Vice President Mike Pence has said he will support the bid by a dozen Republican Senators to overturn Joe Biden’s election win in Congress next week.
Marc Short, Pence’s chief of staff, issued a statement Saturday saying the VP ‘shares the concerns of millions of Americans about voter fraud and irregularities in the last election.’
‘(Pence) welcomes the efforts of members of the House and Senate to use the authority they have under the law to raise objections and bring forward evidence before the Congress and the American people on Jan. 6th’, the statement continued.
Pence gave the plot his backing just hours after Ted Cruz has said he would be among the 12 GOP Senators trying to block the certification.
Vice President Mike Pence has said he will support the bid by a dozen Republican Senators to overturn Joe Biden’s election win in Congress next week
Twelve Republicans have now said they will vote to reject the electors on January 6, after Missouri senator Josh Hawley became the first to announce his intentions this week to challenge the result.
In a statement on Saturday with ten more GOP senators, Cruz demanded the appointment of an emergency commission to conduct a 10-day audit of the election returns in ‘disputed states’.
Until such a commission is appointed, they vowed to intend to vote on January 6 to reject the electors from those states – a largely symbolic move that has little chance of preventing Biden from taking office.
The effort is considered separate from but parallel to that of Senator Hawley, who earlier this week became the first sitting member of the Senate to announce he would challenge the election result.
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz has said he will be among a dozen Republican senators who will challenge President-elect Joe Biden’s victory when Electoral College results are tallied in Congress next week
It comes in defiance of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, who has pleaded with his caucus not to attempt to block certification of the election
Trump’s Dirty Dozen
Senator Josh Hawley – Missouri – has already said he will object
The Cruz faction
Senator Ted Cruz – Texas
Senator Ron Johnson – Wisconsin
Senator James Lankford – Oklahoma
Senator Steve Daines – Montana
Senator John Kennedy – Louisiana
Senator Marsha Blackburn – Tennessee
Senator Mike Braun – Indiana
Senator-elect Cynthia Lummis – Wyoming
Senator-elect Tommy Tuberville – Alabama
Senator-elect Bill Hagerty – Tennessee
Senator-elect Roger Marshall – Kansas
*Senators-elect will be sworn in as senators on Sunday January 3, and will be eligible to vote on January 6
Cruz was joined in the statement by Senators Ron Johnson, James Lankford, Steve Daines, John Kennedy, Marsha Blackburn, Mike Braun, along with Cynthia Lummis, Tommy Tuberville, Bill Hagerty, and Roger Marshall, all of whom will be sworn in as senators on Sunday in the new Congress.
In a statement, Cruz and the other senators said they intend to vote to reject electors from swing states that have been at the center of President Donald Trump’s unproven assertions of election fraud and will call for the establishment of a commission to investigate claims of fraud on an emergency basis.
‘We intend to vote on January 6 to reject the electors from disputed states as not `regularly given´ and `lawfully certified´ (the statutory requisite), unless and until that emergency 10-day audit is completed,’ they wrote in the statement.
‘We do not take this action lightly,’ they said.
It comes in defiance of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, who has pleaded with his caucus not to attempt to block certification of the Electoral College results.
In conference calls with colleagues, McConnell has reportedly argued that any attempt to block certification of Biden would be futile, and only divide the party.
Cruz’s statement pointed out that Democrats in Congress had previously raised objections to the result of a presidential election, including in 1969, 2001, 2005, and 2017.
President Donald Trump has not proven his claims of election fraud, but Cruz believes an emergency commission should be appointed to get to the bottom of the matter
Senatory Hawley of Missouri (above) was the first to defy McConnell by announcing he would join House Republicans in objecting to the state tallies on January 6
‘The most direct precedent on this question arose in 1877, following serious allegations of fraud and illegal conduct in the Hayes-Tilden presidential race,’ the senators argued.
‘Specifically, the elections in three states-Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina-were alleged to have been conducted illegally,’ they continued.
‘In 1877, Congress did not ignore those allegations, nor did the media simply dismiss those raising them as radicals trying to undermine democracy.
‘Instead, Congress appointed an Electoral Commission-consisting of five Senators, five House Members, and five Supreme Court Justices-to consider and resolve the disputed returns,’ the statement added.
