Trump promises ‘orderly transition’ on Jan. 20 after Electoral College results certified


President Trump promised an “orderly transition” on Jan. 20 after Congress early Thursday certified the Electoral College vote that gave Democrat Joe Biden his presidential victory.

The certification came after a day in Washington, D.C., that was marred by pro-Trump protesters storming the U.S. Capitol.

BIDEN’S ELECTORAL COLLEGE VICTORY CERTIFIED — HOURS AFTER CAPITOL CHAOS

Dan Scavino, the White House deputy chief of staff, posted a statement from Trump on Twitter that called for calm in the early hours of Thursday morning.

“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th,” the statement read. “I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!”

Supporters of President Trump are confronted by U.S. Capitol Police officers outside the Senate Chamber inside the Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington.
(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Trump had encouraged his supporters to march on the Capitol to protest lawmakers’ actions, and later appeared to excuse the violent occupation by the mob, which forced its way inside and clashed with police.

Members of Congress were forced into hiding, offices were ransacked, and the formal congressional tally halted for more than six hours.

COMEY SAYS BIDEN ATTORNEY GENERAL SHOULD NOT INVESTIGATE TRUMP

Authorities said four people died during the violence, including one woman who was shot by an officer outside the House chamber.

Detractors of the president criticized him for stoking anger among his supporters and said a violent incident was inevitable. They said the president has been pushing the false narrative about election interference for the past month and his presidency was bound to end in chaos.

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Twitter, Facebook and Instagram temporarily suspended the president from posting on their platforms.

Fox News’ Adam Shaw and Edmund DeMarche and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Senate Rejects Objection to Pennsylvania Electoral Votes 7-92



The Senate overwhelmingly rejected an objection to Pennsylvania’s electoral votes with a final vote of 7-92 early Thursday morning.

The Senate vote was triggered by Sen. Josh Hawley and Rep. Scott Perry, who both submitted a protest of the electors from the commonwealth. While the House went to a debate over the objection, Senate Republicans agreed not to debate the objection before taking a vote.

Those who voted to object to the state’s electoral votes were Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Rick Scott (FL), Roger Marshall (R-KS), and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL).

Sens. Lummis and Scott not support the earlier objection to the Arizona vote but supported the objection to Pennsylvania.

Sen John Kennedy (R-LA), supported the objection to Arizona did not support the objection to the electoral voters from Pennsylvania.

The Senate remains adjourned until the House finishes debate over the Pennsylvania electoral college vote for President-elect Joe Biden over President Donald Trump.

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Electoral College Vote Count: Live Updates


Vice President Mike Pence taking part in a joint session of Congress to certify the 2020 election results on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.
Credit…Erin Schaff/Pool, via Reuters

A lobbying group for the manufacturing industry — an entity once aligned with the Trump administration — urged Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday to utilize powers within the constitution to remove President Trump from office after Mr. Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol.

In a lengthy statement, the National Association of Manufacturers termed the violent incursion at the Capitol complex as “mob rule” that it said was fueled by Mr. Trump.

The 14,000-member group, which last year honored Ivanka Trump, the president’s eldest daughter, said that Mr. Trump was not fit for office.

“This is sedition and should be treated as such,” the group said. “The outgoing president incited violence in an attempt to retain power, and any elected leader defending him is violating their oath to the Constitution and rejecting democracy in favor of anarchy.”

The association called on Mr. Pence to use a constitutional mechanism that provides the vice president and a majority of the cabinet — the officials who lead executive agencies — with the ability to declare that the president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” Both the Senate and House would be required to approve such a measure by a two-thirds vote.

“Vice President Pence, who was evacuated from the Capitol, should seriously consider working with the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to preserve democracy,” the group said.

Most of those calling for Mr. Trump’s removal as president 14 days before he is slated to leave office were Democrats, but there were some exceptions.

Governor Phil Scott, Republican of Vermont, said on Twitter that Mr. Trump should be ousted.

“The fabric of our democracy and the principles of our republic are under attack by the president,” he said. “Enough is enough. President Trump should resign or be removed from office by his Cabinet, or by the Congress.”

President Donald Trump’s taped message from the White House was removed by Twitter.
Credit…Pete Marovich for The New York Times

Twitter on Wednesday took the extraordinary step of locking President Trump’s account, depriving the president of his favorite means of communication after violent Trump supporters stormed the Capitol and swarmed the streets of Washington.

Twitter took the harder line after removing three of Mr. Trump’s tweets, which it said had violated a company policy that forbids using the platform “for the purpose of manipulating or interfering in elections or other civic processes.”

Twitter said it was acting “as a result of the unprecedented and ongoing violent situation in Washington, D.C.”

“This means that the account of @realDonaldTrump will be locked for 12 hours following the removal of these Tweets,” the company said on Twitter. “If the Tweets are not removed, the account will remain locked.”

The tweets that were removed repeated Mr. Trump’s false claims of election fraud and expressed praise and sympathy for those who had forced their way into the Capitol and disrupted Congress’s certification of the election results. Twitter also removed a video in which Mr. Trump repeated his baseless claim that “the election was stolen” and advised the mob to “go home,” while adding, “We love you.”

A supporter of President Trump struggles with a riot policeman after the protester pushed a line of police outside the Capitol building.
Credit…Roberto Schmidt/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Credit…Leah Millis/Reuters
Credit…Michael Reynolds/EPA, via Shutterstock
Credit…Olivier Douliery/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Credit…Jim Bourg/Reuters

Sen. Mitt Romney at the Capitol before the protestors arrived.
Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, condemned President Trump on Wednesday night for the breaching of the U.S. Capitol by his supporters, saying that the president bore direct responsibility for the violence that disrupted the counting of electoral votes by Congress.

