Citing a report by the Intelligence Community Analytic Ombudsman Barry Zulauf, the director of national intelligence said some analysts were reluctant to describe China’s actions as election interference because they disagreed with the policies of President Donald Trump.
The Washington Examiner published Ratcliffe’s letter and the ombudsman report on Jan. 17, ten days after publishing an original report on the documents. The ODNI did not respond to requests from The Epoch Times to authenticate the documents.
“Based on all available sources of intelligence, with definitions consistently applied, and reached independent of political considerations or undue pressure—that the People’s Republic of China sought to influence the 2020 U.S. federal elections,” Ratcliffe wrote.
The report by Zulauf, the intelligence community analytic ombudsman, was sent to Congress on Jan. 7 alongside an intelligence community assessment of interference in the 2020 election. In the report (pdf), Zulauf states the analysts working on Russia and China applied different standards to their reporting on election interference. While labeling Russia’s activity as clear election interference, the analysts were reluctant to do the same for China.
“Given analytic differences in the way Russia and China analysts examined their targets, China analysts appeared hesitant to assess Chinese actions as undue influence or interference,” Zulauf wrote. “These analysts appeared reluctant to have their analysis on China brought forward because they tended to disagree with the Administration’s policies, saying in effect, I don’t want our intelligence used to support those policies.”
Neither the ombudsman report nor the letter from Ratcliffe includes details on China’s meddling. Zulauf redirected an interview request to the ODNI, which did not respond to an emailed request.
The analytic ombudsman’s report assesses that politicization occurred in relation to both Russia’s and China’s election interference. Zulauf assessed that neither intelligence community leaders nor analysts are at fault, blaming the hyperpartisan atmosphere in the United States instead.
“In most cases, what we see is the entire system responding to and resisting pressures from outside, rather than attempts to politicize intelligence by our leaders or analysts.
The report states that the analysts who assessed Russia’s election interference had complained that the intelligence community management was reluctant to deliver their assessments to government clients because the work was not “well received.”
“Analysts saw this as suppression of intelligence, bordering on politicization of intelligence from above,” Zulauf wrote.
The Epoch Times had previously documented a multi-pronged election influence campaign linked to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
In a Dec. 3 op-ed, Ratcliffe said the CCP “poses the greatest threat to America today, and the greatest threat to democracy and freedom worldwide since World War II.”
“The intelligence is clear: Beijing intends to dominate the U.S. and the rest of the planet economically, militarily and technologically,” he wrote. “Many of China’s major public initiatives and prominent companies offer only a layer of camouflage to the activities of the Chinese Communist Party.”
Congress certified Joe Biden as the president-elect on Jan. 7. In the two months leading up to the certification, Trump challenged the outcome of the election in seven states, citing unconstitutional changes to election laws and potentially illegally cast votes.
President Donald Trump on Wednesday called on all Americans to not engage in any violent demonstrations, vandalism, or lawbreaking ahead of the Jan. 20 inauguration.
“In light of reports of more demonstrations, I urge that there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking, and NO vandalism of any kind,” Trump said. “That is not what I stand for and it is not what America stands for. I call on ALL Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers. Thank You.”
The Epoch Times reached out to the White House for comment. Trump’s statement will go out as an email from the White House press office and the White House will post the statement through the president’s social media accounts. The report also cited an advisor as saying that the president wants Big Tech companies to assist in disseminating his message of non-violence.
It came after the president was suspended from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and other tech platforms.
Other Republicans and Trump surrogates have called for no violence following the U.S. Capitol breach.
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel stated Wednesday that “violence has no place in our politics. Period.”
“I wholly condemned last week’s senseless acts of violence, and I strongly reiterate the calls to remain peaceful in the weeks ahead,” McDaniel remarked. “Those who partook in the assault on our nation’s Capitol and those who continue to threaten violence should be found, held accountable, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
She added: “Let me be clear: Anyone who has malicious intent is not welcome in Washington, D.C. or in any other state capitol. The peaceful transition of power is one of our nation’s founding principles and is necessary for our country to move forward.”
