Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ-05) filed a bill to defund the district attorney that indicted former President Donald Trump.
Biggs introduced the bill, HR5267, on Friday; it would prevent any federal funds from going to the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office. As of press time, the text of the bill — dubbed the “Withholding Investments from Lawless Litigators in States Act,” or “WILLIS Act,” named after the district attorney — wasn’t available on the Congress bill site.
In a statement, Biggs called the indictments “some of the weakest and most ridiculous” he’d ever seen. He accused the federal government of wasting taxpayer dollars for a witch hunt amid a historically poor economy.”
“President Trump and the 18 others mentioned were indicted for mundane activities like sending a text message, making a phone call, reserving a conference room, and tweeting,” said Biggs. “This is a blatant attack on American freedoms. Our national debt is at an all-time high. We cannot afford to have our federal government funding corrupt DA Offices’ quests for national fame through political witch hunts.”
Several weeks ago, the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office brought a 41-count, 98-page indictment against 19 defendants: Trump (13 charges); Mark Meadows, former White House chief of staff; Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for Trump; John Eastman, a lawyer for Trump; Jeffrey Clark, DOJ official; Sidney Powell, a lawyer for Trump; Jenna Ellis, a lawyer for Trump; Ray Smith, a lawyer for Trump; Michael Roman, a Trump campaign staffer; Kenneth Chesebro, a Trump ally; Robert Cheeley, a Trump ally; Trevian Kutti, a Trump ally; Harrison Floyd, a Trump ally; Stephen Lee, a Trump ally; David Shafer, a Trump elector; Shawn Still, a Trump elector; Cathy Latham, a Trump elector; Misty Hampton, the Coffee County elections supervisor; and Scott Hall, a poll watcher.
In a press conference announcing the indictment last week, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis gave the defendants an ultimatum: either voluntarily surrender themselves no later than noon last Friday, or be arrested. Part of the indictment claimed that certain public and private speech by the defendants amounted to “furtherance” of a conspiracy to steal the 2020 election.
Willis then limited the number of questions the press could ask so that she could “go to sleep.”
“The indictment alleges that, rather than abide by Georgia’s legal process for election challenges, the defendants engaged in a criminal racketeering enterprise to overturn Georgia’s presidential election result,” said Willis.
Biggs’ bill came a day after the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH-04), sent a letter to Willis demanding her office’s information and communications with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Executive Branch, as well as the federal funding her office receives. The letter questioned whether Willis had ulterior motives for the indictment.
“Your indictment and prosecution implicate substantial federal interests, and the circumstances surrounding your actions raise serious concerns about whether they are politically motivated,” stated the letter.
The reactions from Arizona’s politicians reflect the greater divide along party lines, with Democrats hailing the latest indictment of former President Donald Trump and Republicans criticizing it.
On Monday, a grand jury in Georgia indicted Trump in the Fulton County Superior Court, listing 41 counts against the former president:
violation of the Georgia Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act;
solicitation of violation of oath by a public officer (six counts);
false statements and writings (11 counts);
impersonating a public officer;
conspiracy to commit impersonating a public officer;
forgery in the first degree (two counts);
conspiracy to commit forgery in the first degree (two counts);
criminal attempt to commit false statements and writings;
conspiracy to commit false statements and writings (two counts);
conspiracy to commit solicitation of false statements and writings;
filing false documents;
criminal attempt to commit filing false documents;
conspiracy to commit filing false documents;
criminal attempt to commit influencing witnesses (two counts);
conspiracy to commit election fraud (two counts);
conspiracy to commit computer theft;
conspiracy to commit computer trespass;
conspiracy to commit computer invasion of privacy;
conspiracy to defraud the state;
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ-05) called the indictment a “witch hunt.”
The congressman declared that the judicial system was weaponized against a former president for political reasons. “The American people see straight through these sham political weapons,” said Biggs.
Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ-07) took the opposite view. Grijalva said that this latest indictment proved the justice system is working as it should.
“These indictments are proof that our justice system is working, and the American people can see through Trump’s cons and lies for what they are – crimes,” said Grijalva.
In an interview with “Pod Save America” on Monday, Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ-03) said Trump represents a “threat to democracy” and expressed his gratitude that legal action has been taken against him.
