Sen. Mike Lee Says Texts With White House Leaked for 'Political Motive' Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah. (Erin Schaff/Getty Images)
By Jay Clemons | Thursday, 21 April 2022 02:20 PM
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, says the "leaked" text messages between him and then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows from 2020 and 2021, possibly calling for a challenge of the 2020 presidential election, have been taken out of context.
As a secondary purpose, Lee believes the texts were released to the media to suppress his ongoing reelection campaign for the U.S. Senate.
In an interview with Deseret News on Wednesday, Lee said the texts obtained by the Jan. 6 committee have been framed for "political motive" and don't represent the true spirit of his conversation with the former chief of staff.
"He [Meadows] 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 [Meadows] knows me well enough to know that that doesn't mean, 'I will do your bidding, whatever it is,' " Lee told the newspaper.
Also, Lee characterized the messages with Meadows as casual in tone, saying his primary objective then was "to figure out what, if any role, Congress had."
According to the Washington Examiner, the Lee-Meadows text exchanges from November 2020 and January 2021 initially encouraged former President Donald Trump to exhaust all legal remedies for challenging the results of the 2020 election, while also "cooperating with the transition."
Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden ended up winning the presidency by an electoral-vote count of 306-232 (270 needed to clinch).
Citing the Examiner, there were also Lee-Meadows speculation of how Trump could be hurting his chances for a 2024 presidential bid, if he forced the issue too much when contesting the 2020 results.
At the core of everything, though, Lee says he never encouraged the contested states to change electoral-vote counts.
"At no point in any of those was I engaging in advocacy. I wasn't in any way encouraging them to do that. I just asked them a yes or no question," Lee said.
The incumbent Sen. Lee has already received the Utah endorsement of former President Trump.
"Senator Mike Lee has done an outstanding job for the wonderful people of Utah. There is no greater voice for our Military, our Vets, Law and Order, or our Second Amendment, which is under total siege," Trump wrote on April 1.
"He loves his State, and is by far the superior Senator there — not even a contest! He is running against Evan 'McMuffin' McMullin, a man that does not represent the standards and policies of the great people of Utah."
According to Real Clear Politics, a site that monitors tracking polls for the November midterms, Lee is a favorite to gain reelection, possessing an average lead of 17 percentage points from two prominent polls.