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Arizona defendant Christina Bobb plays key role on RNC election integrity team

When conservative lawyer and media personality Christina Bobb became one of the latest members of Donald Trump’s inner circle to be charged in connection with the effort to reverse the 2020 presidential election results, it became immediately clear she would not have to give up her day job: senior counsel to the Republican National Committee’s election integrity team.

For some, there is a certain irony — if not outright conflict — that a leading purveyor of false claims that the 2020 election was riddled with fraud is a major player in the national GOP’s efforts to protect the integrity of the 2024 vote.

But not for Bobb, and not for her closest allies — including Trump himself, who through a spokesman defended only Bobb by name among all the 18 individuals indicted Wednesday in Arizona. If anything, Bobb’s indictment solidifies her identity as a dedicated Trump loyalist who fiercely fought to reverse his loss in the politically competitive state and potentially elevates her role within the RNC to help him win in November.

“Another example of Democrats’ weaponization of the legal system,” said the spokesman, Steven Cheung. “Christina Bobb is a former Marine Corps officer, who served our nation and the President with distinction. The Democrat platform for 2024: If you can’t beat them, try to throw them in jail.”

An Arizona grand jury indicted seven attorneys or aides affiliated with Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign as well as 11 Arizona Republicans who tried to cast the state’s electoral votes for Trump despite Joe Biden’s victory. All, including Bobb, face felony charges related to their alleged efforts to subvert that result. Other defendants include former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and lawyers Rudy Giuliani, Jenna Ellis and John Eastman, and campaign aides Boris Epshteyn and Mike Roman. Trump and several others were named as unindicted co-conspirators.

An initial arraignment for all of the defendants is scheduled for May 21, according to a person familiar with the detail who spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose the date.

It is the fourth election interference case brought against Trump allies by state or county prosecutors but the first charges for Bobb, a lawyer and former judge advocate in the Marine Corps who worked as an executive secretary in the Department of Homeland Security while Trump was in office and then launched a second act as a correspondent for the conservative network One America News. She volunteered to help Trump’s legal team after the 2020 election and became an advocate for false claims of election fraud. While working for OAN, she heavily focused on a widely discredited post-election review of more than 2 million ballots cast in Arizona’s most populous county. Bobb later wrote a book, “Stealing Your Vote: The Inside Story of the 2020 Election and What It Means for 2024.”

Bobb has also been pulled into an unrelated federal probe of Trump’s allegedly illegal handling of classified documents after he left the White House. As a custodian of some of those records, Bobb signed a document swearing that she had been told that “a diligent search” was conducted of boxes of records shipped from the White House to Florida when Trump left office.

According to the Arizona indictment, Bobb was an advocate for the elector strategy in key battlegrounds that Trump had lost and encouraged Trump’s electors to meet, cast their votes for Trump, and send certified records of their votes to Washington to give Congress the opportunity to count Trump’s electoral votes rather than Biden’s.

Bobb testified to the House committee that investigated the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol that she heard about the elector plan “shortly before, probably a day or two before” the electors met.

According to a Dec. 12, 2020, email from Bobb to a Trump campaign operative, she participated in a campaign phone call that day in which plans were discussed for contingent electors to meet in seven states that Biden won, including Arizona. The email was published as part of the investigation by the House committee.

“Here are my notes from the call,” Bobb wrote, listing the status of elector recruitment in each of the seven states.

“Arizona — all 11 electors are prepared to meet for Monday,” she wrote. “Kelli Ward will be there. Access shouldn’t be a problem. AZ law does not demand a specific location, so they can change location if building is closed.”

Bobb communicated with numerous Republicans during that time, in some cases sharing claims of fraud or irregularities that were eventually proved to be false.

“On December 14th, the states of Arizona, Nevada, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Georgia are appointing Democrat electors to cast their vote for Biden,” Bobb wrote to campaign officials on Dec. 13, 2020. “Each one of these states has clearly demonstrable evidence of voter fraud significant enough to change the outcome of the election.”

Bobb also huddled with Giuliani at the campaign’s informal headquarters at the Willard hotel in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, as a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol.

Bobb declined an interview request from The Washington Post.

Bobb moved into her new role at the RNC in March, shortly after the Trump campaign cleaned house at the GOP’s top political committee, firing longtime operatives and encouraging others to leave voluntarily. She is part of a new department within the RNC that includes lawyers and political operatives who are focused exclusively on election integrity. Their mission includes making sure state and local election administrators are following the law — and filing lawsuits where they believe they are not — and recruiting and training tens of thousands of activists to volunteer as poll workers and poll watchers in battleground states.

“To have its own stand-alone permanent department inside the RNC has just been a real game changer,” said Josh Helton, a lawyer and senior adviser on election integrity for the RNC, in a February podcast. Helton did not reply to a request for comment this week. “It gives the department the attention, resources and bandwidth to develop a truly national program.”

Some who have left said they fear that the party’s new election integrity operation, particularly with Bobb in its midst, will veer toward embracing unfounded conspiracy theories that alienate more moderate Republicans.

“That was a bad hire,” Robin Vos, the Republican speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly, said in a televised interview about Bobb’s new job. “Christina Bobb is part of the fringe element that I don’t think helps to build credibility, not only in our party but in the entire country.”

Stephen K. Bannon, the former senior Trump adviser, said in an interview Thursday that he recommended to the Trump team that people like Bobb and others who have strong connections to the election integrity movement be hired into the RNC because “we need that kind of will to fight — someone who is going to contest elections everywhere.”

With direct access to Trump by phone, Bobb can also serve as a direct link between the RNC and the former president, taking his input and sharing internal strategy with him, Bannon said. But that can cut two ways if Bobb pushes the party’s election integrity operation toward activity that draws legal scrutiny, several GOP operatives said, speaking candidly on the condition of anonymity.

Until 2018, the RNC operated under a federal consent decree prohibiting the committee from participating in Election Day operations — the result of a 1982 lawsuit from Democrats charging the committee with trying to discourage Black voters from casting ballots through targeted mailings and positioning armed, off-duty officers at polls in minority neighborhoods.

“What we worry about is Christina Bobb going rogue and doing something dumb and us getting thrown back into the consent decree,” one GOP strategist said.

If volunteers or campaign operatives misstep, “Marc Elias and his well-funded allies are going to try to get the consent decree reinstated, and that’s something we’re all concerned about,” said another GOP operative, referring to the Democratic elections lawyer.

Yet another operative, however, said the new team is acutely aware of that risk and plans to train activists carefully to avoid legal trouble. The reason the party is building such a massive election integrity operation is precisely because the consent decree has expired. No one wants to blow it, the person said.

Last Friday, the party announced that it plans to recruit 100,000 activists across the country to serve as poll watchers, poll workers or attorneys who can watch or participate in the election process — or flag violations that warrant legal action. Already, the party is engaged in more than 75 lawsuits pending against election administrators around the country protesting or defending various election regulations.

The operation is targeting seven major battlegrounds — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — and will add six more as the year progresses: California, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Texas and Virginia.

“President Trump has said that the Republican victory in November needs to be too big to rig,” RNC lawyer Charlie Spies said in a statement at the time of the announcement. “The political team will be working to ensure a huge victory for Republicans at all levels, and RNC legal is committed to making sure that victory can’t be rigged.”

Meanwhile, lots of Trump allies are rallying around Bobb. “It’s a bogus, bulls— indictment,” said senior Trump campaign adviser Chris LaCivita. “And Christina Bobb served her country honorably as a United States Marine Corps officer, has served her president and is an expert in dealing with election integrity.”

This post appeared first on The Washington Post
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