A number of Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives also plan on contesting the vote tally.
The days ahead are expected to do little to change the outcome. Biden is set to be inaugurated January 20 after winning the Electoral College vote 306-232.
Senator Hawley of Missouri was the first to defy McConnell by announcing he would join House Republicans in objecting to the state tallies during Wednesday’s joint session of Congress.
The moves drew swift condemnation from Democrats, including former Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill, who tweeted ‘There are actually 12 Senators ‘pointing a loaded gun’ at the heart of democracy. They should always be known as the #dirtydozen.’
The Dirty Dozen was a 1967 war film about about ragtag group of hardened criminals who were recruited to form an elite Allied commando unit sent on a virtual suicide mission against high-ranking Nazi officers.
On the other side of the Republican party’s split, Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska warned such challenges are a ‘dangerous ploy’ threatening the nation´s civic norms.
The issue is forcing Republicans to make choices that will set the contours of the post-Trump era and an evolving GOP.
‘I will not be participating in a project to overturn the election,’ Sasse wrote in a lengthy social media post. Sasse, a potential 2024 presidential contender, said he was ‘urging my colleagues also to reject this dangerous ploy.’
The Dirty Dozen was a 1967 war film about about ragtag group of hardened criminals who were recruited to form an elite Allied commando unit sent on a virtual suicide mission against high-ranking Nazi officers during WWII. They were victorious, but few survived the mission
Trump, the first president to lose a reelection bid in almost 30 years, has attributed his defeat to widespread voter fraud, despite the consensus of nonpartisan election officials that there wasn’t any.
Of the roughly 50 lawsuits the president and his allies have filed challenging election results, nearly all have been dismissed or dropped. He´s also lost twice at the U.S. Supreme Court.
Still, the president has pushed Republican senators to pursue his unfounded charges even though the Electoral College has already cemented Biden´s victory and all that’s left is Congress´ formal recognition of the count before the new president is sworn in.
‘We are letting people vote their conscience,’ Sen. John Thune, the second-ranking Republican, told reporters at the Capitol.
Thune´s remarks as the GOP whip in charge of rounding up votes show that Republican leadership is not putting its muscle behind Trump´s demands, but allowing senators to choose their course. He noted the gravity of questioning the election outcome.
‘This is an issue that´s incredibly consequential, incredibly rare historically and very precedent-setting,’ he said. ‘This is a big vote. They are thinking about it.’
Pence will be carefully watched as he presides over what is typically a routine vote count in Congress but is now heading toward a prolonged showdown that could extend into Wednesday night, depending on how many challenges are mounted.
The challenge is expected to do little to change the outcome. Biden is set to be inaugurated January 20 after winning the Electoral College vote 306-232
The vice president is being sued by a group of Republicans who want Pence to have the power to overturn the election results by doing away with an 1887 law that spells out how Congress handles the vote count.
Trump’s own Justice Department may have complicated what is already a highly improbable effort to upend the ritualistic count.
It asked a federal judge to dismiss the last-gasp lawsuit from Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, and a group of Republican electors from Arizona who are seeking to force Pence to step outside mere ceremony and shape the outcome of the vote.
In a court filing in Texas, the department said they have ‘have sued the wrong defendant’ and Pence should not be the target of the legal action.
‘A suit to establish that the Vice President has discretion over the count, filed against the Vice President, is a walking legal contradiction,’ the department argues.
A judge in Texas dismissed the Gohmert lawsuit Friday night. U.S. District Judge Jeremy Kernodle, a Trump appointee, wrote that the plaintiffs ‘allege an injury that is not fairly traceable’ to Pence, ‘and is unlikely to be redressed by the requested relief.’
To ward off a dramatic unraveling, McConnell convened a conference call with Republican senators Thursday specifically to address the coming joint session and logistics of tallying the vote, according to several Republicans granted anonymity to discuss the private call.
The Republican leader pointedly called on Hawley to answer questions about his challenge to Biden´s victory, according to two of the Republicans.
But there was no response because Hawley was a no-show, the Republicans said.
His office did not respond to a request for comment.
