When Vice President Mike Pence signed-on to be President Donald Trump’s number two guy, he could never have imagined all that would entail — but the most difficult task he will face in that role still lies ahead.
On Wednesday, when Congress convenes to certify the Electoral College results all eyes will be on Pence, and Trump campaign attorney Jenna Ellis explained what she believes he should do in response to the many concerns about voter fraud and other irregularities in the 2020 election.
As president of the Senate, Pence is empowered by the 12th Amendment to preside over Congress as it accepts the Electoral College results and declares Joe Biden the winner.
But Ellis said in an interview Monday night with Just The News, that the vice president can defer certifying the election results, under the argument that he can reject Biden-Harris electoral votes from six states — this was the basis of the lawsuit by Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, that was recently rejected by a federal judge. Instead, Pence could direct the matter back to the respective state legislatures, according to the attorney.
JUST IN: @POTUS Lawyer @JennaEllisEsq suggests an option for @VP on January 6th: ask and require state legislatures to do their job. Watch her interview with @DavidBrodyCBN on #TheWaterCooler @realDonaldTrump #JustTheNews @RealAmVoice pic.twitter.com/Eyu6rDq1gs
— Just the News (@JustTheNews) January 4, 2021
“What Mike Pence could do — and what he should do, in fact — is to direct a question back to the state legislatures when there are two competing slates of delegates from these six states,” Ellis said. “He can ask that question to the states and say, well, state legislators, you know, I have an oath to the Constitution to uphold the Constitution as written in Article II Section 1.2 which says the state legislatures direct the manner in which electoral delegates are selected.”
In these battleground states, Republicans put up their own sets of electors for Trump, though the counter-argument is that these electors are not official.
“So you tell me which of these two slates was selected in the manner that your state general assembly has designated,” she continued. “And that’s a fair question. That’s not exercising discretion. That’s not setting up any sort of bad precedent. That’s actually returning the authority to the constitutionally vested entity and just simply direct that question I think would then require a response from these very timid, to put it lightly, state legislators that haven’t been willing to act.”
“And it would in fact then give a very clean outcome to this election,” Ellis concluded. “It wouldn’t be political, it would just be saying you are the constitutionally invested authority, you tell me.”
As if there isn’t enough pressure on Pence already, President Trump cranked up the intensity even more during a rally in Georgia Monday night.
Campaigning on behalf of the Republican incumbents in that state’s Senate run-off elections, Trump said that he is counting on Pence to “come through for us” — the president quipped that he would not “like” Pence as much if he doesn’t, which the media spun as a “not-so-veiled threat to his own vice president.”
President Trump: "I hope Mike Pence comes through for us, I have to tell you. I hope that our great Vice President, our great Vice President, comes through for us. He's a great guy. Of course, if he doesn't come through, I won't like him quite as much." pic.twitter.com/1eYA5bva7M
— The Hill (@thehill) January 5, 2021
“There’s nothing the radical Democrats won’t do to get in power they so desperately crave, even the outright stealing of elections like they are trying to do with us. We’re not going to let it happen,” Trump said.
“And I hope Mike Pence comes through for us, I have to tell you,” he added. “I hope that our great vice president, our great vice president comes through for us. He’s a great guy. Of course, if he doesn’t come through, I won’t like him quite as much.”
The 12th Amendment narrowly defines the vice president’s role as to “open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted.”
The Electoral Count Act of 1887 further states the vice president has the authority to introduce electors alphabetically by state, and can “call for objections when electoral votes are announced and to state the results of those objections after the House and Senate meet separately to consider them,” the National Constitution Center noted.
But there’s plenty of ambiguity here.
Pence did not support Gohmert’s lawsuit, but his chief of staff, Marc Short, said the vice president “welcomes the efforts” of lawmakers to “use the authority they have under the law to raise objections and bring forward evidence,” USA Today reported.
Speaking at a rally in Georgia last week, Pence said he would allow objections to the certified results to be heard.
“I promise you, come this Wednesday, we’ll have our day in Congress. We’ll hear the objections. We’ll hear the evidence,” Pence said, according to the newspaper.
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