“What happened here today was an insurrection, incited by the president of the United States,” Mr. Romney said in a statement. “Those who choose to continue to support his dangerous gambit by objecting to the results of a legitimate, democratic election will forever be seen as being complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy.”

Mr. Romney, the lone Republican in the Senate who voted to convict Mr. Trump last year on one of two articles of impeachment, has been the target of verbal attacks by Mr. Trump’s supporters in recent days. Videos showed one of the president’s followers confronting Mr. Romney before a flight at Salt Lake City International Airport earlier this week. He was later heckled by Mr. Trump’s supporters aboard a flight.

In his statement, Mr. Romney, who was the Republican presidential nominee in 2012, said that the objections to the counting of Electoral College votes for President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. was because of “a selfish man’s injured pride.” He said that Mr. Trump had misinformed his supporters and stirred their outburst.

“They will be remembered for their role in this shameful episode in American history,” he said of Mr. Trump’s supporters. “That will be their legacy.”

Former President George W. Bush, the only living Republican former president, also denounced the actions of those who stormed the Capitol. He did not mention Mr. Trump by name.

“It is a sickening and heartbreaking sight,” Mr. Bush said. “This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic — not our democratic republic. I am appalled by the reckless behavior of some political leaders since the election and by the lack of respect shown today for our institutions, our traditions and our law enforcement.”

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Some of the protesters who stormed the Capitol on Wednesday came in costume — dressed like Vikings, pioneers or soldiers in camouflage. Many had faces painted with American flags and others carried elaborate signs.

Credit…Saul Loeb/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Credit…Samuel Corum/Getty Images
Credit…Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press
Credit…Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA, via Shutterstock

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the Capitol on Wednesday morning.
Credit…Pool photo by Erin Schaff

Lawmakers will resume counting Electoral College votes on Wednesday after a mob of Trump loyalists stormed the Capitol, Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said, as she vowed that the attack could not “deter us from our responsibility to validate the election of Joe Biden.”

Ms. Pelosi, in a letter to colleagues, said she had reached that decision after consulting with her leadership team and a series of calls with the Pentagon, the Justice Department and Vice President Mike Pence. She made no mention of the president.

‘We always knew this responsibility would take us into the night,” Ms. Pelosi wrote. “We also knew that we would be a part of history in a positive way, today, despite ill-founded objections to the Electoral College vote. We now will be part of history, as such a shameful picture of our country was put out to the world, instigated at the highest level.”

President Trump sent a tweet in which he reiterated the false claim that the election was stolen.
Credit…Will Oliver/EPA, via Shutterstock

In what could be interpreted as an attempt to stoke the flames of a Capitol mob which has begun to disperse, President Trump sent a tweet at around 6 p.m. in which he reiterated the false claim that the election was stolen and encouraged his supporters to “remember this day” going forward.

“These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long,” he tweeted. “Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”

Twitter later took down the tweet, saying that it had violated the company’s rules.

Mr. Trump also posted a video in which he repeated his baseless claims of widespread election fraud on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. All three social media sites removed the video.

Police officers in riot gear lined up in front of the Capitol after it was overrun by a mob.
Credit…Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

A woman who was shot inside the Capitol building after it was overrun by a pro-Trump mob has died, Washington D.C. police officials said on Wednesday.

The woman has not been identified and no information has been released about who may have shot her. Chief Robert J. Contee of the Metropolitan Police Department said earlier that she was a “civilian” and that his officers were leading the investigation.

The woman was pronounced dead at a local hospital, Dustin Sternbeck, a spokesman for the police department, said in an email. Mr. Sternbeck said he did not yet know who shot her or have any other details.

A video posted to Twitter earlier on Wednesday appeared to show a shooting in the Capitol.

The woman in the video seemed to climb onto a small ledge next to a doorway inside the building immediately before a single loud bang is heard. The woman, draped in a flag, fell to the ground at the top of a stairwell. A man with a helmet and a military-style rifle stood next to her after she fell, and shouts of “police” could be heard as a man in a suit approached the woman and crouched next to her.

“Where’s she hit?” people yelled as blood streamed around her mouth.

The House gallery was evacuated during the invasion.
Credit…Andrew Harnik/Associated Press

Within minutes of the mob breaching the Capitol complex, rioters were pounding on the doors of the House gallery, where a group of lawmakers were trapped.

“I thought we’d have to fight our way out,” said Representative Jason Crow, Democrat of Colorado and a former Army Ranger who served in Iraq.

Mr. Crow said he moved other members away from the barricaded door inside the gallery, helped them don gas masks, told them to take off the lapel pins assigned to all House members and took out his only possible weapon — a pen.

After 15 minutes, he said, Capitol Police and SWAT team members on a rescue mission hustled the members out by clearing a path outside the gallery, above the House floor.

With police in the lead, guns drawn, the lawmakers entered a scene of chaos and mayhem, Mr. Crow said. Some police rushed to barricade doors to block rioters. Others pinned protesters to the ground to allow the lawmakers to pass.

“We heard yelling through the halls,” said Mr. Crow, who described bringing up the rear to ensure all the members made it to safety. As police led the members down stairwells and into the subterranean maze of tunnels to a secure location, Mr. Crow said he called his wife, who had been watching the terrifying scene on television from Colorado.

Mr. Crow said lawmakers were determined to resume their work in the Capitol on Wednesday night, if possible, once the buildings were cleared of remaining threats. “We want to go back and finish the business of the people to show that we are a democracy, and that the government is stronger than any mob,” he said.

