Trump Challenges May Lead to Big Test for Pence

When Congress meets to certify Electoral College count, things could get interesting
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2020 11:34 AM CST
Trump Backers See One Last Challenge in January
Terje Anderson, left, one of Vermont's three electors, casts his vote at the Statehouse in Montpelier on Monday.   (AP Photo/Wilson Ring)

It's Electoral College day. Electors from all the states and DC have begun meeting in their state capitals to formally cast their ballots for Joe Biden or President Trump. While this is normally a ho-hum formality, the 2020 process is anything but because of Trump's refusal to acknowledge Biden as the winner. Meanwhile, the White House already is looking toward the next big deadline in the process—Jan. 6, which marks the last chance for Trump to overturn the count. Coverage:

  • Michigan: This battleground state has closed all legislative offices in Lansing on Monday over "credible threats of violence," reports the Washington Post. Details about the threats weren't specified.

  • Volatile quote: A Republican state lawmaker in Michigan was asked in a radio interview about all this, and his answer wasn't reassuring. "Can you assure me that this is going to be [a] safe day in Lansing, nobody's going to get hurt?" radio host Paul Miller asked Rep. Gary Eisen on WPHM, per the Detroit News. "No," said Eisen. "I don't know because what we're doing today is uncharted. It hasn't been done." He added that Republicans "have a Hail Mary" to possibly attempt in regard to the election, but it wasn't clear what he meant.
  • Last battle? When the counting in all the states is over on Monday, Biden is expected to emerge as the clear winner. But it's still not official. Congress will meet to formally tally the count on Jan. 6, in a session presided over by the vice president. On that day, lawmakers loyal to Trump are considering one last, long-shot challenge on the House floor, reports the New York Times. It's "likely to culminate in a messy and deeply divisive spectacle that could thrust Vice President Mike Pence into the excruciating position of having to declare once and for all that Mr. Trump has indeed lost the election," per the Times.
  • A possibility: Trump supporters "could try to send their own electoral votes to Congress without the backing of any state authority or certification," per the AP. But any House members who do so need at least one senator to sign on, and so far, none have said they would, according to the Times.
  • How it works: CNN has a step-by-step guide on how Monday's count works and what comes next.
(More electoral college stories.)

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