President Trump seems to believe that Vice President Pence could overturn the election results when he presides over the congressional counting of electoral votes on Wednesday.
Trump is wrong, but any attempt by Pence to intervene on behalf of himself and Trump, if it comes to that, would be a constitutional travesty. It won’t work, but it would set a dangerous precedent.
“I have to tell you, I hope that our great vice president, our great vice president, comes through for us,” Trump told a crowd in Georgia on Monday night at a rally purportedly for Senate candidates David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler but actually for his own flailing efforts to secure a second term. “He’s a great guy. Because if he doesn’t come through, I won’t like him quite as much.”
On Tuesday, Trump followed up with specifics. “The Vice President has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors,” he tweeted.
Pence has no such authority ― nor would Senate president pro tem Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), if Pence doesn’t have the courage to show up and perform his constitutional duty. Not under the Constitution and not under the applicable statute, the 1887 Electoral Count Act. There are reports Pence has told Trump this and will not derail the process.
Still, until Congress declares Biden the winner, American democracy is facing its greatest challenge since the start of the Civil War at Fort Sumter. [Continue reading…]