Trump supporters clashing with the police as they stormed the Capitol.
Credit…Brendan Smialowski/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images

Police seized five guns and arrested at least 13 people during the violent protests involving supporters of President Trump at the Capitol on Wednesday, Chief Robert J. Contee of the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department said on Wednesday.

Chief Contee said the firearms included handguns and long guns. He also noted that none of the people arrested were residents of the District of Columbia.

At the same news conference, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser called the violent protests, where Trump supporters looted and vandalized congressional offices, “shameful” and “unpatriotic.”

And she pledged that “anyone who has engaged in these activities” will be held accountable. “There will be law and order and this behavior will not be tolerated,” she said.

Law enforcement officers in the Capitol building on Wednesday. 
Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

The sergeant-at-arms, who is responsible for Congress’s security, has told lawmakers and reporters that the Capitol is now secure, though lawmakers, staff and reporters continue to shelter in much of the Capitol complex.

Lawmakers in both parties have called for the certification process of the Electoral College votes to resume with the securing of the building. No word yet if and when that will begin.

Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, the No. 3 Democrat in the House, vowed that Congress would continue the counting on Wednesday night.

“I have faced violent hatred before,” Mr. Clyburn said on Twitter. “I was not deterred then, and I will not be deterred now. Tonight, Congress will continue the business of certifying the Electoral College votes.”

Mr. Clyburn, an instrumental early supporter of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., condemned the breach of the Capitol.

“This authoritarian menace will not succeed in his attempts to overthrow our democratically elected government,” he said, apparently referring to President Trump. “I am praying for the safety and security of the public servants who are dedicated to making this country a ‘more perfect union.’ ”

Credit…Adam Goldman/The New York Times

One of the members of the mob that breached the Capitol was seen outside the building displaying part of the sign that marked the entrance to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office. Multiple photos haven been tweeted out from inside Ms. Pelosi’s offices, which were vacated so quickly that some staffers left their email programs up on their screens.

Senator Ben Sasse before Congress met on Wednesday.
Credit…Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Senator Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska, was unsparing in his criticism of President Trump as the instigator of the day’s events.

“Today, the United States Capitol — the world’s greatest symbol of self-government — was ransacked while the leader of the free world cowered behind his keyboard — tweeting against his vice president for fulfilling the duties of his oath to the Constitution,” he said in a statement.

“Lies have consequences,” he continued. “This violence was the inevitable and ugly outcome of the president’s addiction to constantly stoking division.”

He added: “Americans are better than this: Americans aren’t nihilists. Americans aren’t arsonists. Americans aren’t French revolutionaries taking to the barricades.”

The deployment of federal agents signaled the growing alarm with which federal officials viewed the chaos swirling around the Capitol building.
Credit…Brendan Smialowski/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A column of F.B.I. and Department of Homeland Security agents in riot gear entered the Dirksen Senate Office Building around 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, and officers from Washington’s police force headed to the Capitol in a show of force to end violent protests, looting and vandalism.

A Metropolitan Police commander instructed his officers to stay calm because “it could get crazy in there.”

The F.B.I. had previously considered sending officers to patrol Washington streets in the wake of protests last June, but ultimately decided not to deploy the agents for the planned rally.

“The F.B.I. has been deployed to assist our U.S. Capitol Police partners, as requested, in protection of federal property and public safety,” the F.B.I. statement said.

The F.B.I. would not say how many of its agents were deployed to the Capitol. But a former government official said that earlier on Wednesday all F.B.I. agents in the Washington region were alerted that they could be called to Downtown Washington.

Chris Miller, the acting secretary of defense, also pledged support, saying he had spoken to Vice President Mike Pence and congressional leaders and has “fully activated the D.C. National Guard to assist federal and local law enforcement as they work to peacefully address the situation.”

He continued, “Our people are sworn to defend the Constitution and our democratic form of government and they will act accordingly.”

The pro-Trump mob scaled walls, knocked over barriers and occupied the Capitol for hours. The unrest continued, even as President Trump asked for protesters to remain peaceful, and Vice President Mike Pence asked for the group to disperse.



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What time does Congress meet today and what happens if it objects to the electoral college?


The Conversation

In Mike Pence, US evangelicals had their ’24-karat-gold’ man in the White House. Loyalty may tarnish that legacy

