US President Donald Trump has returned to Washington from Florida, earlier than expected amid a showdown with Congress over a defence bill and the election results.
US Vice President Mike Pence asked a judge late Thursday (local time) to reject a lawsuit that aims to expand his power to use a congressional ceremony to overturn the presidential election, arguing that he is not the right person to sue over the issue.
The filing will come as a disappointment to supporters of US President Donald Trump, who hoped that Pence would attempt to reject some of President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral college votes and recognise votes for Trump instead when Congress meets next week to certify the November election.
The filing came in response to a lawsuit from Representative Louie Gohmert and a number of Republicans in Arizona, who argued that an 1887 law that governs how Congress certifies presidential elections is unconstitutional. The suit argues that the Constitution gives the vice president, in his role as president of Senate, sole discretion to determine whether electors put forward by the states are valid.
It asks a federal judge to take the extraordinary step of telling Pence that he has the right, on his own, to decide that the electoral college votes cast earlier in December for Biden are invalid and to instead recognise self-appointed Trump electors who gathered in several state capitals to challenge the results.