Utah Sen. Mike Lee got on board with the “Big Lie” that false claims of election fraud may have cost Donald Trump the 2020 election. Lee also gave a tacit endorsement to the movie “2000 Mules,” a conspiracy-fueled film by conservative pundit Dinesh D’Souza.
Lee was a guest on C-SPAN to discuss his new book about the Supreme Court, “Saving Nine,” when a caller to the program brought up the conspiracy theory about election fraud. The caller said President Joe Biden had stolen the election and that people should see “2000 Mules” because it included proof of election fraud.
“People need to see it. He (Biden) stole the election, and he’s the illegitimate president. It’s too bad they can’t go in and get him out of that White House,” the caller said.
At first, Lee did not address the election conspiracy portion of the question and discussed his views on the national baby formula shortage. Host John McArdle followed up by asking Lee if he agreed with the assessment that Biden is an illegitimate president.
“President Biden is the president of the United States. He was elected. I was there when the electoral votes were opened and counted,” Lee said.
After that caveat, Lee dove in on the election fraud issue.
“I did see the movie ‘2000 mules,’ and that movie does raise significant questions about what might have happened in that election. I think those are questions that need to be answered, and I would love to get the president’s response to it and an explanation for why certain things happened,” Lee said.
“2000 Mules” purports to uncover a grand conspiracy about nonprofit groups paying people to collect and submit ballots, known as ‘ballot trafficking,’ in the 2020 election. The film claims the scheme was widespread enough to rig the election for Biden, a Democrat. The film uses cellphone geolocation data to track these supposed “mules” as they deposited ballots in drop boxes.
The film has been thoroughly debunked. The movie relies on a flawed analysis of that cellphone data and makes several leaps of logic to cast doubt on the election results, reported The Associated Press. Writer and director D’Souza has claimed the geolocation data is accurate enough that it helped solve a murder, which is untrue, NPR reported. The film suggests surveillance videos of people depositing ballots in drop boxes are evidence of fraud, which is also not necessarily true, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
As Lee wrapped up his answer, he attempted to play both sides of the argument, acknowledging Biden won the Electoral College vote while winking at election fraud conspiracies.
“It’s important to point out there’s a difference between the possibility that some cheating may have occurred and whether or not he’s the legitimate president. The president of the United States is chosen by the Electoral College. The opening and the counting of the Electoral College votes resulted in a clear victory for Joe Biden. But that doesn’t mean that things didn’t happen along the way,” Lee said.
Lee’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
The claim of a fraudulent election has been central to former President Donald Trump’s post-election narrative since his lost to Biden in 2020. Those claims directly led to a mob of Trump’s supporters swarming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, to stop the certification of Biden’s win.
Leaked text messages suggest Lee was a participant in the effort to overturn Trump’s election loss in 2020, possibly playing a role in the scheme to persuade legislators in battleground states won by Biden to send alternate slates of electors for Trump to Congress.