Vice President Mike Pence has returned to the Senate, his press secretary tweeted Wednesday evening.
“Vice President Mike Pence has returned to the Senate. He never left the Capitol. @VP was in regular contact w/ House & Senate leadership, Cap Police, DOJ, & DoD to facilitate efforts to secure the Capitol & reconvene Congress. And now we will finish the People’s business,” his press secretary said.
The US Secret Service wanted Pence to leave the Capitol complex, and everything was in place, but Pence wanted to remain on site, a source familiar said.
The source says Pence’s Secret Service detail remained with him through the entire ordeal.
A separate source said regarding the resumption of tonight’s joint session of Congress, “he’s going to do his duty.”
Pence informed Trump that he can’t block Biden’s win
Trump, who already had turned up the pressure on Pence to steal the election, warned him that it would
be politically “damaging” for Pence to refuse to block certification, according to a source familiar with the
Pence gently informed Trump during the meeting that the power doesn’t exist for him to derail the
process, the source added.
The vice president went on to tell Trump there are outliers saying that the authority exists, but Pence
has been told by the White House Counsel’s Office he doesn’t have that authority, according to this
source who was briefed on the conversation. The meeting at the White House came after Pence met
with the Senate parliamentarian earlier this week to go over his role in the proceedings.
“The New York Times report regarding comments Vice President Pence supposedly made to me today
is fake news. He never said that. The Vice President and I are in total agreement that the Vice President
has the power to act,” Trump said.
The President is now angry with Pence following their meeting, a source close to the White House said.
Trump may “lash out” at his vice president on Wednesday morning during a speech at a rally staged to
support the President’s attempts to overturn the election, which is taking place near the White House
“I think he will lash out pretty quickly” at Pence, the source said of Trump’s speech. White House
officials say Trump will speak at the Ellipse 11 a.m. ET Wednesday, just as Pence is set to preside over
the counting of the electoral votes.
Sources told CNN that the vice president is expected to make statements supportive of Trump’s efforts
to contest the results while baselessly alleging the results are fraudulent.
A senior Trump adviser added Pence could take on a more aggressive posture than what’s been
anticipated and said the vice president is likely to avoid an overly robotic performance that would anger
Trump and his political base.
“He’s not going to be a wallflower,” the adviser said.
Pence left the White House at about 8 p.m. ET Tuesday, signaling he won’t watch the returns from the
Georgia US Senate runoff races with Trump.
The absence of a viewing party may be more in line with the current state of their relationship, given
Trump’s building frustration with Pence over his role — or lack of — in Wednesday’s proceedings. Pence
and Trump dined together earlier Tuesday as officials are bracing themselves for Trump’s reaction to the
“He might say he doesn’t have the power to do certain things,” the adviser said, anticipating that Pence
is expected to explain the constitution allows him to only go so far in channeling Trump’s feelings about
In the meantime, a source close to Senate GOP leadership and familiar with the thinking inside Senate
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s orbit said the prevailing view is that Pence’s role is “ceremonial” and
Trump has repeatedly raised with his faithful vice president the notion he could delay or obstruct the
Electoral College certification, people familiar with the conversations say, setting up a test of Pence’s
loyalty at the culmination of his four years of service.
Trump, based on arguments from a fringe set of lawyers and certain White House officials, has argued
that instead of simply acting in his constitutionally prescribed pro forma role, Pence could delay the
certification beyond Wednesday and ultimately force the question of who won the election to either the
House of Representatives or the Supreme Court.
“Let them sue,” has been the message from the group to Trump, leading him to believe he could again
end up at the Supreme Court.
Trump has appeared undeterred, and on Tuesday made his desires known explicitly on Twitter.
“The Vice President has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors,” Trump declared falsely,
lending credence to an erroneous theory that Pence can overturn the results of the election during
Wednesday’s tally of Electoral College votes and again pressuring his top lieutenant to act outside
Trump’s Twitter message came the morning after he riled up a crowd of supporters in Georgia using
Pence’s upcoming engagement on the Senate floor.
“I hope Mike Pence comes through for us, I have to tell you,” Trump said Monday night during a political
rally in Georgia, where his public arm-twisting was met with cheers. “Of course, if he doesn’t come
through, I won’t like him as much.”( CNN / IM )_