The breach occurred during the Jan. 6 Joint Session of Congress as members were counting to certify the results of the Nov. 3 election. Critics have said Trump incited violence with his rhetoric during a speech to supporters, leading to House Democrats introducing articles of impeachment this week. A vote on impeachment is scheduled for later this week, although it’s unclear when the Senate might take it up.
McDaniel noted that “now is the time to come together as one nation, united in the peaceful pursuit of our common democratic purpose.”
Trump attorney Jenna Ellis said that “it is possible (and correct) to support election integrity, the Constitution, and free speech and also condemn violence,” adding: “We are a nation under the rule of law.”
Ellis remarked that some leftists and media outlets are attempting to create a narrative that the Trump team’s support for election integrity is supporting “violence” against and “disdain for the Constitution.”
“Some on the right are trying to build a false narrative that support for the Constitution is condemning election integrity,” Ellis remarked.
After the audio of a phone call between President Trump and Brad Raffensperger was leaked to the media, the Georgia Secretary of State may be in serious trouble.
The one hour long phone call included White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and several attorneys from both the Trump administration and Georgia. President Trump and his team spent the majority of the conversation discussing several serious allegations of fraud and irregularities in Georgia’s election, while Raffensperger and his allies tried to deny or ignore any evidence brought up in the call.
President Trump also insisted throughout the call that he won the state, and threatened vague legal consequences if actions were not taken to investigate the claims.
It has been alleged by multiple sources that Raffesperger’s team leaked the call to the left-wing news outlet Washington Post.
Within 24 hours of the call, the Washington post published a hit piece about the phone call, using edited and out-of-context clips to slander the president.
Since then, it has been announced by Georgia Republican Chairman David Shafer that President Trump and his team have filed two lawsuits against Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
“President [Donald Trump] has filed two lawsuits – federal and state – against [Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger]. The telephone conference call [Raffensperger] secretly recorded was a ‘confidential settlement discussion’ of that litigation, which is still pending,” Shafer’s first tweet read.
“The audio published by [The Washington Post] is heavily edited and omits the stipulation that all discussions were for the purpose of settling litigation and confidential under federal and state law,” Shafer’s second tweet said.
It seems that Raffensperger is in serious trouble.
The Gateway Pundit asks the important question about the Georgia Secretary of State: “Why is he so determined to defend the massive fraud in his state?”
Jack Posobiec reported on January 3 that the White House was “planning to refer Brad Raffensperger WaPo leak to Secret Service for investigation under national security grounds of the Espionage Act.”
President Donald Trump asserted on Tuesday that Vice President Mike Pence has the power to reject electors that were fraudulently chosen, echoing statements made by his legal team in recent days ahead of Jan. 6’s Joint Session of Congress.
“The Vice President has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors,” Trump wrote on Tuesday in a tweet.
Republicans have been increasingly putting pressure on Pence, who serves as the president of the Senate and will oversee the certification of the Electoral College vote. At least a dozen Republican senators and dozens of House representatives have pledged to object to states’ electoral votes, which then is slated to trigger an hourslong debate before a simple-majority vote is held on whether to certify a state’s electoral votes.
“I know we all have got our doubts about the last election,” Pence told a crowd of supporters in Georgia on Monday, adding that “I want to assure you that I share the concerns of millions of Americans about voting irregularities. I promise you, come this Wednesday, we will have our day in Congress.”
Hours after Pence spoke, Trump told Georgia voters: “I hope Mike Pence comes through for us, I have to tell you.”
“I hope that our great vice president, our great vice president, comes through for us. He’s a great guy,” Trump said, without elaborating. “Of course, if he doesn’t come through, I won’t like him as much.”
But there have been questions about what power Pence actually has, as many legal experts have stipulated that the vice president mainly serves in a ceremonial capacity.
