Florida Republican Party Chairman Joe Gruters met with controversial lawyer Sidney Powell in Sarasota last week. While he does not embrace the specific accusations Powell has leveled against election officials across the country, he called his conversation informative.
“It’s important to listen to every part and it brought up a lot of good points,” Gruters told Florida Politics. “It’s important to hear from all parties and see what really happened.
Powell worked on former President Donald Trump’s legal team as he challenged the 2020 election results after losing to Democrat Joe Biden. Over the past 13 months, she has accused foreign gamers of hacking and voting shifting in electoral machines and promulgated other theories that courts have found no evidence to support.
At one point last November, Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani issued a statement distancing the legal team from Powell’s campaign after they made incorrect statements, including saying that Georgia used software created under the leadership of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and that election servers for the US elections were hosted in Germany. But despite the distance, Powell also reportedly consulted the former president, who considered appointing her to a Special advice able to investigate suspected electoral irregularities.
All of this happened during a build-up of riots on January 6 when pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in an attempt to prevent Congressional certification of Biden’s victory.
Gruters condemned this violence, but assumed a role on the Republican National Committee pushing for the integrity of the elections in the Union States.
On November 23, he shared a photo of himself and his wife, Sydney, with former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris and Powell.
“Great night and conversations with Katherine Harris and Sidney Powell from Sarasota,” he wrote.
Harris, who celebrates efforts fought to overturn Republican George W. Bush’s 537-vote victory in Florida in the 2000 presidential election, declined to comment on the conversation.
“I have absolutely no interest in speaking to the press again,” she said.
Notably, Democrats in that election wanted Harris to refrain from certifying election results while new legal battles over the recounts were fought. Powell, on the other hand, continued his efforts to audit election results in swing states that Trump lost more than a year after states certified the results.
Gruters has now said he supports such audits, while he has not supported one in Florida, where Trump won.
When asked if Powell had convinced him that the 2020 election was stolen, Gruters said he was concerned about the integrity of the election.
“Look, I think there are a lot of legitimate questions outstanding,” Gruters said. “I am in favor of auditing states where people have found problems.”
An audit of election results in Arizona, overseen by the Sarasota cabinet Cyber Ninjas, identified irregularities, but on examining the election results, he actually found a net profit votes for Biden and confirmed his victory.
Trump has called for audits in states across the country, continuing to claim the results were fraudulent.
State Senator, Gruters supported an election bill passed last year in the state, although he said the process here was a model for other states to follow.
“We worked on it and succeeded,” he said. “We have proposed another bill. It is about doing what is right so that we have the voter confidence that we need.
This article first appeared on Florida Politics.
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