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Pence won’t interfere in election count despite pressure from Trump

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
In this file photo taken on October 10, 2020 US Vice President Mike Pence speaks at a rally in The Villages, Florida. (AFP photo)

US Vice President Mike Pence will not reject the results of the Electoral College during Congress' certification process despite growing pressure from President Donald Trump to do so, advisers said.

On Tuesday, Trump claimed that Pence will overturn his election loss to Democratic Joe Biden, but Pence reportedly plans to stick to his ceremonial duties as he is scheduled to preside over Congress' certification of the results on Wednesday, as detailed by the 12th Amendment.

As president of the Senate, Pence's role is to "open all the certificates" in the presence of the House of Representatives and the Senate, the US Constitution says.

Biden beat Trump 306-232 in the Electoral College and he won the popular vote by over 7 million ballots. Trump has, however, declined to concede the election and his campaign has filed in vain dozens of lawsuits challenging election results.

The incumbent said on Twitter that "the Vice President has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors."

However, Pence told Trump on Tuesday he did not believe he had the power to block the certification, a source familiar with the subject told Reuters.

At a campaign rally for Republican US Senate incumbents in Georgia on Monday night, Trump expressed hope that Pence would intervene.

"If he doesn't come through, I won't like him quite as much," Trump said.

Meanwhile, about a dozen Republican senators, as well as dozens of Republicans in the House, plan to object to the certification of the results in Congress.

On Saturday, US Senator Ted Cruz said he will spearhead the drive by the Republicans to challenge Biden’s victory on Jan. 6.

Cruz’s effort is in defiance of Senate Republican leaders, who have argued that the Senate’s role in certifying the election is largely ceremonial and had been looking to avoid an extended debate on the floor about the outcome.

Current and former White House aides have also said Pence planned to perform his duties.

"He will be very supportive of the president, but again he'll stick to the Constitution," said one former White House official who has regular contact with Pence's team.

"It is a ceremonial role. It is opening up envelopes and reading the contents of it," he said. "That's it."

Also, Pence's chief of staff, Marc Short, told Reuters on Monday that the vice president "will uphold the Constitution and follow the statutory law."

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