The Republican president of the Arizona Senate said in a letter Friday to the U.S. Justice Department that ballots being recounted from November’s presidential election are secure and the department’s worries about voter intimidation are unfounded.
The letter from Senate President Karen Fann came two days after the head of the department’s Civil Rights Division sought assurances from the Senate that 2.1 million ballots from the state’s most populous county are being secured as federal law requires.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Pamela S. Karlan also warned Fann that the Senate’s plan to have the contractor overseeing the unprecedented election audit contact voters could amount to illegal voter intimidation.
Fann said in her response that the Senate had determined several weeks ago that plans to directly contact voters to see if they actually cast a ballot were being indefinitely deferred. And Fann said that if the Senate ultimately decides to contact voters, the vendor will implemizona ent detailed rules ensuring the contacts comply with federal and state civil rights law.
The Justice Department letter said federal law requires ballots from federal elections to remain in the control of election officials for 22 months, and that Fann’s decision to hand them over to a contractor may violate that law.
Fann, a Republican, said in her response that security is tight at the state fairgrounds venue where teams of contractors are recounting votes in the race won by President Joe Biden, and that former Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett is at the site daily to ensure that remains true.
She vowed that “not a single ballot has been destroyed, defaced, lost or adulterated” and said she was confident none would be.
A Justice Department spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Fann’s letter.
Voting rights groups last week asked the Justice Department to send monitors to Veterans Memorial Coliseum to watch over the recount.
“We are very concerned that the auditors are engaged in ongoing and imminent violations of federal voting and election laws,” said the letter sent by the Brennan Center for Justice, the Leadership Conference and Protect Democracy.
In other developments Friday, Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs asked GOP Gov. Doug Ducey to provide her security and the request was granted.
Hobbs tweeted late Thursday that she had received several death threats because she is an outspoken critic of the Senate’s unprecedented effort to audit the 2020 election, which she and Ducey both certified last year and declared as free and fair. She also complained that she was chased by a “reporter” for a rightwing website. Hobbs is the state’s top elections official.
“The @ArizonaAudit and its far-right allies know their rhetoric will lead to this,” she tweeted. “They are complicit.”
Ducey’s spokesman, C.J. Karamargin, said the governor immediately assigned a Department of Public Safety detail to Hobbs.
“Threats of violence are completely unacceptable, we take them very seriously,” Karamargin said.
Hobbs wrote a letter earlier this week to Bennett, laying out a series of concerns she had with the policies the contractor was using in the recount. Hobbs said the policies were “vague and insufficient to ensure accuracy and consistency.”
Bennett responded Friday, saying Hobbs had signed a court stipulation Wednesday releasing any claims that the recount policies were “legally inadequate or not ‘consistent with state and federal statutory and constitutional law and the EPM, including with respect to the security and integrity of ballots and election equipment.’”
“With all due respect, it reads like a political press release calculated to undermine a process that you have opposed since its inception,” Bennett of Hobbs’ letter.
The recount that began on April 23 is moving extremely slowly, with only about 10% of the ballots counted so far and only a week left on the Senate’s lease on the Coliseum.
Bennett said earlier this week that he hopes they can pause the recount while a series of high school graduations are held and then restart it at the same site. The fair board’s spokeswoman, however, said an extension is not possible.
The recount is being done, Fann said, to put to rest concerns by former President Donald Trump and his backers that he lost Arizona and other battleground states bets because of fraud.
Multiple audits, a hand recount of a sample of Maricopa County ballots, and numerous lawsuits found no evidence of any problems with the election.
Kamala Harris Caught In A Major Lie When Asked This Question
Vice President Kamala Harris falsely claimed that “we’ve been to the border” when pressed on why she has not yet visited the southern border after being tasked by President Biden to handle the “root causes” of migration.
During an interview with NBC News Tuesday, Harris, who has been criticized by Republicans for not making the trip to the U.S.-Mexico border, was asked whether she had any plans to do so.
Harris has come under heavy criticism from Republicans for the way she has handled the role since being appointed to it 75 days ago. While the White House has emphasized she is not tasked with the border per se, Republicans have criticized her repeatedly for not having visited the border at all – with former Trump officials saying she needs to go to the border in order to be able to conduct the talks effectively.
