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Former Gov. Ducey criticizes prosecutors for bringing charges against Trump | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey


PHOENIX — Arizona’s last Republican governor criticized prosecutors for bringing criminal charges against former President Donald Trump.

“We’ve never seen this with a former president of the United States,” said Doug Ducey on Tuesday.

“And the question I would have, is this good for our country or is it tearing our country apart?” he continued. “I believe it is divided enough.”

Anyway, Ducey said, the country already is in the midst of the 2024 election cycle, with Trump hoping to regain his former office.

“And I’d like to see this play out and be left to the people,” the former governor said.

Ducey also said he sees politics at play in at least some of the charges that have previously been brought against the former president by federal prosecutors. These include keeping classified documents at his Mar-a-Largo estate after leaving the White House, and separate charges of conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election.

“I’m concerned about the weaponization of the Department of Justice,” Ducey said.

But the former president’s current legal problems do not all originate in Washington.

It was the Manhattan district attorney who brought charges against Trump of falsifying business records in what the indictment says was his attempt to conceal hush money payments to two women who alleged they had sexual relations with Trump before his 2016 election.

And the newest indictment Monday, including four specific charges against Trump for trying to interfere with the 2020 election, were brought by Fanni Willis, the district attorney of Fulton County, Ga.

Ducey said it makes no difference.

“Justice itself and prosecutorial powers should not be weaponized, whether at the state or federal level,” he said.

The former governor would not comment about the specifics of the latest indictment handed up Monday in Georgia against the former president and his attorneys and allies for conspiring to try to “unlawfully change the outcome of the (2020) election in favor of Trump.” And he deflected questions about whether the specific things with which the former president is charged — including pressuring the speaker of the state House to unlawfully appoint electors who would vote for him even though he lost the race — cross the line into illegality.

“That will be left up to the juries,” he said

“Everyone has the presumption of innocence until they’re proven guilty,” he said. “So now that burden is on the state.”

The indictment is pretty specific about how prosecutors say Trump and his attorneys worked to have Arizona’s 11 electoral votes cast for him even though the final vote tally of the 2020 race showed Democrat Joe Biden 10,457 votes ahead.

Much of what’s in the indictment surrounds Rusty Bowers, the Mesa Republican who was speaker of the House.

That includes a Nov. 22, 2020 call to Bowers from Trump himself and Rudy Giuliani, one of his attorneys, in which Giuliani made false statement concerning fraud in the general election and, according to the indictment, “solicited, requested, and importuned Bowers to unlawfully appoint presidential electors from Arizona,” electors that would have been pledged to vote for Trump. Bowers refused.

Trump tried again on with a Dec. 25 call, again asking Bowers to appoint electors pledged to him. Bowers, the indictment says, rejected the proposal.

“I voted for you. I worked for you. I campaigned for you,” the documents quote the former speaker as telling Trump. “I just won’t do anything illegal for you.”

And Bowers rejected a similar request from John Eastman, one of Trump’s attorneys, just two days before Jan. 6, 2021, the day Congress was to certify the election results — and the day that Trump supporters marched on the Capitol and some rioted and invaded the building.

There also are charges that the president’s lawyers met with unnamed state legislators to ask them to appoint presidential electors favoring Trump, and that Trump joined the meeting by phone “and made false statements concerning fraud in the Nov. 3, 2020 presidential election.”

And two other charges say Kenneth Chesbro, another Trump lawyer, sent documents to Greg Safsten, who was executive director of the Arizona Republican Party, which were to be used by presidential electors nominees in Arizona to vote for Trump even though he lost the popular vote. Safsten was one of the signers of the fake document submitted claiming Trump won.

State Attorney General Kris Mayes has confirmed she is investigating whether any laws were broken by the 11 people who signed that document.

That has not gone unnoticed by Jan Brewer, Ducey’s Republican predecessor.

“I do believe that our attorney general is going to move forward on some kind of disciplinary action,” she said Tuesday.

As to the merits of the new indictment, Brewer said hasn’t reached any conclusions.

“I have been watching very carefully to see how this all plays out,” she said. “I’m just sitting on the sidelines, watching like everybody else.”

Nor would she opine on whether the former president acted illegally.

“We have a court that will look at all of that and a jury and we will find out what their decision is,” Brewer said.

She also sidestepped questions of who she would support in 2024.

And Ducey?

“I am going to the debate next week,” the former governor said of Milwaukee, an event that Trump has yet to vow he will attend.

“I am looking forward to seeing the candidates,” Ducey said. “And I am undecided at this time.”

Ducey has had his own interactions with the former president.

That most notably includes a call that Trump placed to him on Nov. 30, 2020, just as the governor was signing documents certifying the election results for Biden. Ducey on hearing the ringtone he assigned to the White House — “Hail to the Chief” — did not answer, silenced the ring and put the phone down.

Ducey would not say what occurred when he later connected by phone with Trump. But The Washington Post reported that Trump wanted him to look into false claims of fraud that would provide some basis for Trump to seek to overturn the election.

The former governor would not discuss any of that Tuesday or any discussions he has had with Jack Smith, a special federal counsel investigating both the efforts to overturn the election and Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 riot who had contacted him.

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