Utah Democrat Senate candidate Evan McMullin drew boos from a live audience at Utah Valley University on Monday night when he claimed GOP incumbent Sen. Mike Lee sought “fake electors” to thwart President Joe Biden’s election certification. McMullin’s claims, however, come straight from the playbook of the House Select Committee on Jan. 6, which has a failing track record when it comes to disinformation.
“For you to talk about the importance of the Electoral College, I think, is rich,” McMullin said after Lee fielded a question about the legitimacy of the 2020 election. “I think you knew how important it was when you sought to urge the White House that had lost an election to find fake electors to overturn the will of the people.”
McMullin continued: “Sen. Lee, that was the most egregious betrayal of our nation’s Constitution in its history by a U.S. senator, I believe, and it will be your legacy.”
It’s a great tale from an insurgent Senate candidate who hopes to unseat a two-term incumbent, but it’s nothing short of fan fiction ripped straight from the Jan. 6 Committee.
Either McMullin is susceptible to the lies of the House probe or he’s merely manipulating narratives from the sham panel to score political points. Neither is becoming for a wannabe United States senator.
“Evan, that’s not true. You know that’s not true. You, sir, owe me an apology,” Lee said, seething. The conservative senator had good reason to be angry.
The idea that Lee was closely coordinating with the White House to overthrow the Electoral College in the final days of the Trump presidency picked up steam in April. The House Jan. 6 Committee released text messages with administration officials inquiring about plans to put in place alternate electors who would certify the election for Trump. CNN’s Amanda Carpenter accused Lee of lying about his knowledge of the plot put together by attorney John Eastman based on the messages published by her network and the Salt Lake Tribune.
According to book reporting by Robert Costa and Bob Woodward, however, two favorites of the Washington establishment, Lee’s knowledge of a campaign seeking alternate electors only extended to “a social media campaign — an amateur push with no legal standing,” not a real plot by Eastman.
On the debate stage Monday night, Lee further explained what happened:
In the days leading up to Jan. 6, when the votes were going to be open and counted, I had a job to do. There were rumors circulating suggesting that some states were considering switching up their slates of electors. If that were true, I would need to know about that. I did research on that. I made phone calls to figure out whether the rumors were true. The rumors were false. On that basis, I voted to certify the results of the elections.
McMullin’s adoption of Jan. 6 Committee talking points out of desperation for political power not only exposes the danger of Jan. 6 disinformation, but it showcases an alliance between McMullin and the state’s junior senator, Mitt Romney.
Last year, Romney became the only Republican senator to vote for former President Donald Trump’s impeachment. Romney later fundraised for Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney and defended the committee’s investigation. Now Romney remains the only Republican in the upper chamber who refuses to endorse his own state’s incumbent senator up for re-election.
In March, Romney explained his lack of endorsement due to having “two friends” in the race.
“I don’t get involved in primaries and I don’t endorse,” Romney told Politico. But days later, Romney attended a fundraiser for Cheney, who vice-chairs the House Select Committee on Jan. 6.
Lee challenged Romney to endorse his bid for a third term on Fox News last week.
“I don’t think Mitt Romney wants Chuck Schumer to continue to be the Senate majority leader,” Lee told Tucker Carlson. “If I’m right on that, then he needs to get on board, because that’s exactly what he will be producing.”