For the past several weeks since the Nov. 3 election, Trump and his team have alleged there was voter fraud, irregularities, and unconstitutional changes to regulations around mail-in balloting in key states. On Dec. 14, when the Electoral College voted, Republican-backed slates of electors also cast their votes for Trump and Pence in a bid to keep Trump’s legal challenges open.
The Joint Session of Congress opens starting at 1 p.m. on Wednesday. In prior sessions, vice presidents opened up certificates reflecting the electoral vote tallies that were sent by states before handing them to “tellers,” who are individuals appointed by both chambers of Congress to read out the ballots and verify. The tellers then read the ballots in alphabetical order, starting with Alabama.
A challenge to a state’s electoral votes needs to be submitted in writing and requires a senator and a representative. On Monday, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), the lawmaker leading the effort in the House, announced he signed an objection to “tainted” electoral votes in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—states where Trump’s campaign has filed lawsuits or held hearings in front of legislature members.
There has been growing pressure on Pence to take action during the Joint Session, with Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and other Republicans filing a lawsuit against him in a bid to strike down a key provision of the 1887 Electoral Count Act, among other requests. That lawsuit was dismissed over the past weekend by a Texas court. And White House adviser Peter Navarro also asserted that Pence can delay the Joint Session process and provide a 10-day audit of the election results.
Pence spokesman Marc Short dismissed the claim.
“Peter Navarro is many things,“ he told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. “He is not a constitutional scholar.”
A six-person team that included Rudy Giuliani and Peter Navarro on Saturday briefed hundreds of state lawmakers on evidence of election irregularities.
The Zoom meeting included hundreds of legislators across Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, Navarro, the White House director of trade and manufacturing policy, said during an appearance on Fox News.
“These legislators, they’re hot, they’re angry, they want action,” Navarro said. “We gave them the receipts. We explained exactly how the Democrat Party, as a matter of strategy, stole this election from Donald J. Trump.”
According to Got Freedom?, a nonprofit election integrity watchdog, the meeting included an address by President Donald Trump. Nearly 300 legislators heard from the president, Navarro, and Trump’s lawyer, Giuliani.
John Eastman and John Lott were also part of the briefing. Eastman represented Texas in the now-dismissed interstate challenge to the outcome of the election. Lott, a senior adviser for research and statistics for the Department of Justice, authored a recently released report on election theft.
“This information should serve as an important resource for state legislators as they make calls for state legislatures to meet to investigate the election and consider decertifying their state election results,” Phill Kline, who heads the Thomas More Foundation’s Amistad Project and who hosted the call on behalf of of the group, said in a statement.
“The integrity of our elections is far too important to treat cavalierly, and elected officials deserve to have all relevant information at their disposal as they consider whether to accept the reported results of the 2020 elections, especially in states where the process was influenced by private interests,” he added.
Navarro released a report on Dec. 21 that summarized and categorized evidence of election theft. In the Jan. 2 interview, he said he will be releasing another report on Monday. Navarro said Saturday the report “shows beyond a shadow of a doubt this election was stolen.”
Trump’s legal team and a handful of third parties are litigating challenges to the election in court in six battleground states. Dozens of U.S. Senators and House members have committed to lodging objections to electoral slates from those states when Congress counts the Electoral College votes on Jan. 6.
Democrats have criticized the efforts and say the election ran smoothly, apart from a small number of voter fraud cases.
Navarro also suggested that a special counsel may be appointed to investigate if fraud had occurred.
“I would not be surprised to see a special counsel on this,” Navarro said.
Trump’s legal team testified before several panels and committees from state legislatures, including in Michigan, Arizona, and Georgia. The team argued that the mounting evidence of election theft and malfeasance necessitated that the legislatures assert their constitutional right to appoint presidential electors. None of the legislatures have so far followed the team’s advice.
Trump has called on his supporters to descend on Washington when Congress counts the electoral votes on Jan. 6. Some of the senators who committed to objecting to the Electoral College votes that day said they will do so unless Congress appoints a special commission to conduct a 10-day emergency audit of the election. Individual state legislatures would then vet the findings and have the opportunity to convene and vote on a new set of electors.
