Mike Lee objects to anecdote, prompting a confusing end to 2nd day of Trump trial

Mike Lee objects to anecdote, prompting a confusing end to 2nd day of Trump trial

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) on Wednesday night objected to the portrayal of an accidental phone call from then-President Donald Trump, plunging the Senate chamber into confusion on the second day of Trump’s impeachment trial.

Rising as Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), the lead House manager, moved to end discussion until Thursday, Lee asked that a characterization of the call be stricken from the record, contending that it was inaccurate.

Trump called Lee on Jan. 6, the day of the Capitol insurrection, but had meant to call Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.). Lee recounted to the Deseret News last month the call from Trump and said he had passed off the phone to Tuberville when he realized Trump had dialed him by mistake. Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani also left a voicemail meant for Tuberville that day to corral support for Trump’s election disputes, but he’d also accidentally dialed Lee.

House impeachment managers cited the Deseret News account during their presentation on Wednesday, casting it as another piece of evidence that Trump tried to undermine the election. But Lee said the characterization of that phone call was untrue.

The chamber grew tense as Lee and Democratic leadership began heatedly arguing over the nature of Lee’s request and how to proceed according to Senate rules.

Eventually, Raskin returned to the lectern and agreed to withdraw the anecdote. He added that Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), one of the managers, was merely reading from a media report of the call when he brought it up, but that the anecdote was not worth defending further.

“This is much ado about nothing because it’s not critical in any way to our case,” Raskin said.

The Senate then adjourned for the evening.

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