‘The Rundown’: Why didn’t Mike Lee say something in January?

New book says Utah senator knew Trump’s team was attempting to subvert the Constitution to illegally keep him in power

"The Rundown" logo

Good Thursday morning Utah! Thanks for reading “The Rundown”.

👂 Send me a message. Your story ideas, news tips, feedback or thoughts about politics are always welcome. Send me an email or find me on Twitter @SchottHappens.

Get this newsletter delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. Sign up for free here.

Why didn’t Mike Lee say something in January?

(Ken Cedeno | Pool) Ranking committee member Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, listens as U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz R-Texas, asks questions to Steve Satterfield, Vice President of Privacy & Public Policy at Facebook, Inc., as he testifies before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights, Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021, in Washington.

Sen. Mike Lee didn’t try to help overthrow the 2020 election, but he certainly didn’t try to stop Donald Trump from doing it either.

As has been previously reported, the new book “Peril” by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa says Sen. Mike Lee looked into whether former Vice President Mike Pence could declare Donald Trump the winner of the 2020 election through an effort to throw out the results from several states.

That’s not the whole story.

A more detailed read of “Peril” shows Lee attempted to warn his Senate colleagues against efforts to not certify the Electoral College results on January 6. In the days before Christmas, Lee told White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and others that Congress does not have the power to reverse Trump’s loss.

“You need to realize that you’ve basically lost this unless something really extraordinary happens, something that would be itself eyebrow-raising and very troubling,” Lee said, referring to a scandal or other unlikely scenario.

When Lee was back in Utah for Christmas, the authors said he began hearing from many Utahns, including elected officials, who fervently believed the baseless claims pushed by the Trump campaign that the election was stolen. They wanted him to do something about it.

In early January, Lee was given a memo from Trump lawyer John Eastman spelling out a fantastical scenario where Pence could gavel Trump in as the 2020 winner. The authors say Lee knew the gambit “would be a deliberate warping of the Constitution.”

In the days leading up to the January 6 counting of the electoral votes, Lee’s cell phone rang at all hours with strangers urging him to “stop the steal,” the authors write. Lee made “dozens of phone calls” to see if any states were planning to send alternate slates of electors as envisioned in the Eastman memo, but it was nowhere close to reality.

The authors seemingly go out of their way to paint Lee as tortured by Trump’s attempts to subvert the election and stay in office illegally.

Lee’s part in “Peril” raises a troubling question. If Lee was so bothered by what Trump was doing, why are we only learning about it nine months later?

Here’s what you need to know for Thursday morning

💵 The Federal Reserve signaled interest rates are likely to rise by the end of 2022. [WSJ]

💉 The FDA approved the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine for booster shots for older and high-risk Americans. [WaPo]

🏛 Utah leaders are itching to block President Joe Biden’s vaccine plan. But, there’s not much they can do. [Tribune]

💵 Democrats in Congress are mulling raising the debt ceiling on a party-line vote after Republicans vow to vote against the move. [CNN]

  • President Biden isn’t panicking over the looming debt ceiling just yet. [Politico]

🚔 A bipartisan proposal on police reform legislation has fallen apart after Republicans rejected the final offer from Democrats. [CNN]

💧 A federal judge dismissed a significant part of the Ute Indian Tribe’s lawsuit over how the federal government handled tribal water rights. [Tribune]

😷 LDS Church leaders say masks must be worn in temples at all times. [Tribune]

👀 Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Bobert used campaign funds to pay for rent and utilities, a violation of federal law. [Denver Post]

Thursday morning’s Utah news roundup


  • What Utah police can do to reduce the times they shoot at minorities. [Tribune]

  • Jury awards $25M to former BYU star in trial against blinds maker over daughter’s death. [Tribune]

  • First of Utah’s Capitol riot suspects expected to plead guilty. [Fox 13]

  • Father seeking clues from community after daughter murdered outside of Moab. [Fox 13]

Salt Lake City

  • Salt Lake City paints crosswalk where children were struck on way to school. [Tribune]

  • Climate change hub would retrofit old salon for a greener Salt Lake. [Tribune]

  • How Salt Lake City plans to use $8M to combat the housing crisis. [Deseret News]


  • Utah National Guard to require COVID-19 vaccination for members. [Fox 13]

  • A Utah leader is pushing monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19. But doctor warns people shouldn’t count on it to save them. [Deseret News]


  • Drought exposes long-submerged remnants of Utah town. [Tribune]


  • Utah community has no running water or power and lawmakers are being urged to fix it. [Fox 13]

  • Are voter ID requirements racist? Utah Sen. Mike Lee doesn’t think so. [Deseret News]

In the opinion pages

  • Utah’s SITLA should take the long view on proposed Kanab golf course, Tribune Editorial Board writes. [Tribune]

— The Tribune’s Jordan Miller contributed to this report.