State Rep. Cory McGarr (R-LD17) criticized the use of Trump’s tweets (now called “posts” under the X rebranding by Elon Musk) as grounds for prosecution, equating Monday’s indictment to a third-world country proceeding. McGarr also reposted an X post from Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, who called the grand jury process “tainted and corrupt.”
“This is what low quality attorneys can accomplish in 3rd world countries where you prosecute political opponents,” posted McGarr.
Other Republicans simply pledged their allegiance to the former president. State Sen. Anthony Kern (R-LD27) reaffirmed his support for Trump as the 2024 GOP candidate.
Rep. Eli Crane (R-AZ-02) said he and the people at large desire to have Trump return for a second term.
Some of the acts listed in the Fulton County Superior Court indictment cited online speech as the basis for conspiracy, a charge echoing a recent precedent set by the case of Douglas Mackey, better known for his social media personality “Ricky Vaughn.” In March, a jury found Mackey guilty of voter suppression for his right-wing satirical tweets during the 2016 election; Mackey faces up to 10 years in prison. Mackey wasn’t arrested until Jan. 27, 2021: several weeks after the January 6 incident at the Capitol, and exactly one week after President Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Trump is under four indictments currently, all issued this year.
In March, a New York grand jury indicted the former president over alleged “hush money” payments to porn star Stormy Daniels prior to the 2016 election; in that case, People of the State of New York v. Trump, Trump faces 34 felony charges.
In June, a Florida grand jury indicted Trump and his personal aide and valet, Walt Nauta, over the handling of classified documents after his presidency; in that case, United States of America v. Donald J. Trump, Waltine Nauta, and Carlos De Oliveira, Trump faces 37 charges.
Earlier this month, a federal grand jury indicted Trump over his alleged participation in the January 6 incident at the Capitol and alleged attempt to overturn the 2020 election; in that case, United States of America v. Donald J. Trump, Trump faces four charges.
Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels says that no border patrol officials can attest that the border is secure.
Dannels testified this during a joint congressional hearing in Sierra Vista, Arizona by the House Oversight and Judiciary committees on Tuesday. Dannels further accused the Biden administration of playing word games about the state of the border to foster a false sense of security among the American people.
“It’s a shell game, it’s a word game to make the American people feel safe when we know here at the community level — especially here in Cochise County — that that’s a false narrative,” said Dannels.
Dannels said he attempted to deliver a 16-point plan to secure the border, compiled by sheriffs nationwide, to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
According to Dannels, Mayorkas later claimed to never have seen the plan. Present at the hearing were Arizona Reps. Juan Ciscomani (R-AZ-06) and Andy Biggs (R-AZ-05), as well as Reps. William Timmons (R-SC-04), Chuck Edwards (R-NC-11), and Glenn Grothman (R-WI-06).
Biggs remarked that Democrats refused to attend the hearing, which he lamented as prioritization of party politics over solving the border crisis.
Democrats’ uniform absence from Tuesday’s congressional hearing, as well as the Biden administration’s insistence that the border situation has improved, appears to be a lockstep party effort to reform public perception of the border crisis.
Last week, two of Arizona’s Democratic state lawmakers insisted that the current public perspective and reporting on the state of the border as a crisis is sensationalized. Mayorkas testified several weeks ago that he doesn’t believe the border situation constitutes a crisis, a view he has espoused consistently throughout this year. During Tuesday’s hearing, Biggs called Mayorkas’ disregard for existing law an impeachable offense.
Furthermore, DHS is changing the categorization of an illegal immigrant terrorist to “national security risk,” a potentially euphemistic shift that Biggs questioned.
“Why are you changing the language? Because it’s easier to hide the reality of the gravity of the situation,” said Biggs.
Biggs reported that cartels are actively recruiting minors via social media to smuggle illegal immigrants, citing reports out of Yuma, Cochise, and Pinal counties. These cartels promise to pay minors several thousand dollars to traffic illegal immigrants into Phoenix or Tucson.
A House-passed resolution to address the border crisis, HR2, has effectively been left to die in the Senate. Biggs remarked that Biden’s executive branch could improve the border by enforcing existing immigration laws.
Illegal immigrants have court dates as far out as a decade. While they await their day in court, these migrants are free to roam the country. The Biden administration’s practice has effectively revived the controversial catch-and-release practice of the Obama administration.
