NATIONAL NEWS

Texts show Utah Sen. Lee’s early work to overturn election

Apr 16, 2022, 10:19 AM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 3:35 pm
FILE: Sen. Mike Lee (Photo by Ken Cedeno-Pool/Getty Images)...
FILE: Sen. Mike Lee (Photo by Ken Cedeno-Pool/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ken Cedeno-Pool/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah Sen. Mike Lee worked on early efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, helping push legally dubious schemes to keep then-President Donald Trump in power, before he shifted course and quickly backed away.

His efforts, revealed in text messages obtained by the House panel investigating the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, drew quick condemnation Friday from his reelection challengers.

Text messages between the Republican senator and then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows detail how Lee encouraged top Trump advisers to embrace Sidney Powell, a Republican lawyer who later spread wild and baseless claims of a rigged election.

The messages from Lee to Meadows — and messages from Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy to Meadows — were reported on and published Friday by CNN.

They show Lee’s efforts to assist Trump began Nov. 7 and included early support for Powell. Later, Lee explored a plan to encourage state legislatures to alter the outcome of the 2020 election by appointing alternate electors.

At one point, Lee said he was working “14 hour days” assisting Trump. At another he asked Meadows, “Please tell me what I should be saying.”

By mid-November, however, the messages show Lee beginning to lose confidence in Powell and, eventually, the alternate electors plan. He also questioned efforts to object to the vote certification after no evidence of widespread fraud emerged.

“I only know that this will end badly for the President unless we have the Constitution on our side,” Lee wrote to Meadows.

He and Roy did not join congressional Republicans who objected to the results when they were certified in January.

Still, Lee’s Republican primary opponent Becky Edwards, a former state lawmaker, said the messages show Lee “researched overturning a lawful, democratic election for partisan and political gain … he allowed the situation to continue and enabled those seeking to keep themselves in power, no matter the consequences.”

Ally Isom, a former gubernatorial deputy chief of staff who is also challenging Lee, said the messages show he is “more concerned with playing DC games” than with representing people in Utah. “I am a classic conservative,” she said in a statement.

Independent Evan McMullin, a former presidential candidate, also criticized Lee on Twitter.

Lee’s spokesman, for his part, said the senator did follow the Constitution and the messages “tell the same story Sen. Lee told from the floor of the Senate the day he voted to certify the election results.”

Lee’s messages are the latest example of high-profile Republicans pushing Meadows to challenge the election results.

Last month, The Washington Post and CBS reported that Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, also texted Meadows repeatedly imploring him to act to overturn the 2020 election. Her involvement in the efforts have raised concerns about her husband’s potential involvement in any cases involving the election or the Jan. 6 insurrection.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

President Joe Biden presents Elton John with the National Humanities Medal after a concert on the S...
Shawna Mizelle and Sam Fossum, CNN

Biden surprises Elton John with National Humanities Medal at White House

President Joe Biden on Friday presented Sir Elton John with the National Humanities Medal, surprising the music icon following a performance on the South Lawn of the White House.
17 hours ago
John Cena has completed a new accomplishment: breaking the world record for most wishes granted thr...
Zoe Sottile, CNN

John Cena breaks Make-A-Wish record after granting 650 wishes

Actor, wrestling legend, and perpetual meme subject John Cena has completed a new accomplishment: breaking the world record for most wishes granted through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
17 hours ago
Americans Alexander John-Robert Drueke, right, and Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh, left, are pictured here aft...
Kylie Atwood, CNN

2 Americans captured by Russian-backed forces are back on US soil

Two Americans who had been held by Russian-backed forces for more than three months were back on US soil Friday afternoon.
17 hours ago
Post-tropical storm Fiona in Irish Cova, Nova Scotia on Cape Breton Island in Canada Sept. 24, 2022...
ROB GILLIES Associated Press

Fiona washes houses away, knocks out power in Canada

Strong rain and winds are lashing the Atlantic Canada region as Fiona hits as a powerful post-tropical cyclone. Canadian forecasters are warning it could be one of the most severe storms in the country's history. Fiona made landfall in Nova Scotia before dawn Saturday after transforming from a hurricane into a post-tropical cyclone. Forecasters caution that despite the change, Fiona still has hurricane-strength winds and will bring drenching rains and huge waves. More than 500,000 customers in Atlantic Canada are affected by outages. Ocean waves pounded the town of Channel-Port Aux Basques on the southern coast of Newfoundland, where entire structures were washed into the sea.
17 hours ago
An illustration shows NASA's DART spacecraft and the Italian Space Agency's LICIACube prior to impa...
Ashley Strickland, CNN

What will be visible when DART spacecraft crashes into tiny asteroid

The NASA Double Asteroid Redirection Test aims to make history on Monday at 7:14 p.m. ET when it slams into Dimorphos, a tiny asteroid moon orbiting the larger asteroid Didymos.
2 days ago
NASA’s Artemis I rocket sits on launch pad 39-B at Kennedy Space Center as it is prepared for an ...
MARCIA DUNN, AP Aerospace Writer

Approaching storm may delay launch try for NASA moon rocket

NASA's new moon rocket could face more launch delays, this time by tropical weather.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Types of Computer Malware and Examples...
PC Laptops

5 Nasty Types of Computer Malware and Examples | Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Computer and Family Safe

Here are the different types of computer malware and examples that could potentially infect your computer.
tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
Texts show Utah Sen. Lee’s early work to overturn election