Mike Pence has remained one of the only constants in the often chaotic Trump administration.Variously described as “vanilla,” “steady” and loyal to the point of being “sycophantic,” he is, in the words of one profile, an “everyman’s man with Midwest humility and approachability,” and in another, a “61-year-old, soft-spoken, deeply religious man.”But that humility and loyalty are being tested as his tenure as vice president draws to an end. “I hope Mike Pence comes through for us,” Trump told supporters at a rally on Monday, seemingly under the mistaken belief that Pence can overturn the election result as he presides over the Electoral College vote count at a joint session of Congress today. Balancing the ticketThroughout the past four years, the vice president has offered a striking contrast to the mercurial, abrasive temperament of his commander in chief. Indeed, in his acceptance speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention, Pence joked that he’d been chosen because Trump, with his “large personality,” “colorful style,” and “lots of charisma,” was “looking for some balance on the ticket.” Commentators have attributed Pence’s steadiness to his Hoosier roots and his “savvy political operator” skills. But it is his religious beliefs that perhaps inform his politics and style more than anything else; as Pence has oft repeated, he is “a Christian, conservative and Republican – in that order.” In a 2011 profile during Pence’s run for Indiana governor, noted state political columnist Brian Howey remarked, “Pence doesn’t just wear his faith on his sleeve, he wears the whole Jesus jersey.”It isn’t a characterization that Pence has shied away from. “My Christian faith is at the very heart of who I am,” Pence said during the 2016 vice presidential debate.Richard Land, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and current president of Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, told the Atlantic in 2018, “Mike Pence is the 24-karat-gold model of what we want in an evangelical politician. I don’t know anyone who’s more consistent in bringing his evangelical Christian worldview to public policy.” But as a scholar of U.S. religion and culture, I believe that Pence’s faith and political identities are more complex than these statements suggest. In fact, one can trace three distinct conversion experiences in his biography. Three-point conversionGrowing up in an Irish Catholic family with five siblings, working-class roots and Democratic political commitments, Pence attended Catholic school, served as an altar boy at his family’s church, idolized John F. Kennedy and was a youth coordinator for the local Democratic Party in his teens.It was as a freshman at Hanover College in 1978 that Pence experienced an evangelical conversion while attending a music festival in Kentucky billed as the “Christian Woodstock.”For some years afterward he remained active in the Catholic Church, attending Mass regularly, serving as a youth minister and seriously considering joining the priesthood. At the same time, he and his future wife Karen were part of a demographic shift of Americans who “had grown up Catholic and still loved many things about the Catholic Church, but also really loved the concept of having a very personal relationship with Christ,” as a close friend put it.By the mid-1990s he was a married father of three who identified as a “born-again, evangelical Catholic,” an unusual term that has caused some consternation among both evangelicals and Catholics.In subsequent interviews, Pence has spoken freely about how his 1978 conversion gave him a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ” that “changed everything.” But he has tended to avoid labeling his religious views when pressed, referring to himself as a “pretty ordinary Christian” who “cherishes his Catholic upbringing.” He has attended nondenominational evangelical churches with his family since at least 1995. Pence’s political conversion was more clear cut. Though he voted for Jimmy Carter in the 1980 presidential election, he quickly came to embrace Ronald Reagan’s economic and social conservatism and his populist appeal. In a 2016 speech at the Reagan Library, Pence credited Reagan with inspiring him to “leave the party of my youth and become a Republican like he did.” “His broad-shouldered leadership changed my life,” he said. Pence has frequently compared Trump to Reagan, arguing that they have the same “broad shoulders.”Pence ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1988 and 1990, and the second bruising loss precipitated a third conversion, this time in political style. In a 1991 published essay titled “Confessions of a Negative Campaigner,” he described himself as a sinner and wrote of his “conversion” to the belief that “negative campaigning is wrong.” Between 1992 and 1999, Pence honed his blend of family values and fiscal conservatism in an eponymous conservative talk show.The show’s popularity provided a springboard to a successful run for Congress in 2000. During his six terms in the House, Pence acquired a reputation for “unalloyed traditional conservatism” and principled opposition to Republican Party leadership on issues like No Child Left Behind and Medicare prescription drug expansion. Religious actsIn addition to his “unsullied” reputation as a “culture warrior,” he also attracted attention for following the “Billy Graham Rule” of avoiding meeting with women alone and avoiding events where alcohol was served when his wife was not present. During the 2016 vice presidential debate, Pence said that his entire career in public service stems from a commitment to “live out” his religious beliefs, “however imperfectly.”One of those beliefs is his opposition to abortion, grounded in his reading of particular biblical passages. As a congressman in 2007, he was the first to sponsor legislation defunding Planned Parenthood, and did so repeatedly until the first defunding bill passed in 2011. “I long for the day when Roe v. Wade is sent to the ash heap of history,” he said at the time.In 2016, over the objections of many Republican state representatives, he signed the most restrictive set of anti-abortion measures in the country into law, making him a conservative hero. Among other things, the bill prevented women from terminating pregnancies for reasons including fetal disability such as Down syndrome. Although opponents succeeded in getting the bill overturned in the courts, Indiana is still seen as one of the most anti-abortion states in America.As vice president, Pence also cast the tie-breaking Senate vote to allow states to withhold federal family planning funds from Planned Parenthood in 2017.Pence has also been an outspoken opponent of LGBTQ rights. He opposed the inclusion of sexual orientation in hate crimes legislation and the end of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. He likewise supported both state and federal constitutional amendments to ban same-sex marriage, and expressed disappointment at the 2015 Obergefell decision, which required all states to recognize such unions.At the same time he has been a strong supporter of “religious freedom,” particularly for Christians.In March 2015, as Indiana governor, he signed the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act “to ensure that religious liberty is fully protected.” The act ignited a firestorm of nationwide controversy: Critics alleged that it would allow for individuals and businesses to legally discriminate against members of the LGBTQ community. Under pressure from LGBTQ activists, liberals, business owners and moderate Republicans, Pence signed an amendment a week later stipulating that it did not authorize discrimination. Staked reputationPence’s religious and political biography mirrors key political and religious shifts over the past 40 years, from the rise of the religious right and its growing influence in the Republican Party to the conservative coalition of evangelicals and Catholics across denominational lines, to the legacy of the “outsider” celebrity president.These threads converge in Mike Pence, whose “24-karat,” “unalloyed” conservative credentials were instrumental in rallying evangelical voters behind Trump in the 2016 election and who has staked his political future on continuing to defend him.This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. It was written by: Deborah Whitehead, University of Colorado Boulder.Read more: * Why Trump’s Senate supporters can’t overturn Electoral College results they don’t like – here’s how the law actually works * What’s next for American evangelicals after Trump leaves office?Deborah Whitehead does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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Electoral College objections in Congress: What to know


The House and Senate will convene at 1 p.m. Wednesday for a joint session of Congress to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral win, and a group of GOP lawmakers intends to raise objections to the results. 

