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Update – VP Pence defies Trump – Trump attacks Pence

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Vice President Mike Pence told lawmakers he lacks the legal powers to reject Electoral College votes cast for President-elect Joe Biden, even as Donald Trump used a midday rally in Washington to continue pressuring him to do just that.

In a lengthy written statement, US Vice-President Mike Pence said that his “largely ceremonial” role in today’s special Congressional session does not allow him to reverse the 2020 election results and Joe Biden’s win.

The statement comes as President Donald Trump continues to exert public pressure on his vice-president, telling supporters at his rally in Washington DC that he would be “very disappointed” in Pence if he did not heed the call to reject the election results. 

Pence has faced intense pressure from Trump and a growing number of Republican lawmakers to push back on Biden’s win. 

But in his statement, Pence wrote that it was his “considered judgment” that the US Constitution prevents him from doing so. 

“The Presidency belongs to the American people, and to them alone,” Pence wrote.

And he’s right. The vice-president has no legal authority to declare Biden’s election victory invalid.

Meanwhile, Congressional offices were ordered to evacuate and staff was instructed by Capitol police to shelter in place as Donald Trump’s supporters stormed Washington DC to reject his loss in the 2020 presidential election.

Capitol police locked down the Capitol and evacuated several buildings on Wednesday, alerting staff to “move in a safe manner to the exists” and “close doors behind you but do not lock.”

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