A U.S. House Committee for Oversight and Reform hearing on the Arizona election review exploded into fireworks after a Maricopa County election official admitted that the county officials effectively deleted election data from materials turned over to auditors after receiving a legal subpoena from the Arizona Senate.
Maricopa County Supervisors Jack Sellers and Bill Gates, David Becker of the Center for Election Innovation and Research, Gowri Ramachandran of the Brennan Center for Justice and Arizona Senate audit liaison Ken Bennett appeared before the committee.
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) cross-examined Maricopa County Vice Chairman Bill Gates on the deletion of data in the materials turned over to the Arizona auditors.
“Is it standard practice to delete files off a server after an election, Mr. Bennett?” Biggs asked.
“I hope not,” Bennett responded.
“So, Mr. Gates, will you agree with that?” Biggs asked.
“I would say that is it appropriate to maintain files and that’s exactly what we did,” Gates replied. “We deleted, the deleted files had been discussed, they were archived.”
“So, so you admit that you guys did delete, Maricop County did delete files off the server after the election?” Biggs pressed.
“That were – that are archived,” Gates responded.
“Yeah, and so when you released these servers and this information to the auditors to begin with, they did not have access to those archived files, at first, is that fair to say?” Biggs continued.
“They did not subpoena those,” Gates replied. “That’s correct.”
Biggs laughed at the brazen confession.
“So, you didn’t feel obligated to turn that over then to them?” Biggs queried.
“We responded to the subpoena,” Gates said.
“Okay, Mr. Bennett, your response to that?” Biggs asked.
Arizona Senate audit liaison Ken Bennett responded with indignance.
“I find it frankly laughable to suggest that a county in response to a subpoena could say we will delete files from the hard drives and the materials we give to the auditors because we have those files archived on data that we did not give to the auditors, when the subpoena said ‘turn over all materials related to the election’,” Bennett said.
Also at the hearing, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and Rep. Biggs clashed over the audit results. Raskin attested that he could not understand why Arizona representatives challenged “the result by which they themselves were elected.” Raskin then asked Biggs if he would accept the audit result that purportely showed Biden won by even more votes than the official tally.
“That is not what the audit concluded, Mr. Raskin. You know better than that,” Biggs responded. “Have you read the whole audit or are you cherry-picking the line which talks about the recount versus the tabulation machines?”
“Well, who won the election is my question, Mr. Biggs? I’m happy to yield to you for that. Who won the election in Arizona, Donald Trump or Joe Biden?” Raskin asked.
“We don’t know because as the audit demonstrates very clearly, Mr. Raskin, there are a lot of issues with this election that took place,” Biggs replied.
After Raskin tried to interrupt Biggs, the Arizona representative accused him of taking part in a “big lie.”
“Speaking of the big lie, you can continue to perpetuate it as long as you want,” Biggs said.
The entire House Oversight Hearing can be watched below:
In May, Arizona State Senate President Karen Fann summoned Maricopa County election officials to a meeting next week to “constructively resolve” irregularities uncovered in the election audit uncovered thus far, including thereported deletion of a ‘main database’ in the Election Management System (EMS).
“We have recently discovered that the entire ‘Database’ directory from the D drive of the machine ‘EMSPrimary’ has been deleted,” Fann wrote to Jack Sellers, chair of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, on Wednesday. “This removes election related details that appear to have been covered by the subpoena.”
Fann’s letter also claims the EMS was missing the “Results Tally and Reporting” database.
“This suggests that the main database for all election related data for the November 2020 General Election has been removed,” Fann continued. “Can you please advise as to why these folders were deleted, and whether there are any backups that may contain the deleted folders?”
Fann then invited the election officials to come to the Arizona State Capitol on May 18 to address the missing EMS files as well as other issues “without recourse to additional subpoenas or other compulsory process.”
Jack Sellers rebutted the allegation by claiming that the auditors were “in way over their heads.”
Chairman @jacksellers responds to "false and ill-informed" allegations from Arizona Senate and Senate audit account. "It's clearer by the day the people hired by the Senate are in way over their heads." Full statement below: pic.twitter.com/kBkVKgbEcD
— Maricopa County (@maricopacounty) May 14, 2021
It turns out from today’s Congressional testimony that it was Maricopa County that was misleading voters. The data were deleted from the subpoenaed materials and moved to an archive to prevent transparency to the duly elected Arizona Senate.
Donald Trump earlier weighed in on the “devastating” findings alleged in the letter.
“A devastating letter written by Arizona Senate President Karen Fann on voting irregularities, and probably fraud, in Maricopa County during the 2020 Presidential Election, Trump wrote. “Even the database was illegally deleted after the subpoena to produce the information. Senate President Fann has invited Maricopa County officials to a public hearing on May 18 to allow them the opportunity to try to explain what happened to the missing databases, ballots, and other significant issues.”
“The Fake News and Lamestream Media is doing everything they can not to cover this major story,” Trump continued. “They just refuse to talk or report about it. They don’t want the United States or World to see what is going on with our corrupt, third world election.”
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.