Battle strains drawn in GOP over deliberate Electoral College challenges, certification set for Wednesday

Republicans in Congress are staking out their positions forward of Wednesday’s joint session to certify the Electoral College outcomes. Some members are throwing their help behind Trump-backed challenges to votes in states President-elect Joe Biden gained and others are warning of the hazards of such a unprecedented effort to primarily overturn the presidential election.

The Wednesday showdown within the Capitol, which might bleed into Thursday and even past relying on how lengthy Trump allies in Congress attempt to drag it out, will arrange the last word loyalty check to the president for Republicans. Do they again Trump’s unsubstantiated claims to the bitter finish or do they break with the president, probably resulting in a Trump-backed main problem, because the president has already promised in opposition to a number of high-profile members of his occasion?

The challenge can be spurring heavy pleasant fireplace amongst Republicans after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., managed to information a largely united caucus nearly all through Trump’s time period, solely to see that unity break down within the remaining 20 days of his presidency. McConnell was reported to have discouraged Electoral College challenges amongst his caucus. 

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, made his place clear in a biting assertion Sunday. 

WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN CONGRESS MEETS TO COUNT ELECTORAL COLLEGE RESULTS

“The egregious ploy to reject electors may enhance the political ambition of some, but dangerously threatens our Democratic Republic. The congressional power to reject electors is reserved for the most extreme and unusual circumstances. These are far from it,” Romney mentioned. 

He added: “President Trump’s lawyers made their case before scores of courts; in every instance, they failed. The Justice Department found no evidence of irregularity sufficient to overturn the election. The Presidential Voter Fraud Commission disbanded without finding such evidence.”

Romney’s assertion was in response to a bunch of senators led by Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who mentioned they’d vote to reject electors from states which might be disputed until Congress units an “emergency 10-day audit” of the election outcomes. 

“By any measure, the allegations of fraud and irregularities in the 2020 election exceed any in our lifetimes,” a press release by Cruz and the remaining in his coalition learn. “Accordingly, we intend to vote on January 6 to reject the electors from disputed states as not ‘regularly given’ and ‘lawfully certified’ (the statutory requisite), unless and until that emergency 10-day audit is completed.”

Joining Cruz had been Sens. Ron Johnson. R-Wis.; James Lankford, R-Okla.; Steve Daines, R-Mont.; John Kennedy, R-La.; Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.; Mike Braun, R-Ind.; Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo.; Roger Marshall, R-Kan.; Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn.; and Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala. 

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks at a campaign rally for Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021, in Cumming, Ga. Cruz plans to vote to reject electoral votes from states' whose results are challenged Wednesday. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks at a marketing campaign rally for Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021, in Cumming, Ga. Cruz plans to vote to reject electoral votes from states’ whose outcomes are challenged Wednesday. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

The fee, the senators say, would mirror one thing Congress arrange in 1876. Some Republicans have additionally mentioned Democrats are hypocritical for attacking them over objecting to states’ electors after Democrats did the identical the previous 3 times a Republican gained the presidency. 

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Cruz and his group adopted Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., broadly regarded as a 2024 GOP presidential hopeful like Cruz, who was the primary senator to announce that he would be part of House members in objecting to electoral slates on Wednesday. 

“I cannot vote to certify the electoral college results on January 6 without raising the fact that some states, particularly Pennsylvania, failed to follow their own state election laws,” Hawley mentioned in a press release. 

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., mentioned Hawley’s deliberate objections symbolize an “effort to disenfranchise millions of voters in my state and others.” 

Hawley fired again: “[W]e should avoid putting words in each other’s mouths and making unfounded claims about the intentions of our fellow senators… But instead of debating the issue of election integrity by press release, conference call or email, perhaps we could debate on the Senate floor for all of the American people to judge.”

Challenges to any states’ slates of electoral votes are nearly sure to fail. Democrats, who maintain a majority within the House, are anticipated to vote in opposition to rejecting electors. And there are sufficient Republicans in each the House and the Senate who oppose that effort to forestall it from having any probability of success. 

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., questions Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin during a Congressional Oversight Commission hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday Dec. 10, 2020. Toomey opposes efforts to reject states' slates of electoral votes. (Sarah Silbiger/The Washington Post via AP, Pool)

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., questions Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin throughout a Congressional Oversight Commission listening to on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday Dec. 10, 2020. Toomey opposes efforts to reject states’ slates of electoral votes. (Sarah Silbiger/The Washington Post through AP, Pool)
(AP)

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., one other rumored presidential hopeful, tried to stroll a skinny political line Sunday in a press release elevating considerations about “irregularities in the presidential election” however opposed members of Congress imposing on the electors despatched to them by states. 

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“I share the concerns of many Arkansans about irregularities in the presidential election… I therefore support a commission to study the last election and propose reforms to protect the integrity of our elections,” Cotton mentioned. “Nevertheless, the Founders entrusted our elections chiefly to the states—not Congress… 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.”

Cotton added: “If Congress purported to overturn the results of the Electoral College, it would not only exceed that power, but also establish unwise precedents. 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.”

Cotton’s assertion was much like one launched by Reps. Chip Roy, R-Texas; Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D.; Ken Buck, R-Colo.; Mike Gallagher R-Wis.; Nancy Mace, R-S.C.; Thomas Massie, R-Ky.; and Tom McClintock, R-Calif. 