The traditional tally of the electoral results from each state is the final stage in the selection of an American president. It’s normally a lackluster procedure, but President Trump has changed that by calling on his GOP allies in Congress to fight for him until the bitter end.

A good number have stood with Trump, but other Republicans have blasted the last gasp of resistance as detrimental to democracy and counter to the U.S. Constitution. 

“To challenge a state’s certification, given how specific the Constitution is, would be a violation of my oath of office—that is not something I am willing to do and is not something Oklahomans would want me to do,” Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., said in a statement Tuesday in announcing he will be accepting Biden’s win. 

On the other end of the divided Republican Party are lawmakers who are responding to the frustrations of voters who continue to believe that the election was stolen from Trump. More demonstrations are planned in Washington, D.C., and Trump is expected to address the crowds at 11 a.m.

Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., have said at least 100 House Republicans are supporting the objections. In the Senate, at least 13 Republicans have said they’ll object to the results in some fashion, with Sens. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, leading the way. 

LOEFFLER TO OBJECT TO CERTIFICATION OF PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION RESULTS

“I don’t know the outcome, but I think it’s worth fighting for,” Greene told Fox News of the final effort to stop the certification.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene speaks to Trump supporters. (Twitter/@mtgreenee)

Greene hopes the objections will set off a debate in Congress over the allegations of voter fraud that courts thus far have not taken up. Greene spoke to Trump about election irregularities abroad Air Force One when she accompanied him to a rally in Georgia Monday night. 

“It’s our duty to object,” Greene said. “… The American people deserve to at least start to hear the evidence of fraud.”

To prepare for the debate, the House Judiciary Committee GOP staff prepared a 41-page memo outlining alleged electoral problems in six states, such as making mail-in ballots more readily available during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The last-minute push for all-mail in voting in many states, coupled with moves to erase long-standing safeguards for mail-in voting, created conditions ripe for election administration errors or election-related crimes,” the memo obtained by Fox News states.

House Republicans are preparing to object to the electoral votes in at least six states that Biden won — Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Nevada. As of Tuesday afternoon, it was unclear how many states would get support from a senator, which is necessary for any debate to begin.

Cruz will object to Arizona, with a focus on creating an Electoral College commission to audit the results and not necessarily for setting aside the election results, according to a source familiar. And Hawley has narrowed in on Pennsylvania. 

GOP SENATORS ‘STILL DISCUSSING’ WHICH STATES TO OBJECT TO DURING JAN. 6 ELECTORAL COLLEGE CERTIFICATION

Biden won the Electoral College vote 306-232, but Trump has refused to concede and has instead repeated unproven allegations of widespread vote fraud that have been rejected by the Supreme Court, his attorney general, state election officials and dozens of other courts. 

Some Democrats have objected to election results in the past when GOP presidents have won, but they’ve come out strong against this last-ditch effort.

Rep. Steny Hoyer, the House majority leader, says Trump’s ongoing claims of voter fraud are “seditious” and blasted Republican leaders who have refused to acknowledge that Biden won the election fair and square. 

TRUMP PUTS PRESSURE ON PENCE AHEAD OF ELECTION SHOWDOWN IN CONGRESS

“They have cavalierly supported by their silence, or by their active participation the president’s false claim — his, in many ways, seditious claim — that the vote was not fair,” Hoyer said Tuesday. “…It’s a tragedy that they have done so.”

Here are some things to know before the Joint Session convenes:

Vice President Mike Pence waves as he walks off the stage after speaking at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit, Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020, in West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Vice President Mike Pence waves as he walks off the stage after speaking at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit, Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020, in West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

VP Mike Pence will play a ceremonial role

When the House and Senate meet together Wednesday at 1 p.m., Vice President Mike Pence is expected to preside over the Joint Session of Congress. 

Trump has placed pressure on Pence to help him out during this process, insisting that Pence has the power to object to ballots and telling a Georgia crowd Monday that he hopes Pence “comes through for us.”

But regardless of how much the president turns up the volume on his vice president, White House officials tell Fox News that Pence will “follow the law” on Wednesday.

The electoral votes are brought into the House chamber in mahogany boxes.

Pence will begin the tally of votes from each state in alphabetical order starting with Alabama and then Alaska. 

The first expected objection is to come from Arizona, where Biden won. 

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks at a campaign rally for Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021, in Cumming, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks at a campaign rally for Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021, in Cumming, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Objections only work if there’s support from both a senator and a representative.

Under the Electoral Count Act, a petitioner from both the House and Senate are required to challenge a state’s slate of electoral votes, and the objection must be in writing.

Cruz has indicated he’ll join the House in objecting to Arizona, according to a source familiar. Cruz has led a group of about a dozen senators who say they would object to the certification of the Electoral College results unless there was an emergency 10-day audit of the results by an electoral commission. Cruz is expected to raise the Electoral College commission issue — but not settling aside the election results altogether. 

The debate is slated for two hours with Democrats and Republicans taking turns talking.

Once there is a joint objection, the senators will go back to their chamber, and the House will stay in its chamber to debate the merits of that state’s electors. 

Members will have a five-minute speaking limit. 

In this March 3, 2020, file photo, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., talks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

In this March 3, 2020, file photo, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., talks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Democrats have former impeachment managers leading their debate.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tapped Rep. Adam Schiff, chair of the Intelligence Committee, and Rep. Zoe Lofgren, chair of the House Administration Committee, to lead to Democratic response. Both are former impeachment managers. 

Others prepared to lead the debate are Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., a constitutional law professor, and Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., who sits on the Judiciary Committee. 

Democrats who represent the state that is being challenged will also speak in defense of the validity of the election results. 

A vote of both the majority of the House and Senate is needed to throw out a state’s slate of electors.

