Sen. Mike Lee Was Full Of Crap On January 6. And He's Full Of Crap Today.
Last week, someone leaked texts between Utah Senator Mike Lee and then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to CNN. Since those are the same texts which Meadows handed over to the House January 6 Select Committee before he decided to flip them off and get himself referred to the DOJ for contempt of Congress, the universe of leakers is pretty small. But whoever it is appears to have ruined Lee's weekend by letting his constituents know what he was doing, ostensibly on their behalf.
“I’m trusting that Utahns can see through his nonsense,” he told the Deseret News yesterday in his first public comment about the texts. “I know what happened. I know what my thoughts and intents were in doing this.”
Which is just precious coming from a guy complaining about the "political motives" of the parties who ensured that voters were able to see the things he actually said. Apparently the messages lack vital context, and that context is that Lee and Meadows go way back. So when Lee says "Please tell me what I should be saying," Meadows knows that he's just asking general questions about the White House's message.
"He knows me well enough to know that that doesn’t mean I will do your bidding, whatever it is,” Lee assured the hometown paper.
Of course, Lee also told the reporters that, "We know that [Biden] is the president of the United States because the Electoral College met on December 14 and then cast electoral votes. Those electoral votes signaled the victory for President Biden" and pinky promised that he'd always advised Trump that December 14 was the hard cutoff date to contest the election. But on December 16, he was still at it, texting Meadows, "Also, if you want senators to object, we need to hear from you on that ideally getting some guidance on what arguments to raise."
In point of fact, Lee appears to have been less than candid about his efforts to interfere in the election for some time now. For instance, Rachel Maddow points out that Lee told reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa that he first learned of coup-curious Trump lawyer John Eastman's plot for Mike Pence to reject swing state electors on January 2.
Here's how the Post described his supposed reaction to receiving the memo just days before the certification:
The authors suggest the senator, a former law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., was surprised this theory had been circulated by Eastman, a professor at the Chapman University School of Law and former law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas. Document in hand, and bewildered that theories about dueling electors were still coming from Trump’s legal team, Lee made “phone call after phone call” to officials in some of the relevant states, such as Georgia, Pennsylvania and Arizona, he told constituents in a Jan. 27 online town hall, appearing to refer to the Eastman memo without naming its author. A spokesman for Lee did not respond to a request for comment.
Except that on November 23, he texted Meadows that "John Eastman has some really interesting research on this. The good news is that Eastman is proposing an approach that unlike what Sidney Powell has proposed could be examined very quickly."
And on December 8, he added that "If a very small handful of states were to have their legislatures appoint alternative slates of delegates, there could be a path." So clearly he was aware of Eastman's plan to have Pence point to the cosplay electors as a reason to reject the electoral slate chosen by the voters.
"I am working on that as of yesterday," he added. Which doesn't exactly jibe with his statement to the Deseret News that “At no point in any of those was I engaging in advocacy. I wasn’t in any way encouraging them to do that. I just asked them a yes or no question."
And he was still at it on January 4, telling Meadows that he'd "been spending 14 hours a day for the last week trying to unravel this" and whining that "I've been calling state legislators for hours today, and am going to spend hours doing the same tomorrow."
Or as Lee put it yesterday, “You research, read, talk it through with your colleagues, you follow the Constitution. This one proved to be a lot more trickier than most because it involved an ever-changing plate of facts. That made it more difficult than it should have been.”
Were the facts "ever-changing"? Because it seems to us that the facts were always exactly as they seemed from the beginning. Trump lost, filed a gazillion lawsuits, and made a whole bunch of facially ridiculous claims, none of which were ever remotely plausible. And not for nothing, but Mike Lee spent hours in the company of Sidney "Kraken" Powell, even inviting her to "socialize with Republican senators the fact that POTUS needs to pursue his legal remedies," and only grokked that she was many tacos short of a combination platter after that disastrous presser at the RNC where she said dead Hugo Chavez and China rigged the vote for Biden. Which hardly speaks for the senator's good judgment and ability to distinguish "facts" from fairy farts.
And you know who else is deeply unimpressed with Mike Lee's "Who me?" act? The cops that protected his sorry ass at the Capitol on January 6. In May of 2021, a group of them met with Lee and Senator Lindsey Graham to request their cooperation with a congressional inquiry into the Riot. The senators said they couldn't possibly back a "partisan" inquiry, too bad, so sad.
Rolling Stone interviewed the officers in light of Lee's recent comments. Turns out they were unimpressed.
Former DC police officer Mike Fanone, who was beaten during the assault on the Capitol, says Lee "lied to my face," adding that “Mike Lee is not a politician. He’s a criminal suspect.”
Sandra Garza, girlfriend of Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who died the day after the attack, was similarly furious about Lee's failure to back an investigation: “They knew that it was going to open up a lot of stuff that would look bad for them because they were doing stuff behind the scenes.”
“I feel like it’s a little disingenuous to entertain a meeting (of people lobbying for a commission) when some individuals already knew how deep the scandal went,” Officer Harry Dunn agreed.
“What we’re dealing with right now is unprecedented in American history,” Fanone told Rolling Stone. “I think that we need to set aside all of the pomp and circumstance and actually just enforce the fucking law.”
A-freakin'-men to that.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.