Vice President Mike Pence said he welcomes efforts by lawmakers to challenge Electoral College results in the upcoming congressional joint session on Jan. 6, when the votes are formally counted, according to a statement sent by his chief of staff to reporters.
Vice President Chief of Staff Marc Short issued the statement on Saturday saying that Pence, who will be presiding over the Jan. 6 session as president of the senate, is open to considering planned objections by Republican House members and senators to Electoral College votes cast for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
Short added that the vice president also welcomes efforts by lawmakers to present evidence of election irregularities and alleged voter fraud before Congress during that session.
“Vice President Pence shares the concerns of millions of Americans about voter fraud and irregularities in the last election,” Short said in the statement sent to media outlets.
This comes after a group of 11 Republican senators announced their intention to challenge the electoral college votes from contested states earlier on Saturday. The group, led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), said the 2020 election “featured unprecedented allegations of voter fraud, violations, and lax enforcement of election law, and other voting irregularities.”
The allegations of fraud and irregularities in the 2020 election “exceed any in our lifetimes,” they said, adding that this “deep distrust” of U.S. democratic processes “will not magically disappear” and “should concern us all,” whether or not elected officials or journalist believe the allegations.
“It poses an ongoing threat to the legitimacy of any subsequent administrations,” the senators wrote in their statement, while calling on Congress to appoint an electoral commission to conduct an emergency 10-day audit of the election results.
They added that they intend to object to the votes unless and until the emergency 10-day audit is completed.
The group includes Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and Mike Braun (R-Ind.). Meanwhile, Sens.-elect Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), and Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) also plan on joining. They’ll be sworn in on Sunday, several days before the joint session.
Their announcement means 12 senators intend to object to the contested electoral votes on Jan. 6.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) was the first senator to announce his plans to object earlier this week. Forty House members plan on objecting to electoral votes, according to a tally by The Epoch Times.
Objections during the joint session must be made in writing by at least one House member and one senator. If the objection for any state meets this requirements, the joint session pauses and each house withdraws to its own chamber to debate the question for a maximum of two hours. The House and the Senate then vote separately to accept or reject the objection, which requires a majority vote from both chambers.
If both candidates receive less than 270 electoral votes on Jan. 6, then a contingent election is triggered in which each state’s delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives casts one en bloc vote to determine the president, while the vice president is decided by a vote in the U.S. Senate.
Democrats and several Republican senators have opposed the plans to challenge the electoral college results. Republican Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) issued statements on Saturday to reaffirm their support that they would back the electoral college votes that were cast for Biden.
Similarly, Senate Democrats rebuked efforts by their Republican colleagues.
“Joe Biden will be inaugurated on January 20th, and no publicity stunt will change that,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said in a statement.
“This pathetic, opportunistic stunt is an attack on our democracy. It’s un-American & unconscionable. Votes have been counted, recounted, certified, & all challenges totally discredited. Time to govern & get things done,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said in a separate statement.
The Republican senators acknowledged in their statement on Saturday that they expect Democrats and a few Republicans to vote against them but they added that “support for election integrity should not be a partisan issue.”
“A fair and credible audit-conducted expeditiously and completed well before January 20 would dramatically improve Americans’ faith in our electoral process and would significantly enhance the legitimacy of whoever becomes our next President. We owe that to the People,” the Republican senators said.
This comes after many President Donald Trump allies called on Pence to reject electoral votes from disputed states. A judge on Friday rejected a lawsuit filed by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and other Republicans against Pence requesting that the court grant the vice president “the exclusive authority and sole discretion in determining which electoral votes to count for a given State” on Jan. 6.
Over 400 people from the Intelligence Community (IC), military, law enforcement, and the judiciary have formed a loose network to investigate irregularities in the 2020 election.
Robert Caron, one of the organizers of this network, began his intelligence career with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). He later worked for the Special Situation Group, a task force established by President George H.W. Bush that includes strategic planning, technologies, and foreign and domestic investigations.
