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Hans Koepsell, KSL, File

What Utah Sen. Mike Lee says about Trump's legal challenges to election results

By Dennis Romboy, Deseret News | Posted - Nov. 23, 2020 at 1:40 p.m.



SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee continues to defend President Donald Trump's pursuit of legal challenges to the 2020 election as the president lost another round in court over the weekend.

In several posts on Parler, an alternative to Twitter favored by conservatives, Lee went after Democrats and progressives for criticizing Trump and his lawyers filing lawsuits in several states.

"Democrats and other Trump-hating Americans utilized mechanisms made available to them by the Constitution — most recently, the impeachment process — in an effort to nullify the 2016 election. They have denigrated him at every turn, and with him, those who voted for him in 2016," he wrote.

"So needless to say, it's hard to take seriously those who are expressing outrage that Trump wants to exhaust his legal remedies to find out what, if anything, they might have done to delegitimize him and prevent his reelection."

How can they demand that Republicans unflinchingly respect a process that they have tried to undermine for four years and are still trying to cut short by denying the president the right to pursue legitimate legal remedies to verify the legitimacy of the election? Lee wrote.

"We must not allow these questions to remain unanswered," he said.

On Saturday, a federal judge in Pennsylvania — a Republican and Federalist Society member — described the campaign's claim as being stitched together like "Frankenstein's Monster."

U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann wrote in his order that Trump had asked the court to disenfranchise almost 7 million voters, according to the Associated Press.

"One might expect that when seeking such a startling outcome, a plaintiff would come formidably armed with compelling legal arguments and factual proof of rampant corruption," Brann wrote. "That has not happened."

Trump's lawyers, led by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, are appealing the ruling.

Former New Jersey GOP Gov. Chris Christie called the Trump legal team a "national embarrassment."

"They allege fraud outside of the courtroom, but when they go inside the courtroom they don't plead fraud and they don't argue fraud," he said Sunday on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos." Christie, a Trump confidant who voted for him twice, is now calling for him to end the legal fights.

Utah Republican Gov.-elect Spencer Cox weighed in on Christie's comments Sunday.

"He's not wrong. Also, as someone who studied election law in law school and has overseen dozens of election cases/disputes, this legal team is…um…not great. I mean the failure to be prepared for a level-of-scrutiny question made every 1st yr law student either cringe or lol," Cox tweeted.

Cox, a lawyer who oversees Utah elections as lieutenant governor, was referring to Giuliani's apparent lack of knowledge in the Pennsylvania case of the meaning of "strict scrutiny," the highest of three standards used by judges to evaluate how a law or government action affects a person's constitutional rights. It is a basic concept taught to aspiring lawyers and constitutional law classes.

Trump and other Republicans have filed at least 30 lawsuits in six swing states contesting the election results. Most of them have been thrown out or withdrawn and no court has found evidence of fraud.

The president refuses to concede, and called the election a "fraudulent mess." Projections show him losing the Electoral College vote to Democrat Joe Biden 306 to 232. He also trails Biden in the popular vote by more than 6 million.

In his Parler posts, Lee argues that Trump has a right to pursue all legal remedies to contest the results.

"Do you remember when all Democrats universally condemned Hilary Clinton's advice that Joe Biden should never, ever concede — even if it appeared Trump had won the election? Oh wait . . . such condemnation never materialized. So why is Trump universally condemned by all Democrats for exhausting all legal remedies following the same election? That doesn't seem like a fair standard," he wrote.

Clinton said in an interview in August that Biden should not concede election "under any circumstances."

"Joe Biden should not concede under any circumstances, because I think this is going to drag out, and eventually I do believe he will win if we don't give an inch, and if we are as focused and relentless as the other side is," she said on Showtime's "The Circus."

What Utah Sen. Mike Lee says about Trump's legal challenges to election results

Lee questioned why Democrats should fear Trump's challenges if they are so confident that nothing bad happened in the 2020 election and that anything that might have gone wrong could not have affected the outcome.

"You want unity now progressives? Great. If you do, then — regardless of what you think of President Trump or the legal theories being pursued by his lawyers — at least acknowledge that he has every right to verify the fairness and accuracy of the election," Lee wrote. "Such efforts are not at odds with the electoral process; they are themselves part of the process."

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Dennis Romboy

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