The big disconnect between Mike Lee’s words and his actions

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When the dust began to settle on the Capitol riot, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) spoke in the Senate. Unlike some of his GOP colleagues, he reiterated that he saw no role for Congress to question the Electoral College results.

“Our job is to open then count – open then count,” Lee said on Jan. 6, 2021. “That’s it.”

Lee noted that there were instances in which Congress might be called upon to decide things — particularly, when states submitted multiple voter lists for competing candidates — but on that day, they weren’t. not face such a situation. And for that, he added, he was quite happy.

“It doesn’t happen very often. It happened in 1960. It happened in 1876. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen again,” Lee said, in comments. reported Friday by Allahpundit.

He repeated, “That didn’t happen here, thank God, and let’s hope it never does.”

In fact, as we’ve now found out, Lee simply begged for the situation which he later thanked heaven hadn’t materialized. And it reinforces how Donald Trump’s crazy ideas are being whitewashed and legitimized in today’s Republican Party.

CNN on Friday revealed texts between Lee and Mark Meadows, then White House chief of staff, between Election Day 2020 and Jan. 6. These texts show that Lee expresses considerable interest in obtaining Something that would allow him to toe Trump’s line on the potential cancellation of the election. In the end, he indicated that he could accept it even if something was not what was needed.

“John Eastman has some really interesting research on this,” Lee told Meadows Nov. 23, after discussing potential audits of major swing states.

It’s unclear what research Lee was talking about, but it later emerged that Eastman was offering ways to void the election, including states submitting alternative voter lists — as well as even bolder ideas.

On Dec. 8, Lee texted Meadows, “If a very small handful of states were to have their legislatures appoint alternate lists of delegates, there might be a way.”

Lee clarified that this would need to be backed up with “a strong evidentiary argument,” but even though that never materialized, he continued to push for this course of action.

After some of his colleagues, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), said they would vote against certifying some states, Lee again said they needed states to submit alternative lists.

“Everything changes, of course, if swing states submit competing voter lists according to state law,” Lee said Jan. 3, adding, “Again, all of that could change if swing states question certified Trump voters in accordance with the rule of law.”

He then suggested that he might not necessarily need it by January 6.

“We need something from the state legislatures to make this legitimate and hope to win,” he said. “Even if they can’t meet, that might be enough if a majority of them are willing to sign a statement saying how they would vote.”

He added: “And I worked on it all day today.”

Just how unsavory Lee’s actions were, in the run-up to Jan. 6, is now the subject of significant debate. Post columnist James Downie claims that Lee “misled the country about his involvement in a plot to nullify a presidential election”, and that we shouldn’t overlook that just because he ultimately refused to follow the available path.

Lee has presented himself as rejecting Trump’s plot on principled and constitutional grounds. But here is evidence that Lee is privately trying to invoke what can be charitably described as a constitutional workaround – even though he admitted in the same texts that the malfeasance case was unconvincing – then expressing publicly his relief that this workaround had not happened.

Indeed, he suggested that something less than the actual competing listings might have been enough for him – even though it was clear the evidence just wasn’t there.

What transpires in Lee’s texts is a desire to be given justification toe the party line – something to “make it legit” – rather than a desire to win the real evidence needed to convince him. It’s not just about asking for talking points; he also says, two days before January 6, “I’m trying to find a path that I can convincingly defend.” It is not pushing for what is right. It’s pushing for something that protects you, that you can pass off as real.

The entire episode echoes what we’ve since learned about former Vice President Pence who, according to a book by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa of the Post last year, questioned whether to accept the 6 January of Trump and looked for ways to justify it. what Trump wanted. Former Vice President Dan Quayle finally told him, “Mike, you have no flexibility on this. Nothing. Zero. Forget. Tidy.”

As we wrote then, there is something to be said for due diligence – to wade through your options. And you’re more likely to look for ways to help your side. But these Republicans appeared to be seriously considering ways to legitimize the cancellation of a presidential election, in the absence of any real evidence to back up their bet.

The fact that even these two Republicans – who pride themselves on high constitutional conservatism – apparently somehow considered going to the “yes” vote tells you a lot about how Trump has hijacked the Party. Republican to make his offer. It may not always work, but they will try extremely hard to convince themselves.


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