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) speaks to the crowd during a

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) speaks to the group throughout a “Defend the Majority” rally for U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) and Sen. David Purdue (R-GA) on the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agriculture Center on November 19, 2020 in Perry, Georgia. Cotton warned over the weekend that Republicans making an attempt to reject electoral votes for Joe Biden could also be placing the presidency in danger for Republicans who win elections sooner or later. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

They slammed “significant abuses in our election system,” however added, “only the states have authority to appoint electors, in accordance with state law. Congress has only a narrow role in the presidential election process. Its job is to count the electors submitted by the states, not to determine which electors the states should have sent.”

The lawmakers additional warned, “To take action otherwise – that is, to unconstitutionally insert Congress into the center of the presidential election process – would amount to stealing power from the people and the states. It would, in effect, replace the electoral college with Congress, and in so doing strengthen the efforts of those on the left who are determined to eliminate it or render it irrelevant.”

DEMOCRATS WHO PRAISED 2004 OBJECTIONS TO ELECTORAL COLLEGE CERTIFICATION NOW SLAM HAWLEY

Amid the political posturing by many in Washington, Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., mentioned Wednesday that the majority of it is not sincere. The senator, who has been a constant Trump critic, in a lengthy Facebook post mentioned that Republicans don’t truly consider the president’s claims that he gained the election or that there’s widespread fraud. 

“When we talk in private, I haven’t heard a single Congressional Republican allege that the election results were fraudulent – not one,” Sasse mentioned. “Instead, I hear them talk about their worries about how they will ‘look’ to President Trump’s most ardent supporters.”

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., the chair of the House GOP convention, despatched a letter to her colleagues Sunday warning that each the act of objecting of voting to reject a slate of electors is “exceptionally dangerous” and that “commission” proposed by Cruz and his group “is even more problematic.”

“Such objections set an exceptionally dangerous precedent, threatening to steal states’ explicit constitutional responsibility for choosing the President and bestowing it instead on Congress,” Cheney mentioned in her letter. “This is directly at odds with the Constitution’s clear text and our core beliefs as Republicans.”

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said that Republicans voting to reject slates of electors from states President-elect Biden won sets

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., mentioned that Republicans voting to reject slates of electors from states President-elect Biden gained units “an exceptionally dangerous precedent.” (Photo by: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire through Getty Images)

Rep. Barry Moore, R-Ala., in the meantime is amongst a number of new Republican members who’ve mentioned they are going to object to the certification of Biden electors. 

“This is not just about President Trump,” Moore mentioned. “It’s about the will of the American people.”

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Rep. Jerry Carl, R-Ala., mentioned that “President Trump has had our backs, and now is the time for us to have his as he rightfully pursues challenges to election fraud.”

GOP politicians staking out claims both for or in opposition to the Electoral College challenges additionally comes after audio of a outstanding telephone name between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger was launched Sunday by the Washington Post

During the decision, on which Trump repeats a sequence of debunked claims of election fraud or irregularities, the president asks Raffensperger to “find 11,780 votes” — another vote than Trump misplaced the state by. Trump on the decision additionally repeatedly falsely claimed he gained Georgia by “hundreds of thousands of votes.”

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., who has been some of the vocal critics of Trump inside the GOP, mentioned that Trump’s name with Raffensperger places challenges to the Electoral College certification in a good worse gentle. 

“This is absolutely appalling,” he tweeted. “To every member of Congress considering objecting to the election results, you cannot — in light of this — do so with a clean conscience.”

Even as many GOP members of Congress have taken public positions forward of the Wednesday certification, a big chunk of the occasion has remained silent, avoiding publicly crossing the president but in addition not backing the ill-fated makes an attempt to overturn the election. 

Among those that do not have the luxurious of remaining silent are Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., and David Perdue, a Republican whose Senate time period expired Sunday however has an opportunity to win reelection. They’re every in an in depth runoff election for his or her Senate seats that’s set for Tuesday, with Trump scheduled to stump within the state on their behalf Monday. 

Publicly crossing the president might make both of the senators a goal of the president’s Twitter ire, which he has directed at a number of of their fellow Senate GOP colleagues in current days. 

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Perdue on “Sunday Morning Futures” vocally backed the Electoral College challenges.

“I’m encouraging my colleagues to object,” he mentioned. “This is something that the American people demand right now. You heard in the last section that there are huge irregularities in Georgia. They need to be investigated and they need to be corrected, in my opinion.”

Loeffler on “Fox News Sunday,” in the meantime, dodged a query on whether or not or not she would be part of the objections to the Electoral College. 

“‘I’ve said from the start everything’s on the table here and I’m seriously looking at that,” she mentioned. “We have to make sure that Georgia and all of Americans trust our voting process. But my number one objective right now has to be winning on Jan. 5th.”

Perdue and Loeffler have additionally each vocally backed Trump’s claims of voter fraud and refused to acknowledge Biden because the president-elect, at the same time as lots of their Senate colleagues have achieved so. They each beforehand known as for Raffensperger to resign over the state’s elections and Perdue on Sunday mentioned it’s “disgusting” {that a} recorded name of the president would leak.

Fox News‘ Brooke Singman, Marisa Schultz, Chad Pergram and Eddie DeMarche contributed to this report. 

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