Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee says that the text messages he exchanged with then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, in which they discussed strategy for overturning the 2020 election results, don’t really mean that he wanted to overturn the election results.
In his first interview since CNN last week revealed dozens of his texts with Meadows, the Utah Republican told Deseret News in an interview on Wednesday that was simply trying figure out if Congress could exert any legal authority over the presidential election. He also denied that he was Donald Trump's lapdog.
Lee told the newspaper that the string of texts between Nov. 7, 2020, and Jan. 4, 2021, were written with "a level of informality that would be reserved for a friend."
“He knows that when I said things like, ‘Tell me what we ought to be saying,’ what I was just trying to figure out was, ‘What is your message?’ He knows me well enough to know that that doesn’t mean I will do your bidding, whatever it is,” Lee said in a 45-minute phone interview. “Conversations I had with him at the time on the phone and in person, he knew that. He knew I was not there to do his bidding,” Lee said of his conversations with Meadows.
Lee asserted that the release of his texts to Meadows was done for “political motives” and were “leaked” to hurt his re-election campaign.
Even today, though, Lee refuses to directly answer the question when asked if President Joe Biden is the rightly elected president. Lee said: “President Biden is the president of the United States. ... We know that he is the president of the United States because the Electoral College met on Dec. 14 and then cast electoral votes. Those electoral votes signaled the victory for President Biden.”
Asked if there was fraud in the 2020 election, Lee demurred, saying, “I’ve answered your question.”