After the debate, the House and Senate will both vote on whether to accept that state’s electors.

It’s a roll call vote that will document how each lawmaker stands on each state’s electors.

It takes both the House and Senate to reject a state’s electoral votes. If that happens, the electoral slate just disappears. It would be as though Arizona never voted. 

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., speaks during the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett at the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Oct. 12, 2020. (Win McNamee/Pool via AP)

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., speaks during the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett at the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Oct. 12, 2020. (Win McNamee/Pool via AP)

This could take a very, very long time. 

After the votes on that particular state, the House and Senate resume jointly again and begin the tally for the rest of the states. 

If there is another joint objection, the House and Senate separate again for another two hours of debate and a vote on that contested state.

The time needed to separate, debate and vote on each state could be three to four hours.

The process repeats itself until all the states are counted.

The votes are not on Trump’s side

Since Democrats control the House and enough Republicans in both the House and Senate accept that Trump lost the election, these objections are a longshot effort.

At the end of the process, Biden and Kamala Harris are expected to be certified as the next president and vice president of the United States.

Their inauguration would be on Jan. 20. 

Fox News’ Chad Pergram, Jason Donner and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report. 

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Congress set to confirm Biden’s electoral win over Trump


WASHINGTON —
U.S. President Donald Trump’s extraordinary effort to overturn the presidential election is going before Congress as lawmakers convene for a joint session to confirm the Electoral College vote won by Joe Biden.

The typically routine proceeding Wednesday will be anything but, a political confrontation unseen since the aftermath of the Civil War as Trump mounts a desperate effort stay in office. The president’s Republican allies in the House and Senate plan to object to the election results, heeding supporters’ plea to “fight for Trump” as he stages a rally outside the White House. It’s tearing the party apart.

The longshot effort is all but certain to fail, defeated by bipartisan majorities in Congress prepared to accept the results. Biden, who won the Electoral College 306-232, is set to be inaugurated Jan. 20.

“The most important part is that, in the end, democracy will prevail here,” Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, among those managing the proceedings, said in an interview.

The joint session of Congress, required by law, will convene at 1 p.m. EST under a watchful, restless nation — months after the the Nov. 3 election, two weeks before the inauguration’s traditional peaceful transfer of power and against the backdrop of a surging COVID-19 pandemic.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who warned his party off this challenge, is expected to deliver early remarks. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, set to gavel proceedings on her side of the Capitol, called it a day of “enormous historic significance.” It is about “guaranteeing trust in our democratic system,” she said in a letter to colleagues.

But it is Vice-President Mike Pence who will be closely watched as he presides over the session.

Despite Trump’s repeated claims of voter fraud, election officials and his own former attorney general have said there were no problems on a scale that would change the outcome. All the states have certified their results as fair and accurate, by Republican and Democratic officials alike.

Pence has a largely ceremonial role, opening the sealed envelopes from the states after they are carried in mahogany boxes used for the occasion, and reading the results aloud. But he is under growing pressure from Trump to tip it to the president’s favour, despite having no power to affect the outcome.

While other vice-presidents, including Al Gore and Richard Nixon, also presided over their own defeats, Pence supports those Republican lawmakers mounting challenges to the 2020 outcome.

“I hope that our great vice-president comes through for us,” Trump said at a rally in Georgia this week. “He’s a great guy. Of course, if he doesn’t come through, I won’t like him quite as much.”

It’s not the first time lawmakers have challenged results. Democrats did in 2017 and 2005. But the intensity of Trump’s challenge is like nothing in modern times, and an outpouring of current and elected GOP officials warn the showdown is sowing distrust in government and eroding Americans’ faith in democracy.

“There is no constitutionally viable means for the Congress to overturn an election,” said Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., announcing his refusal to join the effort on the eve of the session.

Still, more than a dozen Republican senators led by Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas, along with as many as 100 House Republicans, are pressing ahead to raise objections to the state results of Biden’s win.

Under the rules of the joint session, any objection to a state’s electoral tally needs to be submitted in writing by at least one member of the House and one of the Senate to be considered. Each objection will force two hours of deliberations in the House and Senate, ensuring a long day.

House Republican lawmakers are signing on to objections to the electoral votes in six states — Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Arizona will likely the be the first to be disputed as the state tallies are announced in alphabetical order, and Cruz has said he will join House Republicans in objecting to that state.

Hawley has said he will object to the election results from Pennsylvania, almost ensuring a second two-hour debate despite resistance from the state’s Republican senator, Pat Toomey, who said the tally of Biden’s win is accurate.

Sen. Kelly Loeffler may challenge the results in her state of Georgia. But it’s unclear if any of the other senators will object to any other state, as lawmakers were still devising a strategy.

Democrats have the majority in the House and the Republican-led Senate is divided over the issue. Bipartisan majorities in both chambers are expected to soundly reject the objections.

The group led by Cruz is vowing to object unless Congress agreed to form a commission to investigate the election, but that seems unlikely.

Those with Cruz are Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, James Lankford of Oklahoma, Steve Daines of Montana, John Kennedy of Louisiana, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Mike Braun of Indiana, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Roger Marshall of Kansas, Bill Hagerty of Tennessee and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama.

Trump has vowed to “fight like hell” to stay in office. He said at a rally in Georgia the electors voting for Biden are “not gonna take this White House!”

Many of the Republicans challenging the results said they are trying to give voice to voters back home who don’t trust the outcome of the election and want to see the lawmakers fighting for Trump.

Hawley defended his role saying his constituents have been “loud and clear” about their distrust of the election. “It is my responsibility as a senator to raise their concerns,” he wrote to colleagues.

