The first day of arguments at President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial ended in chaos when Sen. Mike Lee tried to object to evidence that referenced him.
‘Statements were attributed to me moments ago by the House impeachment managers, statements related to the content of conversations between – a phone call involving President Trump and Senator Tuberville, were not made by me, they’re not accurate and they’re contrary to fact,’ Lee said on the heels of primary impeachment manager, Rep. Jamie Raskin, saying they were done for the day.
Lee took issue with part of Rep. David Cicilline’s presentation, which was supposed to show the senators where Trump’s mind was at during the deadly January 6 siege.
Sen. Mike Lee delayed the close of the first day of arguments at President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial by trying to strike evidence from the record. Lee was mentioned because Trump had accidentally tried to call his phone to reach Sen. Tommy Tuberville
Sen. Mike Lee’s objection led to several minutes of chaos and confusion as lawmakers tried to decide whether what was said could be struck from the record. Lee charged Democrats attributing false statements to him
‘Senator Lee stood by as Senator Tuberville and President Trump spoke on the phone and on that call Donald Trump reportedly asked Senator Tuberville to make additional objections to the certification process,’ Rep. David Cicilline said, which was what Sen. Mike Lee objected to
The Senate’s President Pro Tempore Patricky Leahy (left) tried to figure out how to handle Sen. Mike Lee’s complaint for several minutes, but then chief impeachment manager, Rep. Jamie Raskin, said the Democrats would withdraw that piece of evidence for the time being
Democratic impeachment managers pointed out, again and again, that Trump never explicitly told his supporters to stand down, as they invaded the Capitol, hunted lawmakers and participated in hand-to-hand combat with police.
Trump was impeached by the House last month for inciting the insurrection and the Senate will decide whether he should be convicted on that charge.
On Wednesday night, Cicilline told an anecdote that was based on a story in Deseret News that cited Lee as its source.
During the insurrection Trump accidentally called Lee’s cell phone trying to get ahold of Alabama Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville instead.
‘Senator Lee describes it, he had just ended a prayer with his colleagues here in the Senate chamber and the phone rang, it was Donald Trump,’ Cicilline said.
‘And how Senator Lee describes it is the phone call goes something like this,’ the Rhode Island Democrat continued. ‘”Hey Tommy,”‘ Trump asks. And Senator Lee says this isn’t Tommy. And he hands the phone to Sen. Tuberville.’
‘Senator Lee stood by as Senator Tuberville and President Trump spoke on the phone and on that call Donald Trump reportedly asked Senator Tuberville to make additional objections to the certification process,’ Cicilline explained.
In the Deseret News story, Lee doesn’t divulge the contents of the call, though he does say that in speaking to Tuberville after the Alabama senator’s conversation with Trump that he got the impression the president didn’t know that the protesters were laying siege to the Capitol.
Lee also told the publication that Tuberville and Trump spoke for about five to 10 minutes. He said he stood nearby to ensure he didn’t lose his phone in the commotion.
Other news organizations reported that Trump pressured Tuberville to keep objecting to states’ Electoral College vote counts.
‘That’s why he called,’ Cicilline had said in disgust.
The Dispatch reported on a voicemail left for Tuberville by Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani that day, but he dialed the number of a different unnamed senator.
In the message, Giuliani is heard asking Tuberville to ‘slow it down.’
‘The only strategy we can follow is to object to numerous states and raise issues so that we get ourselves into tomorrow – ideally until the end of tomorrow,’ Giuliani said.
After his initial request to get Cicilline’s statements struck from the record, Lee explained, ‘my point was not about whether it was appropriate for them to make characterizations, my point was to strike them because they were false.’
‘Statements were attributed to me repeatedly to which I have personal knowledge because I am the source, they are not true,’ Lee said.
With the use of ‘reportedly’ Cicilline didn’t directly attribute the contents of the call to Lee.
‘I never made those statements I asked that they be stricken,’ the Utah Republican said. ‘This has nothing to do with whether they are based on depositions, which they’re not, it’s simply based 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.’
After a few procedural hiccups with Sen. Patrick Leahy at the gavel, Raskin, the chief impeachment manager, said the Democrats would voluntarily withdraw that piece of evidence – with the understanding they could bring it back up if needed.
‘This is much ado about nothing, because it’s not critical in anyway to our case,’ Raskin said.
Afterward, Tuberville was asked by reporters what had been incorrect about Cicilline’s retelling of the call, which Lee had said lasted five to 10 minutes.
‘I don’t know, you know President Trump, you don’t get many words in but he didn’t get a chance to say a whole lot because I said, “Mr. President, they just took the vice president out, I’ve got to go,”‘ Tuberville said. ‘That’s what it was.’