He told The Epoch Times that he was recruited to the network in 2014, during which time many in the intelligence community (IC) were seeing an increase in improper operations. Many IC officers were withholding information from their leaders, and their leaders were withholding information from the public. Caron mentioned that in 2014, Lt. General Michael Flynn called out then-President Barack Obama for “not acting properly on intelligence.”
In the same year, Obama fired Flynn over management issues. On Aug. 7, 2014, Flynn left his post as the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and ended his 33 years of an army career. After President Donald Trump pardoned Flynn last month, Flynn said in an interview with The New York Post that he was framed via the Russia-collusion investigation partly because Obama was afraid of Flynn’s ability to expose his corruption.
“President Obama was not acting properly on intelligence that he received concerning Benghazi,” Caron said, referring to an attack of U.S. government facilities in Benghazi, Libya, that resulted in the deaths of several U.S. officials. He said he believes it was then that a lot of people from the intelligence community got together and started recruiting people to join the network.
After numerous reports of irregularities in the 2020 election, the investigation network expanded. Many have focused on investigating the election, according to Caron, who said most are volunteering, while some are getting paid for the inquiry. He said that as far as he knows, the size of the network is “way over 400” and that each member of the network sees obvious election fraud based on their own observations.
Caron said that the network includes former intelligence officers, analysts, operatives, military, law enforcement, and judiciary from the FBI, CIA, Military Intelligence, DIA, and National Security Agency (NSA), among others, as well as many former intelligence officers in other countries.
“The fraud was so massive and so blatant, despite what the mainstream media said, that we need to get this information out to the public,” said Caron. “That’s why more and more people from the intelligence community and law enforcement are coming out, which is unheard of.”
Caron shared an example of information control by the mainstream media that he witnessed in McAllen, Texas, when Trump visited the border wall there in January 2019.
He said he saw two groups on both sides of the street. A group of about 100 was on one side, and a much larger group was on the other side. “A lot of people, because of what was told in the mainstream media, thought that all the people in the big crowd were the ones against the president. But no, they were the ones that were for the president.”
He said he asked them what they thought and learned that the border wall made their families feel safer, and was told that without the wall, various Mexican criminal organizations would cross the border and force their children to sell drugs.
One of the IC network’s current investigations focuses on foreign interference during the Nov. 3 election, with the Chinese Communist Party being a significant player.
Attorney Sidney Powell, who filed third-party lawsuits on behalf of President Donald Trump, said that Republicans in Congress should back Trump’s election challenge if the Republican Party hopes to survive.
“[Trump] won more than 305 electoral votes & the popular vote as well. You won in the greatest landslide in history,” Powell wrote on Twitter, suggesting that if election fraud was dealt with properly in the courts or in state legislatures, the president would have at least 305 Electoral College votes.
“If the [Republican National Committee] hopes to survive, every Republican should stand up for you now,” she said, adding that “a multi-billion-[dollar] donor told me there’s no point donating at all when [the] election is rigged.”
Later, the former federal prosecutor said that the upcoming Georgia runoff election for seats held by Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) could be tainted as well.
“Maybe they already won outright. Maybe someone else won? How do you have a runoff from a failed and fraudulent first election? Get the first one right first,” Powell, a lawyer who successfully represented retired Army Lt. Gen Michael Flynn, asked on Twitter.
It comes as President Trump recently criticized GOP members of the Senate and House for not taking up his $2,000 stimulus check proposal, saying Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his allies have a “death wish.”
“Unless Republicans have a death wish, and it is also the right thing to do, they must approve the $2,000 payments ASAP. $600 IS NOT ENOUGH!” Trump wrote on Twitter. McConnell blocked an attempt to pass the $2,000 CASH Act after Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) made a request for unanimous consent.
Several Republican senators expressed their support for the bill.
Now, Democrats in Congress are highlighting McConnell’s move in light of the Georga Senate runoff elections.