As criticism mounted, Cruz insisted his aim was “not to set aside the election” but to investigate the claims of voting problems. He has produced no new evidence.

Both Hawley and Cruz are potential 2024 presidential contenders, vying for Trump’s base of supporters.

Lawmakers are being told by Capitol officials to arrive early, due to safety precautions with protesters in Washington. Visitors, who typically fill the galleries to watch landmark proceedings, will not be allowed under COVID-19 restrictions.

——

Associated Press writers Kevin Freking in Dalton, Ga., and Bill Barrow in Atlanta contributed to this report.

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On the Electoral College Certification Vote: The Atlantic Daily


What do we know about that strain? Zeynep Tufekci, a contributing writer with a knack for prediction, called it a ticking time bomb.

A more transmissible variant of COVID-19 is a potential catastrophe in and of itself … The short-term implications of all this are significant, and worthy of attention, even as we await more clarity from data. In fact, we should act quickly especially as we await more clarity—lack of data and the threat of even faster exponential growth argue for more urgency of action.

Continue reading.

What to read if … you’re looking to better understand the current state of the outbreak:

Tonight’s Atlantic-approved pandemic activity:

“I’m just a kindly winter evangelist, standing in front of your outdoor restaurant table, asking you to put on a hat.”

With the right gear and preparations, outdoor activities are manageable even in the coldest months, our staff writer Marina Koren argues.

Today’s break from the news:

Set New Year’s resolutions that will actually lead to happiness.


Dear Therapist

BIANCA BAGNARELLI

For the first half of 2021, Lori Gottlieb’s column will be on hiatus while she writes her next book. During that time, Rebecca J. Rosen, the column’s editor, will revisit some of Lori’s best work.

This month’s theme, to honor the arrival of the new year, is “starting over.” Reread Lori’s advice to four readers “who find themselves confronting a new era of their lives.”


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Tom Cotton Stands up Against Electoral College Challengers: Would ‘Establish Unwise Precedents’



Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) became the first Republican senator on Sunday night who is actually a supporter of President Donald Trump’s agenda to oppose a challenge of the electoral college, issuing a statement saying he is concerned it would create dangerous precedents that Democrats would all but certainly use in the future to undermine election integrity.

Cotton’s statement comes after a dozen Republican senators last week, beginning with Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) and continuing this weekend with a group led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), joined what is expected to be more than a hundred House Republicans in challenging the certification of the electoral college before a joint session of Congress on Wednesday.

It is worth noting that Cotton, in his statement, said he agrees that there are concerns about the election irregularities and that he backs a commission to study this and propose reforms.

“I share the concerns of many Arkansans about irregularities in the presidential election, especially in states that rushed through election-law changes to relax standards for voting-by-mail,” Cotton said. “I also share their disappointment with the election results. I, therefore, support a commission to study the last election and propose reforms to protect the integrity of our elections. And after Republicans win in Georgia, the Senate should also hold more hearings on these matters. All Americans deserve to have confidence in the elections that undergird our free government.”

Vice President Mike Pence, who said through a spokesman he welcomes the challenges, will oversee the joint session of Congress at which this challenge will take place. The challenges will ultimately fail because after House members object to the certification of a state’s slated electors then senators uphold the challenge, the two chambers of Congress retreat and debate and then vote on the challenges. Democrats control the House majority, and even though their majority is slimmer than before November’s elections, it is impossible to see any Democrats breaking ranks — never mind enough to sustain a challenge. Meanwhile, in the Senate, there were already — before Cotton’s statement — more than enough Republicans opposed to the challenges to stop a majority in the GOP-controlled Senate from succeeding. Therefore, the vote is simply symbolic and will not result in the electoral college’s votes to make Democrat Joe Biden the president-elect being overturned or in doubt.

Cotton’s statement continues by explaining that he believes this challenge by Congress to the electoral college is a perversion of the Founders’ intent to have the states run elections, not Congress.

“Nevertheless, the Founders entrusted our elections chiefly to the states — not Congress. They entrusted the election of our president to the people, acting through the Electoral College — not Congress,” Cotton said. “And they entrusted the adjudication of election disputes to the courts — not Congress. Under the Constitution and federal law, Congress’s power is limited to counting electoral votes submitted by the states.”

As such, Cotton said, he believes this could create dangerous precedents that Democrats would all but certainly abuse in the future when it benefitted them politically.

“If Congress purported to overturn the results of the Electoral College, it would not only exceed that power but also establish unwise precedents,” Cotton said. “First, Congress would take away the power to choose the president from the people, which would essentially end presidential elections and place that power in the hands of whichever party controls Congress. Second, Congress would imperil the Electoral College, which gives small states like Arkansas a voice in presidential elections. Democrats could achieve their longstanding goal of eliminating the Electoral College in effect by refusing to count electoral votes in the future for a Republican president-elect. Third, Congress would take another big step toward federalizing election law, another long-standing Democratic priority that Republicans have consistently opposed.”

Because of all of this, and because this effort will not succeed anyway because supporters of it do not have the votes to pull it off, Cotton says he will not back the challenges. He concluded his statement as well by saying he thanks President Donald Trump for all of his successes during his administration and believes in what Trump accomplished, which is why he campaigned for him perhaps more than any other GOP senator — Cotton regularly cut ads that he paid for and aired in battleground states backing up Trump, something most other senators did not do.

“Thus, I will not oppose the counting of certified electoral votes on January 6,” Cotton said. “I’m grateful for what the president accomplished over the past four years, which is why I campaigned vigorously for his reelection. But objecting to certified electoral votes won’t give him a second term — it will only embolden those Democrats who want to erode further our system of constitutional government.”