Harris’ comments came as she visited Guatemala, for her first visit abroad since being appointed by President Biden to lead diplomatic efforts to the region to help solve the massive spike in migration to the border in recent months.
Harris, during a press conference alongside Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei told potential migrants that they should not travel to the U.S. Mexico border – claiming that they would be turned back if they did.
Harris, on Monday, seemed to be attempting to make clear that message, and claimed that migrants would be turned back as she sought to present a tougher stance on illegal immigration.
The White House, on Tuesday, seemingly clarified Harris’ comments, saying that they encourage those who would like to come to the U.S. to “do so legally.”
The White House says they have been clear on that policy – noting that during the transition, Amb. Susan Rice and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan reiterated that now was not the time to come to the U.S., and noting that President Biden in March said something to the same effect, while Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has urged migrants to pursue legal immigration channels.
The Biden administration has rolled back a number of Trump-era policies which kept migrants out of the U.S., even as increasing numbers of migrants flooded to the border. Of those, the most significant was the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) – which kept migrants in Mexico as they awaited their hearings. The Biden administration has ended the program and has been processing migrants enrolled into the program into the U.S.
It has also ended a number of asylum cooperative agreements with countries like Guatemala which made migrants claim asylum in other countries first, and has been accused of encouraging migration by narrowing interior enforcement in the U.S., and pushing for a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the U.S.
The administration has kept in place the Trump-era Title 42 public health order which allows migrants to be expelled quickly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and officials said that out of the 178,000 migrants encountered at the border in April, 111,714 were expelled – mainly single adults.
However, the administration has not applied Title 42 to unaccompanied children, of which there were more than 13,000 that arrived at the border in April, and it is not returning migrant families with children under seven to Mexico due to the country’s refusal to take them — meaning that significant numbers of families are not being turned back, and are being released into the U.S. interior.
China Praises Biden Reversing Trump App Ban As Positive Step
China’s Ministry of Commerce said Thursday that a U.S. move to revoke the Trump administration’s executive orders intended to ban apps like TikTok and WeChat was a “positive step,” amid strained relations between the two countries.
“We hope that the US will treat Chinese companies fairly and avoid politicizing economic and trade issues,” ministry spokesperson Gao Feng said at a regular news briefing Thursday.
Gao said the U.S. move to revoke previous government actions against apps such as TikTok and WeChat was a “positive step in the right direction.”
The White House on Wednesday revoked some blanket-style orders made under former President Donald Trump against Chinese apps including the messenging app WeChat, short video app TikTok and the Alipay payments app. A new executive order from President Joe Biden said the U.S. would conduct an “evidence-based” analysis of transactions involving apps that are created, supplied or controlled by China.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated at a daily news briefing that China will continue to defend its interests. It urged the U.S. “to stop generalizing the concept of national security and abusing state power to suppress Chinese technology enterprises.”
Courts blocked the Trump administration’s efforts last year to ban TikTok and WeChat, but the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) is still conducting a national-security review of TikTok.
The Biden administration’s stance reflects concern that users’ personal data could be exposed by popular apps tied to China if the ruling Communist Party pressures companies to share data.
The administration said in February that it was replacing Trump’s approach with a more targeted strategy. It has not actually weighed in yet on whether TikTok and other apps pose a danger to Americans.
A senior administration official said Wednesday that the aim of the review is to set clear criteria to evaluate specific data security and privacy risks for each app.
That could lead to a range of potential future actions on an app-by-app basis.
“We want to take a tailored, tough approach here,” he said.
CFIUS had set deadlines for TikTok to divest its U.S. operations, but such a sale has not happened.
Last week, the Biden administration expanded a list of Chinese companies on a blacklist from the Trump era purported to have links to Chinese military and surveillance. American companies and individuals cannot invest in these companies, which include telecommunications gear supplier Huawei and Chinese oil company China National Offshore Oil Corp.
Chinese officials and companies have denied that their products and services pose a security threat.
Relations between Beijing and Washington remain testy, with each side having imposed sanctions including tariffs on each others’ exports.
