GOP's Mike Lee pushed hard to connect Trump to Sidney Powell — and then she started talking
Sidney Powell with Rudy Giuliani at elections press conference (Photo: Screen capture)

Newly revealed text messages show Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) were deeply involved in Donald Trump's efforts to challenge his election loss, until they got cold feet, and helped push attorney Sidney Powell into the president's orbit.

Lee lobbied then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to grant Powell access to the former president over a few days in mid-November 2020, starting the day that Joe Biden was projected as the election winner, reported CNN.

"Sydney Powell is saying that she needs to get in to see the president, but she's being kept away from him," Lee texted to Meadows on Nov. 7, 2020. "Apparently she has a strategy to keep things alive and put several states back in play. Can you help get her in?"

The Utah Republican passed along Powell's cell phone number and email address, and two days later followed up and praised the right-wing attorney as a "straight shooter."

However, that same day Roy expressed concerns about Trump's claims of fraud, saying the former president was close to crossing the line.

"We must urge the President to tone down the rhetoric," Roy texted Meadows on Nov. 9, "and approach the legal challenge firmly, intelligently and effectively without resorting to throwing wild desperate haymakers or whipping his base into a conspiracy frenzy."

By Nov. 19, 2020, the day of Powell's infamous news conference with Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis making wild claims of election influence by Venezuela and billionaire George Soros, the two lawmakers expressed concerns about the operation -- and the possibility of legal risk for the president.

"Hey brother - we need substance or people are going to break," Roy texted Meadows a few hours after the widely mocked news conference.

Lee agreed, telling Meadows two hours later that he was "worried" about what he had just witnessed, "Unless Powell can back up everything she said, which I kind of doubt she can."

Meadows agreed, saying he was "very concerned," and both Lee and Roy moved away from Powell's efforts and started promoting right-wing attorney John Eastman, who then authored a memo laying out a plan to disrupt the Jan. 6, 2021, congressional certification of the election that a judge recently described as a "coup" attempt.

"Have you talked to John Eastman?" Roy texted on Nov. 22, 2021. "Get Eastman to file in front of [Pennsylvania] board of elections ... Get data in front of public domain ... Frigging Rudy needs to hush."