Jeff DeWit, chair of the Arizona Republican Party who is at the center of controversial leaked audio allegedly attempting to “bribe” Kari Lake into backing down — which even alludes to veiled threats from “powerful people” — is resigning from his position, citing an ultimatum from Lake’s team, which is threatening to release more audio of private conversations.
In a statement released Wednesday, DeWit essentially confirmed the authenticity of the audio, although he called it “selectively edited.” Throughout the lengthy statement, he expressed more outrage toward Lake — who he said was employed by his private company — for recording their private conversation than for what was actually said, and he claimed that his discussion was “transparent” and “intended to offer perspective, not coercion.”
However, throughout the audio recording, DeWit made it abundantly clear that the conversation “never happened,” which seemingly debunks his claims of transparency.
DeWit did not address the details of the recording, including the implied bribes and his own suggestion that something very bad could happen to him if he exposed these “powerful people.”
While DeWit said he intended to fight for his position, he said he received an ultimatum from Lake’s team to resign or face the release of a “new, more damaging recording.”
“I am truly unsure of its contents, but considering our numerous past open conversations as friends, I have decided not to take the risk,” he said, ultimately resigning “as Lake requested in the hope that she will honor her commitment to cease her attacks, allowing me to return to the business sector — a field I find much more logical and prefer over politics.” He also added that he still supports former President Donald Trump.
Further, DeWit claimed that while he said things he regretted in the audio, he believes he was “set up,” accusing Lake of orchestrating the “entire situation to have control over the state party.” He failed to explain, exactly, how Lake set him up, supposedly tricking him into relaying these alleged offers from “powerful people” who do not want Lake to run for Senate.
He added that he believes it is “obvious from the recording that she crafted her performance responses with the knowledge that she was recording it, intending to use this recording later to portray herself as a hero in her own story”:
The audio in question features a private conversation between DeWit and Lake, in which DeWit essentially asks Lake what it would take to have her at least “pause” her political ambitions.
The audio begins with Lake stating, “They’re gonna have — try to have me murdered.” DeWit responds by mentioning news about the cartel operating in 50 states.
The conversation continues as DeWit explains that “powerful people” do not want Lake to run, which seems to rub Lake the wrong way, as she points out that they do not like her because they do not own or control her. DeWit, seemingly playing the devil’s advocate, spins the narrative and asserts that it is not about “control” but “being on a team.”
“They want you to be on their team,” he said, to which Lake responds, “But if they’re pushing a globalist agenda, I can’t do that. So what do they want? What do they want me to do?”
DeWit — referring to “very powerful people who want to keep you out” somewhere “back east” — said they are “willing to put their money where their mouth is in a big way,” essentially implying a bribe.
Lake responded by pointing out that this effort from these “powerful people” is really about defeating Trump, which she said is “bad” for the country.
DeWit continued to pitch the request from these nameless, faceless individuals, stating that Lake “can’t scratch their back,” and that is how the D.C. swamp works. Essentially, he asked for her price to halt her political plans.
“They’re gonna have to fucking kill me to stop me,” she said. “Either they come around and try to work with me –” she continued before getting cut off.
“I’m not going to let these people back in D.C. tell me not to run. I’m not going to pause for two years. The battle is now. I’m offended by whoever these people are that they’re trying to buy me out,” she said, as DeWit told her she should be “honored,” as “very few people get this” treatment.
“Is there a number of which –” DeWit began, prompting Lake to finish his thought.
“I can be bought?” she asked.
“Well, it’s about you take a pause,” he said.
“No. No. $10 million, $20 million, 30, no no no. A billion — no. This is not about money. This is about our country. I think it’s disturbing,” she said.
“I am not going to let these people who hate our country tell me not to run. You should call them and tell them to get behind me. I can win, and they should get behind me,” Lake continued, describing these “powerful people” as “unAmerican” and “unethical.”
“Just it’s very powerful people that are willing to — they really want someone different,” DeWit pressed.
“I think you should go public with this,” Lake said, urging DeWit to show the world the corruption that goes on behind the scenes. DeWit immediately said “No, no, no, no,” before essentially suggesting that he would be killed if he did so: “Then I turn the key in my car” he said, making an explosion sound.
“Tell them I’m not flattered. … I’m offended that they don’t care about our country more. They don’t care about our country,” she said.
According to the audio, DeWit made it clear that the conversation “never happened” before asking one more time for a counteroffer from Lake.
“I can’t. I can’t be bought,” she said. “I can’t.”
Notably, Lake discussed the attempted bribe — without details — during a July appearance on Sirius XM’s Breitbart News Fourth of July Special.
“Originally, I was going to name the book, I was going to title it Unafraid, and then I had a pretty high profile person come to my door and offer me money to put my movement on hold and my political career on hold — offered me a cushy job, nice paycheck, position on a board, and I said, ‘Are you kidding me? I left a cushy job…I’m not motivated by money,’” Lake said.
“And then the conversation turned, ‘Well, what would it take for you to not run for office again, at least until after 2024?’ And I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, this is the kind of stuff of movies.’ If these people, the political elite, want me out of politics so badly that they’re willing to bribe me, that tells me I need to stay in. So that’s when I decided to add the subtitle Just Getting Started just to give them a little bit of a fear because I’m just getting started,” she added.