“Mitch McConnell, Kelly Loeffler & David Perdue are standing between your family and a $2,000 survival check Georgia,” Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) wrote in a tweet on Tuesday, saying Georgians should vote for Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, both Democrats. Loeffler and Perdue have said they support the $2,000 stimulus payments.
McConnell later Tuesday introduced a bill that combines the $2,000 payments with a repeal of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act—although Democrats have said the bill is designed to fail.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told CNN on Tuesday that McConnell is attempting “throw a few poison pills in there” to discourage senators from voting on the package this week.
“Let me throw in a reform of the internet while we’re at it here. Let’s do some work here and investigate the last election. For goodness sakes, stop looking for poison pills, Sen. McConnell, pass this right now. America needs it,” he said.
President Donald Trump’s campaign adviser said the team is aiming to present evidence during a potential congressional debate on Jan. 6 if lawmakers in the House and Senate object to states’ Electoral College votes.
As of Wednesday, it appears that at least one member of the Senate, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), and a number of House lawmakers will object to the electoral votes during the Joint Session of Congress. Hawley announced he would object to the electoral vote, pointing to previous Democratic efforts to do so during the 2004 and 2016 presidential elections. After the objection, an hours-long debate will occur.
Miller said that evidence could be presented in Congress, which would differ from what the Trump campaign presented in courts over the past several weeks.
“We will have a chance in front of the American people, next week to present these cases, all these evidences of fraud,” Miller told Newsmax, pointing to a lawsuit filed by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) against Vice President Mike Pence earlier this week to prevent him from confirming Joe Biden’s electoral victory. Miller told the outlet that the 1887 Electoral Count Act allows the vice president, who is the president of the Senate, to preside over the Joint Session of Congress.
Then, Miller told Newsmax that he hopes at least one senator and representative join together to object to the Electoral College vote, allowing for two hours of debate.
Should that happen, Miller said President Donald Trump’s team is seeking to present alleged evidence of voter fraud or irregularities in the Nov. 3 election, including law changes regarding mail-in ballots in Wisconsin, “suitcases of ballots” in Georgia being wheeled out late at night on Nov. 3 in Atlanta’s State Farm Center, and being blocked in Arizona and Michigan from inspecting voting systems, alleging that ballots were counted several times.
“These are the specific types of evidence we want to present to the American people on the national stage and not allow local politicians to sweep it under the rug,” Miller said.
Weeks ago, Trump’s team led by Rudy Giuliani presented a surveillance video from the State Farm Center that showed suitcase-like boxes being wheeled from under a table. It came after election officials allegedly told other workers and poll observers that counting was done for the night.
The Georgia GOP said they received conflicting and incorrect answers and statements from Fulton County officials about what happened on Election Night, and officials later acknowledged that vote-counting went on until the early-morning hours. State election officials, in response to the video, said nothing unusual occurred with the ballot boxes and vote-tabulation process in Fulton County.
Elaborating on Wisconsin, he said, “Article II of the Constitution makes it very clear, the state legislatures, and state legislatures alone, set up the voting systems for each state, the codes and the way they are conducted.” He said, “And what we have here is we have over 20,000 ballots that were cast without actually having an application on file, the mail ballots. Wisconsin’s very clear, very specific you got to have an application on file.”
At 1 p.m. local time on Jan. 6, members of Congress will gather in the chamber of the House of Representatives to observe the formal certification of Electoral College votes for president of the United States.
While it’s usually a formality, nothing has been usual so far about this year’s election amid numerous allegations of voter fraud in key swing states.
The situation is complicated by a lack of clarity on the legal and constitutional guardrails for the process. The joint session of Congress may well result in gridlock, in which a clear winner of the race isn’t announced at all.
Based on current election results, former Vice President Joe Biden has received 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232 votes. Meanwhile, Republicans in seven states where Biden claimed victory have sent their own sets of electoral votes to Washington, and some members of the House have indicated that they will object to Biden electors in some states. Any objection would require support from one House member and one senator to be considered, and at least one senator has has left open the possibility he would join the effort.
