Congress was stopped from holding a joint session to count the Electoral College vote on Wednesday after protesters, leaving a pro-Trump rally, stormed the Capitol building.
Defying President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence said right before the joint session that he does not have the power to discard electoral votes that will make Democrat Joe Biden the next president on Jan. 20.
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Some Republican lawmakers objected to the count of the Electoral College count.
In the days before the joint session, Trump had pressured his vice president to toss electors from battleground states that voted for Biden to overturn the will of voters in a desperate and futile bid to undo President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the November election.
He raged against the results and called for action.
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Trump repeatedly pressured Pence to act during his more than 75-minute speech to supporters. “Mike Pence is going to have to come through for us,” Trump said, “and if he doesn’t, it’s a sad day for our country.”
Shortly before the 1 p.m. start of the joint session, Pence made clear in a three-page letter that he would follow the Constitution, not the commander in chief. While Trump was speaking, Pence’s motorcade carried him through a heavily-secured Washington toward the Capitol, where thousands of Trump supporters were marching.
Pence says he has no unilateral power under the Constitution and congressional rules that govern the count. It is up to the House and Senate to voice objections, and states’ electors were chosen following state law, not fraudulently.
After Trump’s speech, protesters moved on to the Capitol Building and forced their way in.
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Beginning at 1 p.m., Pence began to open the certificates of the electoral votes from each state and present them to the appointed “tellers” from the House and Senate in alphabetical order. The count got to Arizona before the first objection was filed. During debates, protesters successfully stormed the Capitol Building.
Majorities in both chambers are required to reject the Electoral College, but enough Republican lawmakers have said they will join with Democrats to reject the last hope by Trump and his allies.
Trump called for calm —
Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2021
The Associated Press contributed to this article