President Donald Trump has challenged the accuracy of a recent New York Times report that said Vice President Mike Pence told the president he lacked the power to block the certification of electoral college votes.
The report, which cited anonymous sources, said Pence delivered his assessment about his role on Jan. 6 to the president during their weekly lunch.
Trump disputed the veracity of the report, characterizing it as “fake news” in a statement sent by his campaign on Jan. 5.
“He never said that,” Trump said. “The Vice President and I are in total agreement that the Vice President has the power to act.”
“The November 3rd election was corrupt in contested states, and in particular it was not in accordance with the Constitution in that they made large scale changes to election rules and regulations as dictated by local judges and politicians, not by state legislators. This means that it was illegal.
“Our Vice President has several options under the U.S. Constitution. He can decertify the results or send them back to the states for change and certification. He can also decertify the illegal and corrupt results and send them to the House of Representatives for the one vote for one state tabulation,” he added.
The New York Times report came after Trump declared on Twitter on Tuesday that Pence has the power to reject electors that were fraudulently chosen during the joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, where electoral votes will be formally counted.
Pence, who will be presiding over the Jan. 6 session, will be reading the electoral votes for all 50 states. His role during the session has been heavily debated in recent days, as Trump and his allies hope that the vice president will reject the slate of electors for contested states. Meanwhile, critics have said that Pence’s role is simply ministerial in that he only has the ability to count the votes even if he has concerns over their validity.
Republican lawmaker Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) attempted to seek clarification from the federal courts last week by filing a lawsuit against Pence. His lawsuit, which was dismissed by a district and appeals court, argued that Pence had the “exclusive authority and sole discretion under the 12th Amendment to determine which slates of electors for a state, or neither, may be counted.”
In a campaign event in Georgia on Monday, Pence told a crowd that he promises Trump and Republicans will “have our day in Congress.”
“We’ll hear the objections. We’ll hear the evidence,” Pence said without elaborating on the role he plans to play.
Hours after Pence spoke, Trump told Georgia supporters in a separate event that he hopes “Mike Pence comes through for us.”
Disputes over election results in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Nevada remain unresolved after courts refused to address the allegations of election fraud and irregularities, and state legislatures were out of session. Many of the cases challenging election results were dismissed due to procedural reasons, while some judges were not convinced by the allegations put forward.
A growing group of Republican House members and senators have announced their intention to challenge Electoral College votes in states where election results are disputed over allegations of irregularities and election fraud. Lawmakers, in the lead up to Jan. 6, have been picking sides in this last-ditch effort to ensure that allegations of voter fraud are transparently and independently addressed.
Thirteen Republican senators have expressed their intent to participate in the efforts, and at least 75 Republican House members have committed to objecting to the contested votes on Jan. 6, according to a tally by The Epoch Times. Meanwhile, more than thirty Republican lawmakers have also said they will not participate in the efforts.
For objections to succeed during the joint session, they must be made in writing by at least one House member and one senator. If the objection for any state meets this requirement, the joint session pauses and each house withdraws to its own chamber to debate the question for a maximum of two hours. The House and the Senate then vote separately to accept or reject the objection, which requires a majority vote from both chambers to pass.
If both candidates receive less than 270 electoral votes on Jan. 6, then a contingent election is triggered in which each state’s delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives casts one en bloc vote to determine the president, while the vice president is decided by a vote in the U.S. Senate.