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., who has acknowledged Biden´s victory and defended his state´s elections systems as valid and accurate, spoke up on the call, objecting to those challenging Pennsylvania´s results and making clear he disagrees with Hawley´s plan to contest the result, his office said in a statement.
McConnell had previously warned GOP senators not to participate in raising objections, saying it would be a terrible vote for colleagues. In essence, lawmakers would be forced to choose between the will of the outgoing president and that of the voters.
Several Republicans have indicated they are under pressure from constituents back home to show they are fighting for Trump in his baseless campaign to stay in office.
Full statement of the Cruz faction on objections to election results
Ted Cruz and 10 other Republican senators issued the following statement on Saturday, in advance of the Electoral College certification process on January 6, 2021:
‘America is a Republic whose leaders are chosen in democratic elections. Those elections, in turn, must comply with the Constitution and with federal and state law.
‘When the voters fairly decide an election, pursuant to the rule of law, the losing candidate should acknowledge and respect the legitimacy of that election. And, if the voters choose to elect a new office-holder, our Nation should have a peaceful transfer of power.
‘The election of 2020, like the election of 2016, was hard fought and, in many swing states, narrowly decided. The 2020 election, however, featured unprecedented allegations of voter fraud, violations and lax enforcement of election law, and other voting irregularities.
‘Voter fraud has posed a persistent challenge in our elections, although its breadth and scope are disputed. By any measure, the allegations of fraud and irregularities in the 2020 election exceed any in our lifetimes.
‘And those allegations are not believed just by one individual candidate. Instead, they are widespread. Reuters/Ipsos polling, tragically, shows that 39% of Americans believe ‘the election was rigged.’ That belief is held by Republicans (67%), Democrats (17%), and Independents (31%).
‘Some Members of Congress disagree with that assessment, as do many members of the media.
‘But, whether or not our elected officials or journalists believe it, that deep distrust of our democratic processes will not magically disappear. It should concern us all. And it poses an ongoing threat to the legitimacy of any subsequent administrations.
‘Ideally, the courts would have heard evidence and resolved these claims of serious election fraud. Twice, the Supreme Court had the opportunity to do so; twice, the Court declined.
‘On January 6, it is incumbent on Congress to vote on whether to certify the 2020 election results. That vote is the lone constitutional power remaining to consider and force resolution of the multiple allegations of serious voter fraud.
‘At that quadrennial joint session, there is long precedent of Democratic Members of Congress raising objections to presidential election results, as they did in 1969, 2001, 2005, and 2017. And, in both 1969 and 2005, a Democratic Senator joined with a Democratic House Member in forcing votes in both houses on whether to accept the presidential electors being challenged.
‘The most direct precedent on this question arose in 1877, following serious allegations of fraud and illegal conduct in the Hayes-Tilden presidential race. Specifically, the elections in three states-Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina-were alleged to have been conducted illegally.
‘In 1877, Congress did not ignore those allegations, nor did the media simply dismiss those raising them as radicals trying to undermine democracy. Instead, Congress appointed an Electoral Commission-consisting of five Senators, five House Members, and five Supreme Court Justices-to consider and resolve the disputed returns.
‘We should follow that precedent. To wit, Congress should immediately appoint an Electoral Commission, with full investigatory and fact-finding authority, to conduct an emergency 10-day audit of the election returns in the disputed states. Once completed, individual states would evaluate the Commission’s findings and could convene a special legislative session to certify a change in their vote, if needed.
‘Accordingly, we intend to vote on January 6 to reject the electors from disputed states as not ‘regularly given’ and ‘lawfully certified’ (the statutory requisite), unless and until that emergency 10-day audit is completed.
‘We are not naïve. We fully expect most if not all Democrats, and perhaps more than a few Republicans, to vote otherwise. But support of election integrity should not be a partisan issue. A fair and credible audit-conducted expeditiously and completed well before January 20-would dramatically improve Americans’ faith in our electoral process and would significantly enhance the legitimacy of whoever becomes our next President. We owe that to the People.
‘These are matters worthy of the Congress, and entrusted to us to defend. We do not take this action lightly. We are acting not to thwart the democratic process, but rather to protect it. And every one of us should act together to ensure that the election was lawfully conducted under the Constitution and to do everything we can to restore faith in our Democracy.’