Former President Donald Trump is tearing into GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham and Mike Lee, saying they should be "ashamed of themselves for not putting up the fight necessary to win" and prove claims of election fraud.
"I spent virtually no time with Senators Mike Lee of Utah, or Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, talking about the 2020 Presidential Election Scam or, as it is viewed by many, the 'Crime of the Century,'" Trump said in a statement late Wednesday night. "Look at the facts that are coming out in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and other States."
His statement was released after a Washington Post article on Monday detailed a section in "Peril," the new book by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, claiming Lee and Graham had both extensively vetted the claims of election fraud that were being made before the Electoral College votes were certified on Jan. 6 and had determined there was not enough to warrant the claims.
They both voted to certify the election's results.
"If this were [Senate Majority Leader] Chuck Schumer and the Democrats, with the evidence we have of Election Fraud (especially newly revealed evidence), they would have never voted to approve [Joe] 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," Trump said in his statement.
He also said Lee, 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. They are letting the Democrats get away with the greatest Election Hoax in history — a total con job!"
Lee and Graham both got briefed on the election fraud claims, and then called state officials and involved their senior staff members in vetting the matter, Woodward and Costa write.
However, Graham privately assessed the arguments as being suitable for "third grade," the book says, noting the senator had agreed to a Jan. 2 meeting with Trump's then-attorney Rudy Giuliani and his legal team. The meeting was reportedly arranged by then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and held in his West Wing office.
Giuliani had a computer expert present a formula during the Saturday meeting that suggested Biden's win in some states was unrealistic, but Graham, who at the time chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee, demanded more hard evidence.
Giuliani promised him more details by that Monday, including proof that ballots were cast in the names of people younger than 18 and for dead people, the book says.
Giuliani's memos, coming just two days before the protests at the Capitol on Jan. 6, included several claims, including an assertion that Pennsylvania had processed 682,777 mail-in ballots without proper observation, but a federal judge had rejected a lawsuit making that claim two months before.
Graham had Lee Holmes, his top attorney for the Judiciary Committee review the documents, but in "Peril," Woodward and Costa write that Holmes "could find no public records that would even allow someone" to conclude that fraud had taken place.
"Holmes found the sloppiness, the overbearing tone of certainty, and the inconsistencies disqualifying," they wrote. "[They] added up to nothing."
Meanwhile, on Jan. 2, the same day Graham and Giuliani were meeting, Lee got a two-page White House memo, marked as "privileged and confidential," that claimed then-Vice President Mike Pence could turn over the election to Trump, according to "Peril."
The memo said seven states had dueling slates of electors splitting the vote, and that Pence could set those states aside on Jan. 6 and count only electors from the remaining states.
"Pence then gavels President Trump as re-elected," the book quotes the memo as saying.
The memo, written by conservative legal scholar John Eastman, was obtained for "Peril" and reviewed by The Washington Post.
A spokesman for Lee didn't respond to The Post's request for comment.
Woodward and Costa suggested in their book that Lee, a former law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., was surprised that Eastman, a professor at the Chapman University School of Law and former law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas, wrote the memo.
He said in a Jan. 27 online town hall, appearing to refer to the memo, that he made several phone calls to officials in relevant states but nobody was poised to certify new electors.
Eastman, meanwhile, addressed Trump supporters outside the White House on Jan. 6, and a month later retired from Chapman University.
He told The Post in an email for its story that the memo "explored all options that had been proposed" but that he advised Pence not to act based on dueling electors, as no state legislature had certified an alternative slate. He also said he advised Pence to delay certification of the election results.
Eastman also said that his remarks on Jan. 6 had not been planned and that he had spoken to "fill a gap in the roster of speakers when the president’s arrival was delayed."
Lee, meanwhile, said in a Fox News interview in February that the former president deserved a "mulligan" for his speech to supporters on Jan. 6.
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