President Donald Trump’s arsenal for overturning the election will soon be down to one final, desperate maneuver: pressing his Republican allies on Capitol Hill to step in and derail Joe Biden’s presidency. Although the Electoral College casts the official vote for president on Dec. 14, it’s up to Congress to certify the results a few weeks later. And federal law gives individual members of the House and Senate the power to challenge the results from the floor — a rarely used mechanism meant to be the last of all last resorts to safeguard an election. But several House Republican lawmakers and aides now tell POLITICO they’re considering this option to aid Trump’s quest. “Nothing is off the table,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.). Gaetz pointed out that in January 2017, a handful of House Democrats took this precise procedural step before their efforts flamed out during a joint session of Congress presided over by none other than Biden, then the outgoing vice president. “It is over,” Biden said at the time, gaveling down Democrats as Republicans cheered. This time, Vice President Mike Pence will be in the chair for any potential challenges — a potentially awkward scenario as his boss continues to deny the reality of the election he lost.
Pennsylvania: Supreme Court order, state GOP leaders effectively end Trump’s hope for legislators to reverse election results | Jeremy Roebuck/Philadelphia Inquirer
If its fate had not been abundantly clear already, President Donald Trump’s dream of having Pennsylvania’s GOP-controlled legislature overturn the state’s election results received what appeared to be its final death blows Thursday with a late-night order from the U.S. Supreme Court and an unequivocal statement from the General Assembly’s Republican leadership that they had no intention of doing so. The Supreme Court order came in response to a request from one of the president’s top boosters in Congress, U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R., Pa.), who has asked the justices to declare the state’s vote-by-mail law unconstitutional and to “decertify” Pennsylvania’s results, which cemented President-elect Joe Biden’s victory by roughly 81,000 votes last week. But just hours after Kelly filed that appeal Thursday, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. crafted a telling schedule for the case, giving state officials until Dec. 9 to file their reply. The date set by Alito — who oversees emergency petitions arising from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware for the court — comes one day after what is known as the “safe harbor date,” the federal deadline for states to resolve outstanding challenges to their elections. Once it has passed, the state’s slate of appointed electors is considered to be locked in for the Dec. 14 Electoral College vote.