In a story that you have to hear to believe, bombshell audio leaked this week suggests the head of the GOP in Arizona attempted to talk a candidate out of running for office by offering jobs, money, and more.
On Thursday’s show, Lake joined Megyn to discuss the circumstances surrounding the conversation and attempted bribe and why it is coming to light now.
A veteran broadcaster in Arizona, Lake traded journalism for politics in 2022 when she ran for governor of the Grand Canyon State. She earned the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, but she lost the race to Democratic challenger Katie Hobbs.
Lake has remained a voice in GOP politics and vocal supporter of Trump since, and she formally announced her bid for U.S. Senate last fall. She is running for the Republican nomination to unseat incumbent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema.
The conversation between DeWit and Lake allegedly happened in March 2023 at her home. She was mulling a run for Senate at the time, and , in the 11 minutes of audio, DeWit tells Lake that “there are very powerful people who want to keep you out” of the race.
After asking Lake to keep their chat private, he made her an offer. “So the ask I got today from back east was: ‘Is there any companies out there or something that could just put her on the payroll to keep her out,’” he said. Lake rebuffed him. “This is about defeating Trump and I think that’s a bad, bad thing for our country,” she responded.
But DeWit was persistent. “Just say, is there a number at which–” he started. Lake immediately cut in. “I can be bought? That’s what it’s about,” she asked. He then suggested she might consider running another time. “You can take a pause for a couple of years,” he said. “You can go right back to what you’re doing.”
Lake told DeWit there was no amount of money that would change her mind. “This is not about money, it’s about our country,” she said. “I don’t want to make a deal with these kinds of people. This is a hill worth dying on… If they’re gonna steal the election to make me and our movement go away. I’m not letting them do that… I owe it to the people of Arizona to carry their torch and voice.”
Lake has maintained that she does not know who the people “from back east” are, but she wouldn’t be surprised if they were from the “swampy” in Washington, D.C. “I think it truly is about getting somebody in there that they control,” she told Megyn. “I’m not joining the back-scratching club, I’m going to start up the ass-kicking club. That’s what Washington, D.C. needs.”
Less than 24 hours after the Daily Mail report was published, the Arizona Republican Party announced DeWit had stepped down. He released a two-page resignation letter in which he alleged the recording was “not only taken out of context but also undermines the integrity of private discussions critical for party leadership.”
He claimed that he was “set up” by Lake, who he said was an employee of his private company at the time. “I believe she orchestrated this entire situation to have control over the state party, and 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,” he wrote.
Lake told Megyn that the audio was not selectively edited as DeWit suggested but rather she “just took the bribe part” to release. She shared that the conversation happened after DeWit called her and asked if he could come over to her house. She said that she told him she was busy finishing edits to her book and preparing to travel to CPAC, but he insisted he needed to talk to her in person.
“I said, ‘Okay, you can come over right now,'” Lake recalled. “And I put a microphone on, and I thought, ‘This could be a threat.’ I don’t know what he’s about to say, but he gave me great concern. You ever get just, like, a feeling in your stomach where you just go, ‘Something’s not right here.’ And I’m sure glad I did.”
DeWit claimed that he resigned because Lake’s campaign threatened to release additional tapes. She denied the allegation. “He’s saying that we threatened him with that threat – there’s never that threat made at all,” she said. “He’s concerned because he’s been taped before… He’s saying ‘I’m resigning’ because there’s worse stuff out there.”
When Megyn pressed Lake on if she has any more audio of DeWit, Lake clarified that she does not. “I don’t have any other recordings; I’ve never taped any other recordings with Jeff at all,” she noted. “The only reason I taped this is because it sounded highly suspect when he said… ‘I have to talk to you in person because what I have to say cannot be said over the phone’… A huge red flag comes up when you hear that.”
While some have questioned the timing of the leak, Lake said she has been talking about this conversation for months. “When it happened, it was so surreal… I got on the plane later on and I was thinking about what I wanted to talk about at CPAC,” she shared. “Many times during this conversation he said, ‘This conversation never happened. Don’t talk about it. Don’t say anything about it.’ I said, ‘I have to say something about this.’ So, I changed my speech the next day at CPAC and I brought this up immediately.”
She blamed the “mainstream media” for never following up. “I’ve been talking about this conversation for 11 full months,” she said. “I didn’t name who it was that came to my home, but I – in very, very good and sharp detail – described what happened and the mainstream media never once contacted me.”
Lake said she has alluded to the story “too many times to count” in speeches over the course of the last year, but she only recently decided to relisten to the recording. “Just this week, I don’t know why, I just said, ‘I never listened to that back. I wonder what that conversation sounded like,’” she said.
As she explained, she listened to it with her husband and daughter at the dinner table and their “jaws dropped” at what they heard. “It was so much worse than I even remembered it, and my daughter said, ‘Mom… you have to do something about that,’” Lake said. “I slept on it for a couple of days and just kept getting that kind of nagging feeling in my stomach. I felt that it needed to get out.”
Ultimately, Lake questioned how many other potential candidates have been approached in this way. “You wonder how many other people get this offer. You wonder what good people don’t get into politics because… they get a meeting like this and they decide to step back out,” she concluded. “It’s disturbing.”
You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Lake by tuning in to episode 710 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.