Pence informed Trump that he can't block Biden's win
January 6, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.
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Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday told President Donald Trump that he does not have the authority to block certification of President-elect Joe Biden's win when Congress meets to count electoral votes, sources told CNN.
(CNN)Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday told President Donald Trump that he does not have the authority to block certification of President-elect Joe Biden's win when Congress meets to count electoral votes, sources told CNN.
Trump, who already had turned up the pressure on Pence to steal the election, warned him that it would be politically "damaging" for Pence to refuse to block certification, according to a source familiar with the conversation.
Pence gently informed Trump during the meeting that the power doesn't exist for him to derail the process, the source added.
The vice president went on to tell Trump there are outliers saying that the authority exists, but Pence has been told by the White House Counsel's Office he doesn't have that authority, according to this source who was briefed on the conversation.
A senior Trump adviser added Pence could take on a more aggressive posture than what's been anticipated and said the vice president is likely to avoid an overly robotic performance that would anger Trump and his political base.
The adviser still said it's unlikely Pence will veer from his constitutional role during the proceedings and attempt to tilt the election toward Trump, something the vice president cannot do even if he tried.
"He might say he doesn't have the power to do certain things," the adviser said, anticipating that Pence is expected to explain the constitution allows him to only go so far in channeling Trump's feelings about the election.
Trump has repeatedly raised with his faithful vice president the notion he could delay or obstruct the Electoral College certification, people familiar with the conversations say, setting up a test of Pence's loyalty at the culmination of his four years of service.
Trump, based on arguments from a fringe set of lawyers and certain White House officials, has argued that instead of simply acting in his constitutionally prescribed pro forma role, Pence could delay the certification beyond Wednesday and ultimately force the question of who won the election to either the House of Representatives or the Supreme Court.
"The Vice President has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors," Trump declared falsely, lending credence to an erroneous theory that Pence can overturn the results of the election during Wednesday's tally of Electoral College votes and again pressuring his top lieutenant to act outside constitutional bounds.