Romney: ‘From what I’ve seen, I don’t think Sen. Lee has done anything illegal’

Mike Lee appeared with Mitt Romney and Rep. Blake Moore at an event in Ogden on Wednesday.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Senators Mike Lee and Mitt Romney at the ribbon cutting ceremony for Thermo Fisher Scientific's Ogden facility on Wednesday, April 20, 2022.

Ogden • On Wednesday in Ogden, Sen. Mike Lee again refused to answer questions from reporters about text messages showing his efforts to assist former President Donald Trump’s efforts to undo his loss to Democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 election.

Lee, Sen. Mitt Romney and Rep. Blake Moore attended a ribbon-cutting at Thermo Fisher Scientific.

Members of Utah’s congressional delegation are back in the Beehive State to attend Saturday’s Republican State Nominating Convention, where delegates will determine future candidates for the party.

Romney said Wednesday it was a mistake to try and overturn the election on the part of Trump.

“From what I’ve seen so far, I don’t think Sen. Lee has done anything illegal. Anything else is for him to respond to,” Romney said.

On Tuesday evening, Lee’s staffers blocked a reporter from The Salt Lake Tribune from asking similar questions of him at an event in Kamas.

Lee twice brushed past reporters who attempted to ask him about the contradiction between Lee’s public statements and his behind-the-scenes maneuvering. Lee publicly said that Joe Biden had won the 2020 election and that he did not go along with the effort to stop the certification of results from battleground states won by Biden. Lee also voted to certify the results on Jan. 6, 2021.

Text messages between Lee and then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows paint a different picture. In the texts, Lee pleaded with Meadows for talking points and direction following Trump’s loss and promoted lawyers Sidney Powell and John Eastman who were searching for legal justification to undo Biden’s win.

Lee’s office issued a statement saying he refused to go along with the decertification vote on Jan. 6.

“From the moment the Electoral College cast its votes in mid-December, he [Lee] made it clear that Joe Biden had won and would within weeks become the 46th President of the United States absent a court order or state legislative action invalidating electoral votes,” Lee Lonsberry, Lee’s communications director, wrote.

The text messages show Lee was frantically calling state legislators in the days leading up to the Jan. 6 electoral vote count. His office says that was part of a thorough investigation to see if any states were going to put forward alternate slates of electors, which was a key element in the plan to challenge the vote and possibly keep Trump in office.

The text messages show just two days before the electoral vote certification, Lee was trying to find a way to legitimize overturning the vote.

“We need something from state legislatures to make this legitimate and to have any hope of winning. Even if they can’t convene, it might be enough if a majority of them are willing to sign a statement indicating how they would vote,” Lee wrote.

Lee hosts a campaign event with Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst on Thursday night ahead of Saturday’s Republican State Convention.