The border crisis has spawned other crises: crime and drugs. Fentanyl, the primary drug behind this latest addiction epidemic, has progressively killed more Americans: there were over 72,700 overdose deaths last year.
Legal migrants were naturalized at a historic rate last year: nearly one million, the highest since 2008.
Under Biden, there have been a historic total of 5.7 million illegal immigrant encounters at the southwest border (as of this report, July’s total hasn’t been released). This total doesn’t reflect the countless number of “gotaways” — those not encountered and remain in the country undetected.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the upcoming year, which outlines the annual budgets and expenditures for the Department of Defense, has a historic number of amendments — 23 of which were filed by Arizona’s representatives.
Over 1,500 amendments have been filed onto the NDAA, H.R. 2670. Congress anticipates final passage on Friday. However, the House Freedom Caucus has expressed opposition to it. The caucus consists of 45 members, of which four are Republican Reps. Andy Biggs, Eli Crane, Debbie Lesko, and Paul Gosar. Biggs, Crane, and Gosar filed 14 of the amendments.
The caucus expressed opposition to the NDAA over the military’s progressive policies and stances on abortion; China-Taiwan relations; critical race theory; climate change; diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI); LGBTQ+ issues; and the Russo-Ukrainian war.
The following are amendments filed by Arizona’s congressmen (all amendments and the bill text are available here):
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ-05)
Amendment 365 (Version 1): require the Department of Defense to perform an audit. If not, the DOD’s discretionary budget authority would be reduced by .5 percent. Cosponsors: Reps. Crane, Andrew Clyde (R-GA-09), Michael Burgess (R-TX-26), and Mary Miller (R-IL-15).
Amendment 367 (Version 1): urge the importance of the U.S.-Israel relationship and the need to continue offering security assistance and related support. Cosponsors: Crane, Beth Van Duyne (R-TX-24), and Miller.
Amendment 371 (Version 1): prohibit the use of funds for any project or activity related to NATO until the Secretary of Defense certifies to the congressional defense committees that each NATO member country spent two percent of their respective GDP on defense expenditures. Cosponsors: Crane and Miller.
Amendment 373 (Version 2): require the Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, and United States Agency for International Development to give Congress a report on agreements made with the Taliban.
Amendment 816 (Version 1): insert text of H.R. 2393, the Combating Cartels on Social Media Act of 2023 to the bill. This bill requires DHS to report and implement a strategy to combat the use of social media by transnational criminal organizations to recruit individuals in the United States to support illicit activities at the border. Cosponsors: Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) and Burgess.
Amendment 948 (Version 1): direct United States Geological Survey to provide for the inclusion of Copper on its’ critical minerals list. Cosponsor: Bob Good (R-VA-05)
Rep. Eli Crane (R-AZ-02)
Amendment 995 (Version 1): condemn Lieutenant General DeAnna Burt for politicizing the military’s stance on domestic policies during the DOD LGBTQ+ Pride Event and emphasize the importance of the military remaining apolitical to maintain its readiness and effectiveness. Cosponsors: Biggs, Gosar, Miller, and Lauren Boebert (R-CO-03).
Amendment 1000 (Version 1): prohibit the DOD from making participation in training or support for certain race-based concepts a requirement for hiring, promotion, or retention of individuals. Also ensures that employees and service members cannot be compelled to declare belief in or participate in training that promotes such concepts as a condition of favorable personnel actions. Cosponsors: Biggs, Gosar, Good, Miller, and Boebert.
Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ-09)
Amendment 441 (Version 1): authorize employees at the Yuma Proving Grounds to use nonelectric vehicles in the performance of their duties. Cosponsor: Biggs.
Amendment 598 (Version 1): require the Secretary of Defense to expeditiously disclose to the public all records relating to the war in Afghanistan. Cosponsors: Biggs, Boebert, Byron Donalds (R-FL-19), Randy Weber (R-TX-14), and Andy Ogles (R-TN-05).
Amendment 672 (Version 1): authorize the Army and Corp of Engineers to complete, reinforce, and maintain the wall on the southern border. Cosponsors: Crane, Biggs, Boebert, Donalds, Weber, Ogles, and Ken Buck (R-CO-04).
