Impeachment trial descends into chaos over Lee objection

The second day of former President TrumpDonald TrumpSenators given no timeline on removal of National Guard, Capitol fence Democratic fury with GOP explodes in House Georgia secretary of state withholds support for 'reactionary' GOP voting bills MORE's impeachment trial ended in chaos after an effort by Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Key vote for Haaland's confirmation | Update on oil and gas leasing | SEC update on climate-related risk disclosure requirements Haaland on drilling lease moratorium: 'It's not going to be a permanent thing' Overnight Health Care: US surpasses half a million COVID deaths | House panel advances Biden's .9T COVID-19 aid bill | Johnson & Johnson ready to provide doses for 20M Americans by end of March MORE (R-Utah) to remove remarks by the House impeachment managers from the official record sparked widespread confusion.

After the House managers announced they were wrapping up for the day, Lee stood at his desk on the Senate floor and asked to strike comments made by the House lawmakers that related to him.

"Statements were attributed to me moments ago by the House impeachment managers. Statements relating to the content of conversations between a phone call involving President Trump and Sen. Tuberville were not made by me. They're not accurate, and they're contrary to fact. I move pursuant to Rule 16 that they be stricken from the record," Lee said.


Lee appeared to be referencing statements made by Rep. David CicillineDavid CicillineThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - J&J A-OK, Tanden in Trouble Six ways to visualize a divided America Democrats want businesses to help get LGBT bill across finish line MORE (D-R.I.), who, while giving part of the House managers' presentation, said former President Trump tried to call Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) on Jan. 6 and instead called Lee.

Lee previously told the Deseret News, in an article published January 7, that Trump called him on Jan. 6 thinking he was calling Tuberville. Lee, according to the article, also said that he stood by while they were speaking so that he didn't lose his phone.

"Sen. Lee described it. He had just ended a prayer with his colleagues here in the Senate chamber, and the phone rang. It was Donald Trump. Sen. Lee explains that the phone call goes something like this. 'Hey, Tommy,' Trump asks. Sen. Lee says, 'This isn't Tommy.' He hands the phone to Sen. Tuberville," Cicilline said.

"Sen. Lee then confirmed that he stood by as Sen. Tuberville and President Trump spoke on the phone. And on that call, Donald Trump reportedly asked Sen. Tuberville to make additional objections to the certification process," he continued.

Even before he stood up to make his motion, Lee appeared visibly angry by the remarks. He was spotted at his desk ripping off a sheet of paper from a legal pad and writing, "This is not what happened." He handed the paper to David Schoen, one of Trump's lawyers.


Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyPress: The big loser: The Republican Party Senate acquits Trump in 57-43 vote Trump lawyer irked after senators laugh at him MORE (D-Vt.), who is presiding over the trial, appeared to disagree with Lee's request once he made the objection based on information he got from Senate staff.

The kerfuffle quickly sparked widespread confusion, with senators trying to figure out what Lee was saying wasn't accurate and what Lee was forcing a vote on. The situation was complicated by Leahy's mic appearing faulty at times.

Sen. Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerPassage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is the first step to heal our democracy Overnight Health Care: US surpasses half a million COVID deaths | House panel advances Biden's .9T COVID-19 aid bill | Johnson & Johnson ready to provide doses for 20M Americans by end of March 11 GOP senators slam Biden pick for health secretary: 'No meaningful experience' MORE (R-Miss.) asked Leahy what senators would be voting on. When Leahy repeated himself, Lee jumped in again to argue that they weren't addressing his request that statements made by the House impeachment managers be stricken from the official record.

"That is not my motion. ... What I asked was — statements were attributed to me repeatedly, as to which I have personal knowledge because I am the source. They are not true," Lee said.

Republicans could be overheard yelling, "Hear! Hear!" after Lee finished speaking. Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinKlain on Manchin's objection to Neera Tanden: He 'doesn't answer to us at the White House' Klain says Harris would not overrule parliamentarian on minimum wage increase On The Money: Senate panels postpone Tanden meetings in negative sign | Biden signs supply chain order after 'positive' meeting with lawmakers MORE (D-W.Va.) also jumped in at that point, and Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerHillicon Valley: Biden signs order on chips | Hearing on media misinformation | Facebook's deal with Australia | CIA nominee on SolarWinds House Rules release new text of COVID-19 relief bill Budowsky: Cruz goes to Cancun, AOC goes to Texas MORE (D-N.Y.) could be overheard on a hot mic asking, "Who is talking? Joe? What is he doing?"


As Leahy appeared to move toward a vote, Manchin cut in again.

"Let him explain. Please let him explain. ... Why was it false?" Manchin said.

Lee indicated he would be willing to answer Manchin's question. Leahy said the debate was not in order, but senators yelled that they couldn't hear him.

Schumer cut in to try to get clarification on what was being voted on. Amid more confusion, he hit pause on the trial "while we work this out."

When the Senate reconvened, Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinDeJoy apologizes for mail delays while defending Postal Service changes Officer on Capitol riot: 'Is this America? They beat police officers with Blue Lives Matter flags' Considering impeachment's future MORE (D-Md.), the lead impeachment manager, announced that they were agreeing to Lee's request to strike the record.

“Mr. Cicilline correctly and accurately quoted a newspaper account, which the distinguished senator has taken an objection to, so we’re happy to withdraw it,” Raskin said.

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

Lee, however, appeared unsatisfied, shooting back, “You’re not the one being cited as a witness, sir.”