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New RNC zeroes in on 'election integrity,' hires Trump ally who denied 2020 results

In the week since Michael Whatley and Lara Trump took control of the Republican National Committee, significant moves have been made to reshape the organization in Donald Trump's image.

That includes a renewed focus on "election integrity" -- a chief priority for the presumptive GOP nominee, who continues to lie about the 2020 election, as he gears up for what's expected to be a tight 2024 rematch against President Joe Biden.

To help spearhead the effort, the RNC has brought on Christina Bobb, a former One America News Network reporter-turned-Trump attorney who also espoused unfounded claims of election fraud in the last presidential cycle.

Lara Trump, the former president's daughter-in-law, announced earlier this week the creation of a "first-ever" election integrity division at the RNC.

"That means massive resources going to this one thing," she said during a "Hannity" appearance on Fox News. "If people out there, Sean, don't feel like their vote counts, they don't trust the system we have, then we are no longer the country we once thought we were ... We have to fight fire with dynamite."

MORE: McDaniel resigns as RNC chair; new Trump-approved leaders voted in

PHOTO: Lara Trump, newly elected Republican National Committee Co-Chair, right, gives an address as newly elected Chairman Michael Whatley listens during the general session of the RNC Spring Meeting, March 8, 2024, in Houston, Texas. (Michael Wyke/AP)
PHOTO: Lara Trump, newly elected Republican National Committee Co-Chair, right, gives an address as newly elected Chairman Michael Whatley listens during the general session of the RNC Spring Meeting, March 8, 2024, in Houston, Texas. (Michael Wyke/AP)

Days later, in a three-page memo circulated to RNC members, Whatley expanded on the party's buildout of their election integrity program. It will include, he said, expanded efforts on early voting, "ballot harvesting where legal" and absentee and mail-in ballot programs.

Whatley also dispelled reports that previous chairwoman Ronna McDaniel's mail-in voting program "Bank Your Vote" was scrapped but announced the addition of another initiative called "Grow the Vote" aimed at reaching nontraditional GOP voters and voters who don't always go to the polls.

"We must build and activate the most effective election integrity program that has ever existed to safeguard our elections. We must also focus on voter turnout and early voting in order to win. Every tool that the other side has used, we need to wield for ourselves," Whatley wrote in the memo, which was obtained by ABC News.

The organization, as part of its staff shakeup, has made key legal hires to lead these initiatives.

Bobb will serve as senior counsel for election integrity. She's also been involved with Trump's 2020 election subversion case and his classified documents case.

Bobb was the attorney that signed off to the Department of Justice that no remaining documents with classified markings were in Trump's possession. That certification was later discovered to be false, prompting the eventual court-authorized search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in which FBI investigators recovered more than 100 classified documents.

"I'm honored to be a part of the new team at the RNC," Bobb wrote on X.

PHOTO: Former One America News Network anchor Christina Bobb speaks at a Blake Masters election integrity event on April 30, 2022, in Chandler, Ariz. (Megan Mendoza/The Republic/USA Today Network via Imagn, FILE)
PHOTO: Former One America News Network anchor Christina Bobb speaks at a Blake Masters election integrity event on April 30, 2022, in Chandler, Ariz. (Megan Mendoza/The Republic/USA Today Network via Imagn, FILE)

Another new hire is longtime GOP lawyer Charlie Spies, who will be installed as chief counsel at the RNC. Spies previously worked as election law counsel to the RNC, along with acting as counsel and an architect of former GOP presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' 2024 presidential campaign.

MORE: New RNC leadership slashing staff, sources say

Unlike Bobb, Spies distanced himself from Trump following the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol and has rejected election denialism. The Washington Post was first to report the news of the hirings.

Bill McGinley, a longtime election attorney who served in the Trump administration as White House Cabinet secretary, will be taking the role of outside counsel for election integrity.

In a sign of the RNC's more aggressive posture regarding voting and elections ahead of November, Whatley (who is reported to have been elevated to the chair position because of his prioritization of this issue) also announced one of the first moves of his tenure will be suing Michigan's secretary of state over voter roll maintenance.

The party claims that Michigan is not properly maintaining its voter registration lists as required by federal law.

PHOTO: The logo for the Republican National Committee during the Republican National Committee spring meeting in Houston, Texas, on  March 8, 2024.  (Callaghan O'Hare/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
PHOTO: The logo for the Republican National Committee during the Republican National Committee spring meeting in Houston, Texas, on March 8, 2024. (Callaghan O'Hare/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, said on CNN she was not surprised by the RNC's lawsuit because of Michigan's prominence ahead of the 2024 election but expects to "see many baseless accusations that seek to diminish their faith in the security of our elections as a result."

Biden beat Trump there by nearly 3 percentage points in 2020, flipping the state from red to blue. A new Quinnipiac University poll found a head-to-head matchup between the two men among self-identified registered voters in the state is too close to call.

According to the poll, 70% of the registered voters were either very confident (44%) or somewhat confident (26%) in the state of Michigan counting their votes accurately in the 2024 presidential election. Thirteen percent said they were not so confident, while 16% said they were not confident at all.

Benson wrote on social media that "Michigan welcomes the spotlight, and we are ready for our close up! Because our elections are secure, and our citizens can have faith that every valid vote and only valid votes will count."

New RNC zeroes in on 'election integrity,' hires Trump ally who denied 2020 results originally appeared on abcnews.go.com