — responded to Trump’s statement by saying on Twitter: “Wow. This is unhinged.”
“I’m literally looking at our voter registration database on my other screen. Right now,” Richer wrote. “We can’t indulge these insane lies any longer. As a party. As a state. As a country.”
He told CNN’s Erin Burnett on “OutFront” on Monday evening he was “exasperated” by Trump’s false claim and called the former President’s message “tantamount to saying the pencil sitting on my desk in front of me doesn’t exist.”
Trump’s statement amplified claims made by Arizona state Senate President Karen Fann in a letter last week that a screenshot offered evidence that election files had been deleted.
Maricopa County’s Board of Supervisors — four out of five of whom are Republicans — met Monday to respond to Fann’s allegations, with board members offering harsh condemnations of the GOP-led Senate.
Board Chairman Jack Sellers, a Republican, said the state Senate is running “a grift disguised as an audit.”
“This board is done explaining anything to these people who are playing investigator with our constituents’ ballots and equipment, paid for with real people’s tax dollars. People’s ballots and money are not make-believe,” Sellers said. “It’s time to be done with this craziness.”
During the meeting, Richer repeated his response to Fann’s claims.
“No files from the 2020 election have been deleted. We deleted zero — zero files,” he said.
The board voted unanimously to sign a letter detailing Richer’s point-by-point responses to Fann’s claims, and Sellers said they would not be participating further in the audit.
“I will not be responding to any more requests from this
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