John T. Bennett
INDEPENDENT . Wed, January 6, 2021, 7:23 PM GMT+1
Vice President Mike Pence told lawmakers he lacks the legal powers to reject Electoral College votes cast for President-elect Joe Biden, even as Donald Trump used a midday rally in Washington to continue pressuring him to do just that.
“It is my considered judgment than my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrained me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not,” the vice president wrote to members of Congress in a letter released minutes before a joint session will count the electoral tally.
The vice president’s office released the letter just as Mr Pence was about to preside over a joint session of Congress to count the Electoral College result and debate any objections. Once he did, House Republicans and Senator Ted Cruz objected to the result in favor of Mr Biden from Arizona. The chambers will separately debate and vote on each objection throughout the day.
But before the joint session kicked off, Donald Trump was headlining one of a few rallies protesting his loss and pressuring his VP to try overturning the states’ certifications of their presidential votes.
Mr Trump said he would be “disappointed” if Mr Pence did not try sending some vote results “back to the states,” arguing without evidence that some states’ Electoral College delegates were “defrauded” because they were alleged given data to vote on that contained illegal ballots.
As he and his legal team have done for weeks, however, the outgoing president did not provide any specific evidence.
Mr Trump called on him to “do the right thing.”
The VP’s letter showed he has a different definition of what that constitutes.