On the eve of the joint session of Congress to certify the 2020 Electoral College vote, Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert explained why he is one at least 140 Congress members who will join at least 13 senators in objecting to slates of electors in battleground states.
“The fraud allegations are not allegations. They haven’t been debunked,” he said in an interview Tuesday with “Steve Bannon’s War Room.”
“There was real, genuine fraud,” said the former judge. “And there is real genuine evidence of all kinds of fraud.”
Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist, asked Gohmert if he has “the receipts to break the back of the Democrats” and “all the spin.”
“I can’t speak for everybody, but I can speak for numerous people with whom I’ve worked getting ready for tomorrow,” he replied. “And that group is prepared. Absolutely.”
Gohmert filed a lawsuit last week ahead of the joint session to ensure that Vice President Mike Pence, who will served as president of the Senate during the session, asserts what the congressman contends is the vice president’s constitutional authority to reject slates of electors if there is sufficient evidence they do not reflect the will of the people.
The suit — which was rejected on the basis of standing, not on the merits — targeted the Electoral Count Act of 1887, claiming it is unconstitutional. The law minimizes the role of Congress in election disputes, placing primary responsibility on the states. However, Trump and many legal scholars argue the Founders didn’t establish the Jan. 6 joint session of Congress as merely a vote-counting exercise.
On Tuesday, Trump tweeted: “The vice president has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors.”
The Vice President has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 5, 2021
The president’s supporters argue Pence has “plenary power,” according to precedent (Thomas Jefferson and Richard Nixon asserted that power as vice presidents), to rule any objection as out of order, accepted, denied or entitled to more debate.
Gohmert compared that power to the advice-and-consent authority of the Senate regarding the president’s nominees.
Senators don’t just rubber stamp the president’s choices, they have the power not to consent, he noted. And the “plain meaning” of the Constitution, he insisted, is that the vice president has that power concerning Electoral College votes.
“You don’t just open the votes,” Gohmert said. “If that’s all we needed, we could get some clerk to do that.”
Monday afternoon at a rally in Georgia for the Senate runoff elections, Pence promised Republicans will “have our day in Congress” and lawmakers will “hear the objections.” On Tuesday, White House officials told Fox News correspondent John Roberts that Pence “will follow the law” and “act tomorrow with fidelity to the law and the Constitution.”
An objection from at least one senator and one House member requires that each chamber engage in two hours of debate over each slate of electors to which they object. Critics of the objectors, including many fellow Republicans, contend the exercise is futile because each chamber must vote on the objections, and Democrats control the House.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said Tuesday on the House floor his objective is to defend the Constitution.
“Tomorrow the Constitution will be defended and the American people will see the truth,” he said. “Tomorrow they’ll see what the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said. ‘The ultimate date of significance is January 6.'”
Eight of the nine members of Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation have stated they will object. Meanwhile, leaders of the commonwealth’s Senate have sent a letter to McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy contending the Pennsylvania election results should not have been certified. They’re asking for more time to hear the Trump campaign’s lawsuit against the secretary of state, Kathy Boockvar.
In all, more than 100 state legislators from six contested battleground states have asked Pence to delay by 10 days the congressional certification to give them more time to investigate irregularities and illegalities, Just the News reported.
In the U.S. Senate, Josh Hawley of Missouri was the first to declare he will object.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has urged his colleagues to certify Joe Biden as the winner. But on Tuesday, Politico, citing a senator, reported McConnell told Republican senators, he “won’t judge anybody for their decision.”
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., promised in a Fox News interview, that if the Republicans win the two Georgia runoff elections Tuesday and retain a majority in Senate, he will “dig into the legitimate concerns of voter fraud.”
‘What we need going into tomorrow’
White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, who has produced two reports compiling the evidence of vote fraud in six states, told Bannon Tuesday afternoon that the letter from Pennsylvania state lawmakers to congressional leaders is “what we need going into tomorrow.”
He explained that on Capitol Hill “they breathe a different kind of air, and none of that air that has the grass roots smell in it.”
“And once they begin realizing that there’s anger and knowledge at the state legislature level of the steal, that will give them more of a backbone to do what needs to be done,” Navarro said.
“We’re going to see some backbone tomorrow, or this republic is going to perish,” he said.
In December, Navarro released a report providing evidence of what he described as election “theft by a thousand cuts,” titled “The Immaculate Deception.” He identified six major dimensions of alleged election irregularities across six states: “outright voter fraud, ballot mishandling, contestable process fouls, Equal Protection Clause violations, voting machine irregularities and significant statistical anomalies.” This week, he released a sequel, “The Art of the Steal,” that documented what he described as a coordinated strategy.
Navarro said his reports show state lawmakers that there was “unquestioned theft of this election, and it was done on their watch.”
In Arizona, Nevada, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia, he said, there was a “coordinated effort to steal the presidency on behalf of a far-left agenda.
“If they let that stand, this republic will not stand,” the White House adviser said. “It’s time for them to stop running and hiding, running out the clock, thinking this is going to go away.
“This isn’t going away,” he said, “regardless of which way it goes.”