WATCH: Sen. Lee Fires Back at House Dems Over Inaccurate Reporting

|
 @eb454
|
Posted: Feb 10, 2021 11:10 PM
WATCH: Sen. Lee Fires Back at House Dems Over Inaccurate Reporting

Source: AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) on Wednesday objected to House impeachment managers invoking an anecdote about a phone call he allegedly had with President Donald Trump. According to Lee, the description is "not accurate" because the phone call was between Trump and Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), which is why Lee moved to strike it from the record.

"Statements were attributed to me moments ago by the House impeachment managers. Statements relating to the content of conversations between a phone call involving President Trump and Sen. Tuberville were not made by me. They're not accurate, and they're contrary to fact. I move pursuant to Rule 16 that they be stricken from the record," Lee said.

Senate President Pro Tempore Patrick Leahy (D-VT) originally objected, saying impeachment managers have the right to bring up evidence outside of the actual riots. Lee reiterated that he was objecting to what was said, not that evidence could be presented.

"My point was not about whether it was appropriate for them to make characterizations. My point was to strike them because they are false," Lee explained. "... Statements were attributed to me repeatedly, as to which I have personal knowledge because I am the source. They are not true. I never made those statements. I ask that they be striken. This has nothing to do with whether or not they're based on depositions, which they're not. It's based simply on the fact that I'm the witness. I'm the only witness. Those statements are not true and I ask that you strike them."

Eventually the lead impeachment manager, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), agreed to withdraw the statement "on the basis that it is not true." 

"We are going to withdraw it this evening and without the prejudice of the ability to resubmit it, if possible, and we can debate it if need be but this is much ado about nothing because it’s not critical in any way to our case," Raskin said. 

"You're not the one being cited as a witness, sir," Lee yelled back.

Bryan Schott, a reporter from The Salt Lake Tribune, recounted his conversation with Sen. Lee about the phone call in question later that evening:

Here, unedited, is what Lee told me via text message that evening.

Moments after the proceedings in the Senate were halted by the Capitol Police, my phone rang. The caller ID indicated that the call was coming from the White House. I thought it was Robert O’Brien, the president’s national security advisor, calling to update me on a question I had asked him about a security threat from Iran.

To my great surprise, it was not Robert O’Brien, but President Trump on the other end of the line. My heart started to beat a little faster, as I was convinced he could only be calling to argue with me about my reading of the Twelfth Amendment and Article II, Section 1.

There was a lot of noise and commotion in the room, but I thought I heard him say “How’s it going, Tommy?”

I said, “Mr. President, this is Mike Lee.”

“No,” he insisted, “I dialed Tommy’s number.”

“Mr. President, are you calling for Tommy Tuberville (my new colleague from Alabama)?”

“Yes.”

Anxious to hand the phone to someone else (and not have to argue with the president about matters at hand), I asked if he’d like me to find Senator Tuberville.

He said, “Yeah sure, that’d be great.”

I went and found Senator Tuberville, handed him my phone, and explained that the president would like to speak to him. I stood nearby for the next five or ten minutes as they spoke, not wanting to lose my phone in the middle of a crisis.

Then the Capitol Police became very nervous and ordered us to evacuate the chamber immediately. As they were forcing everyone out of the chamber, I awkwardly found myself interrupting the same telephone conversation I had just facilitated.

“Excuse me, Tommy, we have to evacuate. Can I have my phone?”

Senator Tuberville promptly ended the call and returned my phone to its rightful owner.

From the beginning, Sen. Lee has been outspoken about certifying the election results. He made clear before Jan. 6 that he did not agree with the constitutionality behind objecting to a state's certification.