Sen. Mike Lee volunteered to speak with the Jan. 6 committee about text messages he sent to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows following the 2020 election.
During an interview with Fox News Sunday, Lee was asked about the text messages with Meadows that seem to show he was a participant in the effort to keep Donald Trump in the White House despite his loss to President Joe Biden.
“There was some uncertainty in the wake of the election,” Lee said. “As we approached the end of December, there were rumors that continued to circulate suggesting that some states were going to be reallocating — withdrawing and reallocating their electoral votes.”
Lee has repeatedly claimed he was investigating the rumors that legislators in several battleground states won by Joe Biden may appoint electors for Donald Trump. Those alternate electors were vital to a scheme cooked up by conservative lawyer John Eastman to stop or delay the certification of Biden’s win.
“I couldn’t get answers. So I reached out to state lawmakers in various states — not trying to influence anyone, simply trying to find out whether the rumors were true,” Lee said. “The rumors weren’t true.”
Lee’s account of his postelection efforts is not supported by his leaked text messages. Instead, they suggest he was a participant in the alternate elector plot.
On Dec. 8, Lee texted Meadows, “If a very small handful of states were to have their legislatures appoint alternative slates of delegates, there could be a path.”
On Jan. 3, Lee texted, “All of this could change if the states in question certified Trump electors pursuant to state law. But in the absence of that, this effort is destined not only to fail, but to hurt DJT in the process.”
Later that same day, Lee texted, “I know only that this will end badly for the president unless we have the Constitution on our side. And unless these states submit new slates of Trump electors pursuant to state law, we do not.”
In another Jan. 3 message, Lee said to Meadows, “We simply have no authority to reject a state’s certified electoral votes in the absence of a dueling slates (sic), with the Trump slate coming from a state legislative determination.”
The next day, Lee complained to Meadows he had been working “14 hours a day for the last week” on the alternate elector effort.
“I’ve been calling state legislators for hours today and am going to spend hours doing the same tomorrow. I’m trying to figure out a path that I can persuasively defend...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’s message said.
Last week, the Jan. 6 committee released videotaped testimony from White House officials. They said Eastman knew the effort to overturn the election results was illegal but pushed ahead anyway. Eastman later asked for a pardon.
Ultimately, Lee voted to confirm Biden’s Electoral College win.
Lee told Fox host Shannon Bream he would be willing to speak to Jan. 6 investigators.
“Oh, sure. I’d always be willing to talk if they want to talk,” Lee said.
Earlier this month, Lee gave a tacit endorsement to the film “2000 Mules” from conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza that makes dubious claims about election fraud in 2020. Lee said the film, which has been thoroughly debunked, raises “significant questions about what might have happened in that election.”
Former Attorney General William Barr discredited the film as “indefensible” during testimony before the Jan. 6 committee.