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Trump repeats claims that 2020 election was stolen at first rally of new year

Former President Donald Trump held his first political rally of the new year in Arizona on Friday, continuing to insist that he had won the 2020 election without evidence.

At the large rally in Florence, Ariz., Trump again claimed that he had actually won the state in 2020, despite having lost to Joe Biden 49.4 percent to 49.1 percent. Trump won the state handily in 2016 against Hillary Clinton by over 4 percentage points.

“I love Arizona. We had a tremendous victory in Arizona that was taken away and I just want to wish everybody a happy New Year. We’re going to have, I think, a great year,” Trump said shortly after taking the stage to loud cheers.

“Last year we had a rigged election and the proof is all over the place,” he continued. “We have a lot of proof and they know it’s proof. They always talk about the Big Lie — they’re the Big Lie.”

“The Big Lie is a lot of bull****, that’s what it is,” he said to more cheers.

The ex-president’s claims came one day after officials from Arizona’s second-largest county concluded that none of the 151 cases they reviewed merited criminal charges.

Former President Donald Trump is surrounded by supporters at his rally at the Canyon Moon Ranch festival grounds in Florence, Arizona, on January 15, 2022.
AFP via Getty Images

“While PCAO’s investigation documented instances of these voters knowingly submitting more than one ballot, there is little to no evidence that they acted with the awareness that their actions would or could result in multiple votes being counted,” said Pima County Attorney Laura Conover in a statement on Friday. “What our investigation revealed was the genuine confusion about the electoral process, particularly relating to mail-in and provisional ballots, and the genuine fear, for a variety of reasons, that their initial vote would not count.”

According to an investigation by the Associated Press, fewer than 200 cases of potential fraud in Arizona had been identified until last week, when election officials in Maricopa County — the state’s largest — said they had discovered 38 potential voting fraud cases during an exhaustive review of 2.1 million ballots. Those cases were sent to the state attorney general’s office for review.

Trump also mentioned the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill rioters, whom he said were being “persecuted” for expressing their First Amendment rights when they disrupted congress’ certification of the electoral votes that would officially make Biden president.

Former President Donald Trump points to the audience during his speech at a rally at the Canyon Moon Ranch festival grounds on January 15, 2022, in Florence, Arizona.
Former President Donald Trump points to the audience during his speech at a rally at the Canyon Moon Ranch festival grounds on January 15, 2022, in Florence, Arizona.
Getty Images

“On top of it all, people are being persecuted for using freedom of speech to talk about the corrupt election but more and more information is coming out and it’s coming out far worse than anyone ever thought it could be.”

He said, “it would be a lot easier for me to go out and enjoy my life and say ‘you know what? we did great.’ You know I ran twice and I won twice and we did better the second time,” he claimed.

Earlier in the week, Trump abruptly ended an interview with National Public Radio after the outlet pressed him on his repeated claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him by voter fraud.

At the desert rally, he threw his support behind GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, who pushed Trump’s stolen election narrative and has threatened to throw the state’s top election official in prison.

Former President Donald Trump departs after speaking at a rally at the Canyon Moon Ranch festival grounds on January 15, 2022, in Florence, Arizona.
Getty Images

Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar, a vehement Trump supporter and 2020 election results denier, also took the stage. Gosar was was censured by House Dems and stripped of his committee assignments in November after he tweeted a video depicting himself as an anime character assassinating progressive New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Biden.

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