On Tuesday, January 5, US Vice President Mike Pence heard telling President Donald Trump that he does not have the power to certify the victory of President-elect Joe Biden when Congress meets to count electoral votes.
As he prepares to preside over Wednesday’s Congressional count of Electoral College votes, Pence finds himself in the most vulnerable position of his career, bearing witness to the formalization of Trump’s election defeat.
At the conclusion of the count, sitting on the rostrum of the House of Representatives, Pence is charged with announcing who received the majority of votes for both the president and the vice president.
He is under immense pressure from the president and millions of supporters to reverse Biden’s victory, despite the pro forma nature of Pence’s position.
The New York Times reported that Mr. Pence has spent the past few days in a delicate dance, attempting to communicate to the president at once that he does not have the ability to reverse the election outcome, while also positioning the president in order to prevent a rift that could torpedo any chance that he will run as the loyal heir of Trump in 2024.
Trump seems to think he has, even though he tried to make it clear that he does not have the strength.
Pence also allegedly told the president that until the final hours before the joint session of Congress starts at 1 p.m., he will continue researching the issue. January 6 on Wednesday.
Despite this, Trump tweeted;
If Vice President @Mike_Pence comes through for us, we will win the Presidency. Many States want to decertify the mistake they made in certifying incorrect & even fraudulent numbers in a process NOT approved by their State Legislatures (which it must be).
Mike can send it back!
CNN stated that while Trump said that refusing to block certification would be politically “damaging” for Pence, Pence politely told Trump during the meeting that there was no power for him to derail the procedure.
The vice president went on to tell Trump that there are outliers claiming that authority exists, but according to a source who was briefed on the meeting, Pence was told by the White House Counsel’s Office that he does not have that authority.
The White House meeting came after Pence met earlier this week with the Senate parliamentarian to review his position in the proceedings. The President denied the story in a statement issued by his campaign.
The New York Times release concerning comments Vice President Pence apparently made to me today is fake news. He would never say that. The Vice President and I are in full agreement that the Vice President has the power to act.
It was also confirmed that, after their meeting, the President is now angry with Pence, a source close to the White House said.
AP stated that neither the Constitution nor the law of Congress grants any such powers to the vice president. It is up to the House and Senate to voice objections, and in compliance with state law, state electors have been selected, not fraudulently.
Trump’s renewed pressure on Pence comes as he has consistently argued for two months that the presidential election was “rigged” and has alleged that there was “massive voter fraud” in a handful of swing states where Biden narrowly edged the president, to score a 306-232 Electoral College victory over the GOP incumbent.
A variety of legal challenges have been initiated by the Trump campaign, while Trump himself has encouraged states with Republican governors and legislators to reverse Joe Biden’s victories.
On Tuesday, more Republican senators came out against efforts to undermine the findings, including South Carolina’s Tim Scott and Oklahoma’s James M. Inhofe, who said he found questioning the certification of any state as “a violation of my oath of office.”