Impeachment trial causes confusion after GOP senator objects

Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah objected to evidence related to him, declaring it wasn't true and asking that it be stricken from the record.

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The second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump has not been without drama. The compelling video evidence presented by Democratic House impeachment managers Wednesday showed that several lawmakers came remarkably close to confrontations with pro-Trump rioters that fateful January day.

Another riveting moment came just after the House managers wrapped up for the day when Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah objected to evidence related to him.

Utah Sen. Mike Lee asked that a portion of the House impeachment managers’ presentation Wednesday mentioning him be stricken from the record. (Photo by Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images)

“Statements were attributed to me moments ago by the House impeachment managers,” he said. “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.”

“They are not true! They were false!” Lee declared of the House managers’ arguments. “I ask them to be stricken.”

Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline made the statements in his speech, where he referenced an article in Deseret News in which Lee reportedly said Trump mistakenly called him when trying to reach Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville.

At the end of Cicilline’s presentation, Lee was visibly shaken, and he claimed the description was inaccurate.

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After some confusion between the senators, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called for a recess. When the Senate reconvened, the lead impeachment manager, Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin, agreed to Lee’s request to strike the remarks from 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. He made clear the remarks were not critical in the House’s case.

Lee, however, fired back: “You’re not the one being cited as a witness, sir.”

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While Republicans still seem unlikely to convict the disgraced former president, even they have been forced to admit that the House managers have presented a potent case for impeachment.

“Trump’s team was disorganized; they did everything they could but to talk about the question at hand,” GOP Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana told reporters at the Capitol Tuesday. “And when they talked about it, they kind of glided over it, almost as if they were embarrassed of their arguments.”

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