Trump attorney Jay Sekulow refutes claims of Pence authority over electors

Greg Nash

Trump attorney Jay Sekulow on Tuesday refuted claims that Vice President Pence has the authority to overturn the election results.

President Trump earlier in the day publicly added pressure to Pence ahead of a joint session of Congress where he will preside over challenges to the Electoral College vote. The president took to Twitter stating that his No. 2 had the ability to overturn the election results.

“The Vice President has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors,” Trump tweeted late Tuesday morning. 

However, during his podcast “Jay Sekulow Live” on Tuesday, the attorney stated that he didn’t think “that was what the Constitution has in mind.” 

“Some have speculated that the vice president could simply say, ‘I’m not going to accept these electors,’ that he has the authority to do that under the Constitution,” Sekulow said. “I actually don’t think that’s what the Constitution has in mind.”

He added, “If that were the case, any vice president could refuse any election.”

Sekulow pointed out that the vice president’s role to preside over the process is largely ceremonial. 

“It’s more of a ministerial procedural function,” Sekulow told Andry Ekonomu, an Atlanta attorney who has served on Trump’s legal team. 

“Yeah, that’s not the case at all,” Ekonomu said, “It is a ministerial procedural function and I actually watched Vice President Biden presiding at the Electoral College certification of president Trump.” 

A federal appeals court on Saturday dismissed a lawsuit brought by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and other Republicans that sought to expand Pence’s legal authority to effectively overturn Biden’s presidential win.

The suit sought to sidestep federal election law when Pence presides over the joint session in Congress on Wednesday. Rather than certify Biden’s win, he would be free to effectively change the results. 

Pence’s role in Wednesday’s joint session is largely ceremonial. The role is governed by an 1887 Electoral Count Act, a law that the Republican lawsuit sought to invalidate. 

Sekulow’s opinion also comes as several Republicans in both chambers of Congress have vowed to object to the Electoral College results unless a commission is formed to perform a 10-day audit. 

As of Tuesday, Senate Republicans have vowed to object to the election results from three states.

In order for a successful objection, a majority of members of both the House and Senate would need to support the move, something that Sekulow called “unlikely.” 

The joint session will begin Wednesday at 1 p.m. 

Tags Certification Donald Trump Donald Trump Electoral College electors jan. 6 Jay Sekulow Louie Gohmert Mike Pence Pence

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