Amendment 711 (Version 1): grant Congress exclusive power to declare a national emergency. Cosponsors: Crane, Boebert, Weber, and Ogles.
Amendment 1415 (Version 1): declare Congress’ responsibility to provide compensation for all individuals that developed radiation-induced cancer from past nuclear weapons testing. Cosponsor: Crane.
Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ-07)
Amendment 861 (Version 1): strike language that exempts Air Force activities from any requirements under the Marine Mammal Protection Act that would protect the critically endangered Rice’s Whale.
Amendment 898 (Version 1): extend the protections necessary for the continued use by the Air Force of the Barry M. Goldwater Range in Arizona. Cosponsor: Ruben Gallego (D-AZ-03).
Amendment 1378 (Version 2): prohibit the amounts authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available by this act be used to establish or maintain any relationship between the Department of Defense and the Government of Ecuador, including any office or agent of such government, in order to provide, authorize, or assist in any way in the transfer of weapons, military equipment, crowd control supplies, or any other supplies, to such government or to coordinate joint exercises with the military and police forces of such government until certain criteria is met.
Rep. Greg Stanton (D-AZ-04)
Amendment 465 (Version 1): expand a program to compensate “downwinders” in Arizona and Nevada exposed to and affected by DOD-led atmospheric nuclear testing from 1945 to 1962.
Amendment 1400 (Version 1): direct the State Department to create a strategy for subnational cooperation between local law enforcement, civil society, and government to combat fentanyl trafficking holistically. Also directs the State and Treasury to review how to best expand financial access to countries in the Caribbean.
Amendment 1424 (Version 2): direct the Secretary of the Veterans Affairs (VA) to regularly ensure the accuracy of the VA Accreditation Search database, to submit an annual report on the accreditation process for agents/attorneys/representatives, and to create a trademarked insignia for accredited agents/attorneys/representatives to use.
Amendment 1425 (Version 1): prohibit the use of federal funds for the maintenance of civilian vehicular assets (yachts, jets, cars, etc.) seized in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine or belonging to sanctioned Russian oligarchs and officials.
Arizona’s Superintendent of Public Instruction shared a helpful announcement about a new feature for high school students seeking information about careers in the U.S. military.
In a release sent last week, the Arizona Department of Education revealed that it had “unveiled a one-stop service to help students interested in a military career get information about the U.S. armed forces.” The website – azed.gov/military – was established so that “students can get essential information about the various branches of the service.”
Horne, a Republican, issued a statement in conjunction with the announcement, saying, “With a historic shortfall of U.S. military recruiting goals, Arizona high schools need to do as much as possible to help students get the information they need to learn if a career in the armed services is an appropriate choice for them. Serving our country is an honorable endeavor and our nation will depend on the next generation of those who enlist or become officer candidates so that our military can continue to defend our freedoms.”
The release highlighted that “the need for this effort was presented to state schools chief Tom Horne earlier this year by Raif Byers, a now-graduated Phoenix-area high school senior who was unable to find helpful and detailed information about a military career on the websites for his high school or the district he attends. He found that many other students his age have the same problem.”
Byers added, “I was trying to learn more about a career in the Navy when I was in high school, but it was nearly impossible for me to find any information on my school district website. It’s relatively easy to learn about other types of careers, so I believe it’s just as vital for schools to make armed services information readily available to students. Unfortunately, I learned that in many districts, that’s just not the case. I’m very grateful to Superintendent Horne for creating this webpage where anyone in the state can easily learn about a career serving our country.”
According to the Arizona Department of Education, “the webpage includes links to the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Space Force, Coast Guard, Army National Guard and Air National Guard. It also has details about the various military benefits and information for those interested in becoming officers or enlisted personnel.”
Horne’s efforts join several other similar endeavors from public officials around the state, who are very active in promoting opportunities in the U.S. Military or honoring those who serve. Recently, Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers “partnered with local sponsors to host the Mayor’s Military Induction Ceremony” at a Phoenix-area church – with over 350 recruits!
In May, two in Arizona’s congressional delegation, Andy Biggs and Eli Crane, co-hosted a Military Service Academy Conference to give high school students more information about opportunities to learn more information about future military service and career opportunities.
Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.