As Democrats built their teary-eyed case against former President Donald Trump, it appears they took it a little too far — attributed words and actions to GOP leaders that they were forced to later retract.
Wednesday evening’s impeachment proceedings erupted into chaos after Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) called upon Democrat impeachment managers to withdraw accusations that he was involved in receiving a call from Donald Trump as the events of January 6th unfolded.
Democrat impeachment manager Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) mistakenly incorporated reporting from January that claimed President Trump attempted to call Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), but accidentally dialed Lee’s number. Cicilline alleged that Lee had said Trump was calling Tuberville request to further delay the certification of the election results.
Watch Cicilline recount his version of the events:
CLIP: @RepCicilline points to President Trump’s first call to anyone inside the Capitol during the attack on January 6: “He attempted to call Senator Tuberville. He dialed Senator Lee by accident…”
Sen. Lee would later move the phone conversation be stricken from the record. pic.twitter.com/IyBTgLmfYy
— CSPAN (@cspan) February 11, 2021
Lee quickly responded by requesting that the comments be withdrawn, arguing that they “were not made by me, they’re not accurate, and they’re contrary to fact. I move…that they be stricken from the record.”
Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT), president pro tempore of the Senate and overseer of the trial made an unclear ruling on the request causing a cascade of chaos on the Senate floor as Democrats attempted to wrap up their case for impeachment.
Lee then appealed his ruling and sought a vote in the Senate to override Leahy, and after several confusing moments the Senate began voting on Lee’s objection to Leahy’s unclear ruling. After a couple senators’ names were called when the clerk began calling the roll of Senators to vote on Lee’s objection, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke up and intervened to stop the vote. Schumer used a tactic called noting the absence of a quorum–essentially pausing the Senate’s formal business as televised for the nation while senators and staff handle a dispute or negotiation off camera–to “work this out.”
Ultimately, lead House impeachment manager Jamie Raskin (D-MD) admitted that Cicilline had wrongly characterized Lee’s involvement in the situation and complied with a request to strike the story from the record.
“The impeachment manager Mr. Cicilline correctly and accurately quoted a newspaper account which the distinguished senator has taken objection to, so we’re happy to withdraw it,” Raskin confessed.
Lee remained quite heated over the matter, shouting at Raskin indignantly that “you’re not the one being cited as a witness here.”