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SALT LAKE CITY — Former President Donald Trump says Sens. Mike Lee and Lindsey Graham should be "ashamed" of themselves for not fighting harder to prove his false claims of election fraud.
In a statement late Wednesday, Trump said he spent virtually no time with Lee, R-Utah, and Graham, R-S.C. talking about the "2020 Presidential Election Scam or, as it is viewed by many, the 'Crime of the Century.'"
"Lindsey and Mike should be ashamed of themselves for not putting up the fight necessary to win," he said. "Look at the facts that are coming out in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and other States."
Several states have undertaken reviews of the 2020 results, despite no evidence of serious fraud that would have changed the outcome.
Trump's comments come on the heels of a Washington Post story this week about the new book "Peril," which describes efforts by the two senators to personally investigate Trump's claims of voter fraud as Congress prepared to certify Joe Biden's victory on Jan. 6.
The book, by Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward and national political reporter Robert Costa, focuses on the transition between the Trump and Biden administrations.
Graham and Lee, both of whom ultimately voted to certify the election results, took the fraud claims seriously enough to get briefed on the details, involve their senior staff and call state officials throughout the country, the story says. But privately, Graham, according to the book, called the arguments suitable for "third grade."
Lee received a memorandum from former President Trump's legal team on the weekend before Congress met to finalize the presidential election suggesting that seven states had decided to or had submitted a different slate of electors than the ones they sent to Washington in December.
After getting the memo, Lee said he wanted to "get to the bottom of it" and started calling state officials in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and Arizona, all swing states that Trump lost. He said he found governors, attorneys general, secretaries of state and legislative leaders in those states were not willing or inclined to decertify or recertify their electoral votes.
"At that point, I believed that we had reached the end of the process as indeed we had," Lee said at a Jan. 27 town hall.
In the statement, Trump said, "If this were Schumer and the Democrats, with the evidence we have of Election Fraud (especially newly revealed evidence), they would have never voted to approve Biden as President, and had they not, all of the mistakes that were made over the last month, which are destroying our Country, would not have happened.
"Mike Lee, Lindsey Graham, and all of the other Republicans who were unwilling to fight for the Presidency of the United States, which would have included at least an additional four Republican Senators, two in Georgia, one in Michigan, one in Arizona, are letting the Democrats get away with the greatest Election Hoax in history — a total con job!"
Trump goes on to claim that he won the election by a "landslide" but has little backing from Republican leadership.
"They should be ashamed of themselves. Why don't they have hearings? Or even if just Republicans had open public sessions, we would all hear the irrefutable facts," he said.
Trump falsely claimed the election was stolen from him and urged his supporters to march on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, the day Congress convened to certify the election. He pressured former Vice President Mike Pence, who oversaw the counting of electoral votes, to overturn the results and pressed state officials to find him more votes.
Lee, who advised Trump on his legal challenges to the election results, said Trump's inner circle repeatedly told him that state legislatures were acting to decertify or even recertify their slates of electoral votes.
"As we got closer and closer to Jan. 6, I became concerned because I wasn't seeing any of these developments occur but I was continuing to hear this narrative," he said at the town hall, adding it would have obviously made news if it were happening.
Lee also said he was further surprised when Trump's inner circle continued to argue that Congress could and would change the outcome of the election.
The senator said he had previously explained to Trump, his White House staff, his campaign team and his lawyers that Congress' only role is to count the votes unless a state had submitted conflicting slates of electoral votes.