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The desperate moves by President Trump to overturn the result of the November 3 election to his favor received another boost on Tuesday with his efforts to force Vice President Mike Pence to overturn President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory, falsely asserting that Mr. Pence had the power to unilaterally throw out electoral votes on Wednesday when Congress meets to certify the election results.
But achieving such a feat is a herculean task because there is nothing in the Constitution or the law that explicitly gives a vice president such power, but despite Mr. Trump mounting pressure on Mr. Pence to do his bidding, aides close to Mr. Pence, who concede that he is facing a politically perilous moment, are convinced he will follow the normal procedures and confirm Mr. Biden’s victory.
Mr. Biden polled a total of 306 electoral college votes to defeat Mr. Trump who got only 232- a far cry to the 270 needed to be declared the winner.
However, Wednesday promises to be a long and confusing day on Capitol Hill and a potentially agonizing one for Mr. Pence — as Mr. Trump’s Republican allies move to challenge Mr. Biden’s victory and force at least three votes on the matter–a move that is expected to fail.
The meeting by the congress after each election had long been considered little more than a paperwork exercise in American democracy- the official count by Congress of electoral votes.
Mr. Pence’s role is at the meeting is to be the master of ceremonies rather than the arbiter of the outcome, declaring the winner based on who has the most electoral votes which will not be in President Trump’s favor because of the loss.
Despite Mr. Trump’s clear defeat at the polls in November, he and his group of loyalist House and Senate Republicans are plotting to upend the process by objecting to the certification of several states.
Lacking the votes to prevail, and losing out at the electoral college Mr. Trump is now pressuring Mr. Pence to take matters into his own hands to delay the vote tabulation or alter it in Mr. Trump’s favor.
Michael Luttig, a former judge for the United States Court of Appeals and leading conservative legal scholar, said that Mr. Pence had no choice but to simply count the votes.
“No president and no vice president would or should consider either event as a test of political loyalty,” Mr. Luttig said. “And if either did, he would have to understand that political loyalty must yield to constitutional obligation.”
“The Vice President has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors,” the president tweeted on Tuesday.
The Vice President has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 5, 2021