VICE President Mike Pence reportedly told the president he does not have the authority to change the results of the election – even as the president continues to say it's up to Pence to overturn his election loss.
According to the New York Times, Pence told President Trump during his weekly lunch with the president that he does not have the power to overturn the election when Congress convenes on Wednesday to certify Joe Biden's election win.
Pence's message came hours after Trump subtweeted the VP, putting public pressure on Pence to "reject" Congress' certification.
"The Vice President has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors," Trump erroneously tweeted earlier on Tuesday.
Trump's claims are based on Pence's largely ceremonial role in Congress' certification of Biden's win. According to people briefed with the conversation, Pence apparently told Trump he did not believe he had the power to block the congressional certification.
The vice president indeed does not hold unilateral power to alter the election results that were sent by states to Congress.
However, that has yet to stop a number of Republican Congressmembers from saying they would reject the election results – and in a countermeasure, a number of other Republican Congressmembers from warning against any attempts to undermine the results.
Republican Senators Tim Scott of South Carolina and James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma came out in opposition to their GOP colleagues, saying any challenging of the state's certification is "a violation of my oath of office."
The certification, likely to go on for hours given the planned GOP protest, will star Pence as presiding over a roll call of states on Wednesday.
Should at least one senator and one representative object to the results from a state, they can force a debate of up to two hours about the results.
This will then force each chamber of Congress into a separate vote as to whether to certify the state's results.
Both the House and Senate would then need to agree for the results of a state to be overturned.
However, considering Democrats control the House and the majority of Republican senators have warned not to politicize the certification process, there is seldom a possibility any state's outcome would be rejected.
Objections are expected for the states of Georgia, Arizona and Pennsylvania, all states that went to Biden. Biden also carried a total of 306 Electoral votes over Trump's 232.
Likewise, objections are anticipated for Michigan, Nevada and Wisconsin, although it is unclear if the lawmakers would receive objections from both a senator and representative.
Pence, presiding officer of the Senate, will read each Electoral College vote for each candidate and certify the election win for Biden.
Pence has spent the last few days attempting to appease the president and his supporters while trying to also distance himself from the objections and convey his lack of power.
Some speculate his tiptoeing around the issue could be a sign of his eventual 2024 run for president in the hopes of attracting much of the president's base.
Pence even promised the president he would contact legal experts to see if he has any authority to reject the results and study the issue up until the 1PM Wednesday roll call – but has continued to tell the president he lacks such power.
More to follow…
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