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Congress set to certify Electoral College results despite GOP objections; here’s why


The House and Senate will meet for a joint session Wednesday to certify the Electoral College results, the last step in finalizing the presidential win for Joe Biden – but some GOP lawmakers are saying not so fast.

The Trump 2020 Campaign has led dozens of lawsuits in the attempt to overturn the election’s results, which saw Biden beat President Trump by 306-232 Electoral College votes.

The electoral vote was held Dec. 14, following the Nov. 3 popular vote.

Trump has continuously claimed that the election was fraudulent, despite former Attorney General William Barr announcing last month that the Justice Department had not “seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”

The U.S. Supreme Court has also refused to review two cases, and more than 50 lawsuits challenging the results have been thrown out in the lower courts.

But some GOP lawmakers say a 10-day emergency audit needs to be completed by an electoral commission to restore voters’ faith in the U.S. election process – a demand that has frustrated not only Democrats but is splitting the Republican Party. 

 A dozen Republican senators, led by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, have said they will object to the elections results if an audit is not completed.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks in Cumming, Ga., Jan. 2, 2021. (Associated Press)

Here’s what to expect Wednesday.

How the Electoral College vote is certified

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives meet every Jan. 6 following a presidential election to certify the states’ votes at 1 p.m. in the House Chamber.

As president of the Senate, Vice President Mike Pence will open the results of each state’s vote alphabetically, before handing them to two “tellers” from both the House and Senate to present the results.

Pence will ask if there are any objections to the results of every state, at which time a written objection can be presented as long as it has been signed by at least one representative and one senator.

The joint session is then suspended so both the Senate and the House can debate any objections separately for two hours, where each member may speak only once, and for no longer than five minutes.

Both chambers then vote on the objection, which requires a simple majority to be sustained. If the majority is not met then the objection is disposed and the state’s vote is counted.

Is anyone expected to object?

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., has lead the way for GOP lawmakers in the House to voice their objections, though until recently he did not have the backing of a senator.

Despite Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urging GOP senators to accept the results of the election — which saw Biden win the popular tally by 7 million votes — Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., announced earlier this week that he would be objecting to results from some states, such as Pennsylvania, where he contests the legitimacy of the mail-in votes counted. He was then joined by another group of eleven senators, who on Saturday demanded a 10-day audit.  

But it’s not only Democrats that have voiced their frustrations over the calls for an electoral commission: Rep. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., has rejected the demand, saying Trump’s loss was “explained by the decline in suburban support.”

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Dec. 10, 2020. (Associated Press)

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Dec. 10, 2020. (Associated Press)

“A fundamental, defining feature of a democratic republic is the right of the people to elect their own leaders,” Toomey said in a Saturday statement. “The effort by Senators Hawley, Cruz, and others to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in swing states like Pennsylvania directly undermines this right.”

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, called the move an “egregious ploy” and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said she would uphold the Electoral College vote because she “swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution.”

Will Republicans be able to overturn a state’s vote?

Brooks told Fox News on Saturday night that more than 50 members of Congress have committed to objecting to results in states “who’s election systems were untrustworthy.”

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And while the number of GOP objectors is likely to be substantial, they would have to have a simple majority in the House to successfully get through an objection – which would require the backing of every Republican and some Democrats who hold the House majority.

The same holds true in the Senate, and with only a dozen Republicans there looking to object state’s election results, being able to pass through an objection remains highly unlikely.

 

 

 



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GOP Senators Toomey, Murkowski Vow To Certify Biden’s Electoral College Win


Topline

After a dozen of their GOP Senate colleagues stated they would object to certification of the Electoral College, Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said Saturday they plan to affirm President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, bolstering a majority of senators who have already said they would honor the election results.

Key Facts

“The oath I took at my swearing-in was to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, and that is exactly what I will do,” Murkowski said in a statement, adding the courts have “honored their duty” to consider legal challenges.

Toomey said in a statement that the dozen senators – led by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) – ”fail to acknowledge” Trump’s inability to prove his election fraud claims in court, and called the objections an “effort to disenfranchise millions of voters.”

Murkowski and Toomey join a number of their Senate colleagues, including Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who called Hawley’s decision to object “ambition pointing a gun at the head of democracy.”

Other senators in opposition to the effort include Sens. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Shelly Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.), who said “no” when asked if he would object, according to Politico.

The senators, along with 48 Democrats in the chamber, constitute a majority to shoot down any objections and thwart efforts to overturn the election – a redundant safeguard given that the House is controlled by Democrats and unlikely to sustain objections.

Senate Majority Mitch McConnell and other Senate GOP leaders mounted a fruitless effort to prevent any members of his caucus from objecting, believing the resulting vote would be a lose-lose for Republicans facing competitive primary and general elections.

Key Background

Trump has turned his efforts to overturn the election into a litmus test for Republican officials, praising those he has enlisted as “heroes” while threatening to back primary challenges against those who break with him – including Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), his party’s No. 2 man in the Senate. Several Republicans have come forward to say most of their colleagues do not truly believe Trump’s fraud claims but are afraid of the political consequences of not going along.

Tangent

A number of Republican senators have not yet said whether they will object, including Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), all of whom have vocally supported Trump’s fraud claims. Several other senators up for reelection in 2022 have also been the object of speculation.

Big Number

140. That’s the minimum number of House Republicans expected to object – about two-thirds of the House GOP caucus. 

What To Watch For

With Republicans in both the House and the Senate planning to object to key states’ results, the process is likely to be held up by hours of debate. However, given that a majority of senators and House members are slated to vote against objections, certification – and Joe Biden’s inauguration as president on Jan. 20 – is essentially inevitable.





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