A federal judge ruled on Thursday that the congressional select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol riot could subpoena the Arizona Republican Party leader’s phone records.
The select committee in January sent a subpoena requesting phone records of Kelli Ward, the chairman of the Arizona Republican Party, who allegedly covered activities from November 2020 through January 2021.
That time frame would include the time Ward summoned a list of uncertified and unauthorized voters to grant Donald Trump the state electoral votes even though he lost Arizona.
These fake electoral votes were sent to Congress for members to consider counting during its January 6, 2021 session, which was halted for hours after the US Capitol was breached by rampaging Trump supporters.
Although not apparent when it occurred, testimony and records obtained by the select committee suggested that the fake voters in Arizona were part of a larger conspiracy that allegedly ran through Byzantine election procedures and declared Trump the winner of the 2020 election.
The scheme would have required Vice President Mike Pence, responsible for officially counting Electoral College votes on Jan. 6, 2021, to decide whether to count alternative lists sent in by Arizona and seven other states. Or say that the election was uncertain and throw the question of the winner to Congress, through a procedure provided for in the American Constitution.
After:The next committee hearing on January 6 is scheduled. Here’s how to watch it and what could happen
It’s unclear exactly how the plan was developed or who was involved.
The eight states that cast fake votes in the Electoral College on December 14, 2020 sent remarkably similar documents to Congress and the National Archives. At least one Trump adviser, Steven Miller, was aware of the plan, saying in a Fox and Friends interview that day that other voter lists were meeting and sending their votes to Congress.
Ward had filed a lawsuit in federal court in February asking that the subpoena sent by the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol at its mobile phone provider, T-Mobile, be cancelled.
Ward said in arguments filed with the court that the records allegedly included call logs from clients at her medical weight loss clinic, records which she said were protected by federal privacy laws.
Ward also said the subpoena was too broad and violated First Amendment free association rights. In a filing in August, his lawyers argued that forcing T-Mobile to produce the call logs could have a chilling effect on Republicans speaking with their party leader.
Republicans, according to the motion filed by Ward’s attorney, Alexander Kolodin, “will feel that every time they communicate with party leadership, they risk having those communications leaked to law enforcement, tracked a knock on the door (or worse) from federal investigators.
U.S. District Judge Diane Humetewa rejected those arguments in her decision on Thursday, ruling that the select committee had a valid reason to search the records and that any argument about a chilling effect was “highly speculative.”
Humetewa also said the medical confidentiality argument doesn’t work since the records sought didn’t include any medical information, just records of interactions.
Kolodin had no immediate reaction to Thursday’s dismissal.
Ward herself was subpoenaed by both the select committee and the FBI.
She did not return an interview request sent through an Arizona Republican Party spokesperson.
The group of Republicans who gathered at party headquarters on Dec. 14, 2020 were the same 11 whose names appeared on the general election ballot as designated voters for Trump.
They included Ward and her husband, Michael, as well as Rep. Jake Hoffman, former Rep. Anthony Kern, and Tyler Bowyer, the chief operating officer of Turning Point Action, an advocacy organization founded by conservative personality Charlie Kirk.
In a court filing in August, Ward argued that the sending of the alternate voters list was done as a kind of fail-safe. These bogus voters “acted to send an alternate list of voters to Washington in the event that the legal challenges to the Arizona results are successful,” the motion reads.
The motion said the connection between the fake voter dispatch and the January 6, 2021 riot was “far from obvious.”
Footage released during television hearings by the select committee showed rioters became furious upon learning that Pence had decided to certify Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 election and not consider an alternative system that would have maintained himself. even and Trump in power.
In the footage, rioters began chanting: “Hang Mike Pence.”