President Donald Trump early Wednesday turned up the pressure on Vice President Mike Pence to take action during congressional hearings to certify the Electoral College’s vote for Joe Biden, saying a move to block the certification will allow him to him keep his presidency.
“If Vice President @Mike_Pence comes through for us, we will win the Presidency,” Trump tweeted at about 2 a.m. “Many States want to decertify the mistake they made in certifying incorrect & even fraudulent numbers in a process NOT approved by their State Legislatures (which it must be). Mike can send it back!”
His tweet came after The New York Times reported that Pence told Trump on Tuesday that he does not have the power to block the certification, quoting people briefed on their conversation.
Pence’s message came during his weekly lunch with Trump and hours after Trump tweeted that “the vice president has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors.”
Pence’s role, as president of the Senate, is to preside over Congress as the chambers receive and certify electoral votes and announce the outcome. According to the 12th Amendment, “the president of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates, and the votes shall then be counted.”
Pence will preside over the roll call of the states, during which if one senator and one representative object to results from a state, that can force a debate for up to two hours, with each chamber then voting separately on whether that state’s results can be certified. The results will only be overturned if both the House and Senate agree.
Trump Tuesday night denied the Times’ report as “fake news” and said he and Pence are in “total agreement that the Vice President has the power to act” to decertify the Electoral College’s results, reports The Hill.
Pence hasn’t committed publicly to intervening, and Marc Short, his chief of staff, said in a statement that the vice president “shares the concerns” of Americans regarding voter fraud and irregularities and “welcomes the efforts of members of the House and Senate” to raise objections.