POLITICS

Reaction to text messages from Sen. Lee to the Trump administration about 2020 election

Apr 15, 2022, 1:18 PM | Updated: 4:05 pm
FILE: Photo of Sen. Mike Lee. Photo credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP Photo

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The office of Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, has responded to a request for comment on a series of text messages released by the House Select Committee.

These text messages show conversations between Sen. Lee and former President Donald Trump’s Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows. The topic of the texts was the result of the 2020 election.

When reached for comment, a spokesman for Lee said the senator’s texts were in line with his certification of the election results. 

“The text messages tell the same story Sen. Lee told from the floor of the Senate the day he voted to certify the election results of each and every state in the nation,” said Lee’s communication director, Lee Lonsberry. “They tell the story of a U.S. Senator fulfilling his duty to Utah and the American people by following the Constitution.”

Sen. Lee’s text messages in context

Sen. Lee’s text messages were obtained by the House Select Committee and then reviewed and reported by CNN.

Lee reached out to Meadows on Nov. 7, 2020, saying he “wanted to offer words of encouragement to the President.”

“I want to offer words of encouragement to the president,” the text reads. “This doesn’t have to come down to a binary choice between (1) an immediate concession, and (2) a destruction of the credibility of the election process.”

Another message released to the Select Committee included a letter to President Trump. A text message shows Lee telling Meadows it could be leaked if it was helpful.

The senator asked Meadows twice for input about what he should be saying, although the context is not clear.

“Please give me something to work with. I just need to know what I should be saying,” read a text dated November 20, 2021. 

And then again on November 22, 2020: “Please tell me what I should be saying.”

Lee competitors, others, respond to texts 

Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Becky Edwards, who is running against Lee, responded to the release of the text messages. 

“Sen. Mike Lee researched overturning a lawful, democratic election for partisan and political gain,” Edwards said. “The moment Mike Lee realized the gravity of Trump’s attempts to undermine the 2020 election, he should have stopped researching the legality of such actions and stopped pressuring local legislators.

“Lee has an obligation to protect and defend our Constitution and democratic process, as he swore to do when he took office,” Edwards said. “Instead, he allowed the situation to continue and enabled those seeking to keep themselves in power, no matter the consequences.”

In a tweet, Evan McMullin urged Sen. Lee to “come clean on his involvement” in what McMullin called a “scheme to overturn the election.”


McMullin, a Utahn and former CIA operations officer, ran against Mr. Trump as an Independent in the 2016 General Election. In Utah, he took third place behind Mr. Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

McMullin is running against Sen. Lee as an Independent in 2022. 

 

Alliance for Better Utah, self-described as a progressive non-profit, tweeted that “Lee must come clean on his involvement” to send “illegitimate electors” from several states.


 The Utah Democratic Party responded to Sen. Lee’s text messages by saying the senator put his party and Mr. Trump before the U.S. Constitution and Utahns.

 

Editoral note: This article has been edited to reflect that Evan McMullin ran against Donald Trump in the 2016 General Election and that a text message sent from Sen. Lee to Mark Meadows was dated Nov. 22, 2020. We regret the previous errors.

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Reaction to text messages from Sen. Lee to the Trump administration about 2020 election