National Review

Chaos at the Capitol: Pence Rushed from Floor, Elector Count Halted as Trump Supporters Storm Hill

A Congressional hearing to certify the Electoral College vote for the presidential election has been paused and lawmakers have been urged to take shelter after protestors supporting President Donald Trump have entered the U.S. Capitol.EARLIER:Vice President Mike Pence announced Wednesday afternoon that he would not accede to President Trump’s demand that he reject slates of electors submitted by battleground states where the president has alleged massive fraud.“It’s is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not.”Some of President Donald Trump’s most ardent backers in the U.S. House and Senate will formally object to the confirmation of the Electoral College votes in several states during today’s joint session of Congress, the latest effort to overturn the results of November’s presidential election based on unfounded allegations of fraud trumpeted by Trump and his allies.The effort has virtually no chance of success, as every Democrat and many Republicans are expected to reject the challenges. But that it is happening at all shows just how firm a grip Trump still has on the Republican Party, even as his time in the White House nears its end.Trump has repeatedly insisted that Pence has unilateral authority to reject electors certified by states in which he claims the his victory was stolen. Pence’s statement was released as Trump was making that case before thousands of supporters gathered outside the White House for a “Stop the Steal” rally.“I’m going to be watching,” Trump said, “because history is going to be made. We’re going to see whether or not we have great and courageous leaders, or whether or not we have leaders who should be ashamed of themselves throughout history, throughout eternity, they’ll be ashamed.” Trump vowed to “primary the hell out of” Republicans who don’t fight for him.Congress will convene at 1 p.m. for the joint session, normally a ceremonial affair to count and recognize the Electoral votes from each state. Instead, a cadre of Republicans in the House and Senate plan to challenge the results in some of the states where Trump lost. As a result, the session is expected to drag into Wednesday evening.Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has urged his members not to object to the Electoral College certification, in part because doing so would force GOP senators to debate and vote on the objections, putting them in a difficult political position.Trump has deemed Republicans who don’t back the effort to reverse his loss a “surrender caucus” that “will go down in infamy as weak and ineffective ‘guardians’ of our Nation, who were willing to accept the certification of fraudulent presidential numbers!”> The “Surrender Caucus” within the Republican Party will go down in infamy as weak and ineffective “guardians” of our Nation, who were willing to accept the certification of fraudulent presidential numbers!> > — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 4, 2021 Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is expected to kick off the effort by objecting to the Electoral College votes in Arizona, where Trump lost by just over 10,000 votes. McConnell is expected to respond.Arizona will be the first state to have its Electoral College votes challenged because the state’s votes are tallied in alphabetical order.After each state objection, the House and Senate will meet separately for up to two hours to debate and vote on the matter, according to a CNN report. It’s unclear exactly how many states will be challenged.Georgia Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who lost her re-election on Tuesday, released a statement on Monday saying she intends to object to the certification of the Electoral College votes from her state.> pic.twitter.com/K3OXNlSN0L> > — Kelly Loeffler (@KLoeffler) January 4, 2021Trump and his allies have been alleging for two months now that the November election was stolen from him due to fraud in several states, including Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Election officials who have reviewed the results in those states say they’ve found no evidence of massive fraud or discrepancies.The Trump campaign’s legal attempts to challenge the election results in the courts all failed. His lawyers have not produced hard evidence to back their claims that the election was stolen.Over the weekend, Trump questioned Georgia’s secretary of state over a laundry list of conspiracy theories and said he needs to find more than 11,000 votes to reverse his loss in that state.The members of Congress expected to object to the Electoral College votes today are basing their challenges not on proof of fraud, but rather allegations of fraud, and what they see as insufficient efforts to investigate those allegations.“This is about the integrity of our elections, and this is about taking a stand where you can take a stand,” Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, a leader of the effort, said on Fox News this week. “I suppose you can just say, ‘Well listen, nothing I do will matter, it won’t matter if object or not, so I will just sit by and do nothing.’ That’s one approach. But I can tell you that the people of my state, they won’t understand that and they shouldn’t.





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