So what will happen?
The counting of votes is primarily governed by the 12th Amendment of the Constitution and the amended Electoral Count Act.
The Constitution simply states that electors of each state have to meet, make a list of their votes, “which they shall sign and certify,” and send those to the president of the Senate, meaning Vice President Mike Pence.
“The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted,” the 1804 amendment says.
The Electoral Count Act of 1887, currently known as 3 U.S. Code Section 15, establishes a procedure for how the votes are counted, how to raise objections, and how to resolve disputes. First, it says that the vice president indeed presides over the proceedings. Then, it says the House and Senate leaders each designate two tellers. The VP opens the envelopes with the vote certificates and hands them to the tellers for counting. The tellers then read them out loud, count them, and hand them back to the VP to announce the results.
Then, in rather convoluted language, the law says that Congress members can object. At least one objection from each chamber is needed to trigger a separate vote by both House and Senate on the objections. If both chambers agree, the objected voters are rejected. That’s virtually out of the question given the Democrats’ majority in the House.
If two sets of electors are presented for counting, the House and Senate need to separately vote on which set is legitimate and which should be rejected. If each chamber votes differently, the set certified by the state’s governor should count. That would hand the victory to Biden.
The problem is, there’s a voluminous body of legal analysis arguing that the Electoral Count Act is unconstitutional. Congress has no business granting itself the authority to decide which slate of electors is the correct one and which votes should be rejected. Nor does Congress have the power to designate state governors as the final arbiters, a lineup of legislators and legal scholars have argued.
There are two arguments for who has the constitutional power to decide which electors to choose.
Some jurists say it’s the VP who has the sole discretion to decide which votes to count. The argument is that the framers intended for the VP to be the sole authority over the counting of the votes because the unanimous resolution attached to the Constitution said that the Senate should appoint its President “for the sole Purpose of receiving, opening, and counting the Votes for President.”
Moreover, before the adoption of the Electoral Count Act, it was always the VP counting the votes, sometimes despite major objections from Congress. Thomas Jefferson did so as the VP in the 1800 election, counting Georgia’s constitutionally deficient votes and de facto securing his own presidency.
Arizona state lawmakers and GOP electors, together with Rep. Louie Gohmert, have filed a federal suit asking for the court to clarify the law to the effect that the Electoral Count Act is unconstitutional and the VP’s power is paramount.
Not everybody agrees, though.
University of Virginia professsor John Harrison, an expert on constitutional history, says the VP doesn’t have “any constitutional power to make decisions” over which votes to count.
He argued that the law is deficient to the effect that “Congress doesn’t have the power to make the announcement [of its decisions regarding the vote count] conclusive.” But that doesn’t mean it can’t prescribe any rules at all.
“The Constitution does call for counting the votes with both houses present, so I think that setting up procedures for a count is within Congress’s power,” he told The Epoch Times via email.
The second argument is that the Constitution grants the authority to determine how electors are picked to state legislatures. As such, any disputes over which votes should be counted should be resolved by state legislatures.
The problem is, state legislatures aren’t in session and they can’t assemble in a special session without a call from the governors, who have refused to do so. Meanwhile, the legislatures have usually delegated the power to certify electors to the Governors and Secretaries of State, undermining their own authority on the matter.
The conservative Amistad Project of the Thomas More Society has filed a federal lawsuit arguing that the power of the legislatures is both “exclusive and non-delegable,” and thus any state and federal statutes to the contrary are unconstitutional and void.
That would not only knock down some provisions of the Electoral Count Act, but also render electoral votes that haven’t been certified post-election by state legislatures illegitimate.
Regardless of what the courts will say, the core question is what will take place in the House chambers on Jan. 6? Will Pence refuse to follow the Electoral Count Act? Will some of the tellers dissent? If things go wrong for the Democrats, will House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) try to end the session prematurely?
There’s no way to tell. Pence hasn’t let his intentions be known.