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Trump’s personal defense lawyer says the president’s insistence that Pence reject electoral votes is unconstitutional

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  • Jay Sekulow, President Donald Trump’s impeachment lawyer and private protection legal professional, mentioned Trump’s insistence that Vice President Mike Pence reject the electoral outcomes of a number of states is unconstitutional.
  • “Some have speculated that the vp may merely say, ‘I am not going to simply accept these electors,’ that he has the authority to do this below the Structure. I truly do not assume that is what the Structure has in thoughts,” Sekulow mentioned on his Periscope present on Tuesday.
  • “If that had been the case, any vp may refuse any election,” he added. “It is extra of ministerial procedural operate.”
  • Sekulow is one in all Trump’s most loyal backers and the newest high-profile conservative determine to come back out in opposition to the president’s campaign to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory within the 2020 election.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump’s impeachment lawyer and private protection legal professional Jay Sekulow mentioned this week Trump’s insistence that Vice President Mike Pence has the ability to reject states’ electors just isn’t constitutional.

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“Some have speculated that the vp may merely say, ‘I am not going to simply accept these electors,’ that he has the authority to do this below the Structure. I truly do not assume that is what the Structure has in thoughts,” Sekulow mentioned during his Periscope show on Tuesday.

“If that had been the case, any vp may refuse any election,” he added. “It is extra of ministerial procedural operate.”

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Trump has repeatedly claimed that as president of the Senate, Pence can legally refuse to acknowledge electors from a number of battleground states who licensed their 2020 election outcomes for President-elect Joe Biden. Plenty of congressional Republicans have signed on to Trump’s effort and mentioned they intend to problem Congress’ certification of the electoral votes on January 6.

“The Vice President has the ability to reject fraudulently chosen electors,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday.

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However as Sekulow and the overwhelming majority of authorized, constitutional, and election consultants identified, Pence has no such authority.

As an alternative, the vp performs a ceremonial position within the certification of electoral votes. He additionally doesn’t have unilateral authority to overturn the election throughout Congress’ certification course of on January 6.

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Beneath the Structure, Congress finalizes the certification of electoral votes earlier than Inauguration Day. At the moment, congressional lawmakers have a authorized pathway to object to the certification of states’ outcomes. To object to a selected state’s electoral votes, a minimum of one lawmaker from every chamber should signal on. Every chamber then individually debates the objection for 2 hours earlier than holding a vote on the matter. Each the Home of Representatives and the Senate should vote to reject a state’s electoral votes to nullify them.

Congressional Republicans in each chambers plan to object to certification in sure states on Wednesday. The objections will delay however not change the end result as a result of there’s just about no probability that the Democratic-controlled Home of Representatives will vote to throw out the electoral votes from the battleground states Republicans plan to problem.

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The place Pence is anxious, the twelfth Modification stipulates that the president of the Senate — the vp of the US — “open all of the certificates and the votes shall then be counted” throughout a joint session of Congress.

“This concept operating round that Mike Pence himself can merely declare winner … I simply do not see that within the US Structure,” Sekulow mentioned Tuesday. “On the finish of the day, now we have to abide by the Structure.”

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Sekulow is the newest high-profile Republican to come back out in opposition to Trump’s longshot bid to overturn the election outcomes.

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According to The Washington Post, 22 Senate Republicans oppose the president’s push, whereas 13 assist it. Sixteen GOP senators haven’t indicated a transparent place on the matter.

However Sekulow’s defection is especially noteworthy given his lengthy historical past of backing the president’s authorized efforts.

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He signed on to defend Trump after the Home of Representatives impeached him on fees of abuse of energy and obstruction of Congress over his efforts to strong-arm the Ukrainian authorities into launching politically motivated investigations focusing on the Bidens forward of the 2020 election.

Sekulow additionally made headlines for pushing a doubtful and terribly broad authorized concept that the president is completely immune from legal proceedings whereas in workplace. Based on Sekulow, that meant Trump wouldn’t simply be immune from indictment however from being investigated, subpoenaed, or known as to testify.

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“The president is to not be handled as an strange citizen,” Sekulow argued earlier than the Supreme Courtroom final yr whereas representing Trump in a case in opposition to the Manhattan District Legal professional’s Workplace. “He has obligations — he’s himself a department of presidency. He’s the one particular person who’s a department of presidency within the federal system.”

“Non permanent presidential immunity is constitutionally required by Article II, and accordingly, the supremacy clause defeats any authority the DA has below state legislation as to the president,” he mentioned. The Supreme Courtroom rejected Sekulow’s arguments and allowed the Manhattan DA’s investigation to maneuver ahead.

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