China’s legislature passed legislation Thursday laying down the legal basis for retaliation against foreign sanctions over issues such as Hong Kong and the northwestern region of Xinjiang, where China is accused of curtailing freedoms and committing human rights abuses. No specific measures were included in the anti-sanctions law.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said the law aimed to “resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, dignity and core interests and oppose Western hegemonism and power politics.” and to “provide legal support and guarantees for the country to counter discriminatory measures by a foreign country in accordance with the law.”
Wang lashed out over calls from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin for greater attention to China’s growing military power, accusing Washington of “playing the China card” as a pretext for increasing U.S. military spending and seeking to “contain China.”
He also protested Japanese Prime Minister Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s reference to Taiwan as a country during a parliamentary debate Wednesday. China considers the self-governing island democracy as its own territory and is quick to chastise anyone or any company that refers to it as a country.
Suga made a passing reference to Taiwan, New Zealand and Australia while answering a question about pandemic measures, and then referred to them as “three countries.”
Wang said the comment violated Japan’s “solemn promise to not regard Taiwan as a country.”
“We strongly deplore Japan’s erroneous remarks and have lodged solemn complaints with Japan, demanding that Japan immediately make clear clarifications to eliminate the adverse effects caused by relevant remarks, and to ensure that such situations will not happen again,” Wang said.
Republican Wins Mayoralty Race In Hispanic-majority Border Town
McAllen is a border town in Texas that has been carrying much of the brunt of the massive immigration in the south, illegal or otherwise. Sitting in the Rio Grande Valley, McAllen has a population of almost 142,000 and about 85% of its constituents are of Hispanic descent.
Recently, the Republicans clinched a breakthrough victory in McAllen when Javier Villalobos bagged the mayoralty crown against Veronica Whitacre. The GOP candidate is a replacement for long-time mayor Jim Darling, who decided last year that he will not seek reelection.
“Amazing news! McAllen, Texas is a major border town of 140,000 people. 85% Hispanic – and just elected a Republican mayor. The macro realignment accelerates in South Texas, and elsewhere, as Hispanics rally to America First,” Trump 2020 campaign adviser Steve Cortes said on twitter.
“Javier Villalobos is a proven leader who cares deeply about the people of the Rio Grande Valley. Congratulations on becoming the next Mayor of McAllen!” Texas Gov. and fellow-Republican Greg Abbott posted on social media.
RNC spokesman Nathan Brand also expressed his thoughts on Villalobos’ victory, saying that it was a “BIG win for Republicans tonight in a border community. Biden’s border crisis has real world ramifications for communities across the country, especially in cities like McAllen.”
Villalobos is McAllen city district 1 commissioner and a practicing lawyer for the past 25 years. Even though he grew up in Crystal City, Villalobos have always felt comfortable with the border town for their similarities.
“The majority [was] Hispanic people, and it was an agricultural community, kind of like it used to be back in the old days here with that type of labor. When I came over here I felt right at home. You know, the people were wonderful,” Villalobos stated in an interview before the election.
Being situated in the southernmost tip of Texas makes McAllen the shortest route for Central Americans. The uncontrollable migration under the Biden administration has put a lot of pressure on its people who are doing their best to adjust to the situation and even provide humanitarian aid to those who are entering American soil. Having a leader who will understand their problems and will not opt to defund the police where security is so much needed, is indeed a huge step to the direction of progress, for the people of McAllen.
“Let me start by thanking the voters, my team, my family [and] everyone who helped run this campaign. Thank you McAllen for trusting [and] believing in me. I promise to not let you down,” Villalobos thanked everyone through his facebook page.
Search Our Site
Polls2 weeks ago
Poll: Is Biden A Better President Than Trump? – Vote Now ✔ – Last 3 Hours
News1 month ago
Snarky Biden Snaps At Reporter Who Asked About Mask Use
Polls1 month ago
POLL: Does Biden Need A Mental Health Evaluation?
News1 week ago
Trump Believes He Can Regain the Presidency This Summer
News4 weeks ago
Kamala Harris Woke Niece is Trending for the Wrong Reasons
News2 weeks ago
Government Officials Call For Fauci’s Resignation
News3 weeks ago
Donald Trump is Ready to Rock Once Again
News2 weeks ago
The Unpleasant Truth Behind BLM