by Sharon Rondeau
(Jan. 6, 2021) — Contradicting President Trump’s statement issued Tuesday night and consistent with reporting by The New York Times, Vice President Mike Pence issued a multi-page letter Wednesday indicating he does not believe, as presiding officer over the Joint Session of Congress, that he has the authority to reject slates of electors whose votes have been questioned given reports of widespread voter fraud in their states.
“Vice President Mike Pence told President Trump on Tuesday that he did not believe he had the power to block congressional certification of Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory in the presidential election despite Mr. Trump’s baseless insistence that he did, people briefed on the conversation said,” The Times reported Tuesday.
In the letter, Pence said he believes objections should be heard and that Congress should then vote on whether or not they are meritorious.
Live streaming of the Joint Session is available here. Each member of the House is allowed five minutes to speak.
Toward the end of a lengthy speech at the “Save America March” Wednesday overlapping the opening of the Joint Session, Trump appeared to doubt that Pence would prove helpful to his re-election effort.
At approximately 11:00 a.m. at the march, Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani strongly suggested that Pence would either send questioned electors back to the states or otherwise reject the results as they stand.
Attorney Lin Wood of Georgia, who has filed legal actions disputing the validity of his state’s election processes and is a Trump supporter, last week said Pence would prove disloyal to Trump on January 6.
The electoral votes were delivered to Congress in mahogany cases.
During his remarks at the rally, Trump recited a litany of fraud allegations involving hundreds of thousands of votes in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Nevada. Earlier, Giuliani suggested that an additional ten days would allow state legislators to investigate fully claims of systemic fraud and illegal votes having been counted and that members of five different state legislators had requested more time to do so. A sixth was expected imminently, Giuliani said.
In the letter, Pence did not address whether or not he believes he has the authority to remand questioned electoral votes to the legislatures for resolution. He did, however, state, “Given the voting irregularities that took place in our November elections and the disregard of state election statutes by some officials, I welcome the efforts of Senate and House members who have stepped forward to use their authority under the law to raise objections and present evidence.”