Live politics updates: Sen. Ted Cruz to object to Arizona's electoral votes
The year 2020 may now be behind us, but we aren't done with the 2020 election just yet.
This week, the new Congress gets to work, two runoff elections in Georgia will determine control of the Senate, and President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory will be certified by Congress.
Here are the upcoming dates to watch:
- Today: Senate runoff election in Georgia.
- Tomorrow: Congress will count and certify the electoral results in a joint session.
- Jan. 20: Inauguration of Biden, who will take the oath of office.
Be sure to refresh this page often to get the latest information on the transition and other developments.
Vice President Mike Pence reportedly informed President Donald Trump he does not have the authority to stop the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory when Congress meets Wednesday, according to the New York Times and CNN.
Pence reportedly informed the president just hours after Trump spent time at a campaign rally Monday night protesting his own election defeat and putting pressure on the vice president to try and subvert Biden's victory.
"I hope Mike Pence comes through for us, I have to tell you," Trump told supporters in Dalton, Ga., just two days before Congress meets to count the Electoral College votes that elected Biden.
Pence, in his role as president of the Senate, lacks the legal power to just throw out votes. Trump has erroneously claimed Pence “has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors,” both mistaking Pence’s role and also falsely claiming the election was somehow rigged.
CNN reported that “Pence gently informed Trump during the meeting that the power doesn't exist for him to derail the process.”
Pence will preside over any debates that arise from objections during the certification process. So far, dozens of Republican lawmakers have said they support objecting.
The New York Times reported Pence’s allies “expect him to carry out his constitutional duties on Wednesday.”
— Savannah Behrmann
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, plans to object to the counting of Arizona's electoral votes Wednesday, according to a source familiar with the effort but not authorized to speak on the record.
Cruz's objection means at least three states’ results will likely draw objections on Wednesday, when Congress meets in a joint session to count the electoral votes and certify President-elect Joe Biden's win. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., is expected to object to Pennsylvania’s results and Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., is likely to object to Georgia’s results. For an objection to go to debate, at least one member from the House and Senate will need to object.
Democrats have slammed the planned objections as an attempt to ignore the will of the voters. Sitting and former Republican members of Congress have also denounced the effort with many calling it detrimental to democracy.
But Cruz told conservative host Mark Levin Monday evening his objections were “not to set aside the election” but to push for a commission to investigate voter fraud. But Arizona’s results have already been certified, and evidence of widespread voter fraud has not been found in Arizona or any of the states contested by President Donald Trump and Republicans. Trump's legal challenges to the election have mostly been dismissed by courts, and state legislatures have declined to bow to pressure from Trump to change Electoral College results. “We do elections well here in Arizona,” Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican said as the state’s results were certified. In December, then-Attorney General Bill Barr said the Justice Department did not find evidence of widespread voter fraud that would overturn the election.
Republican lawmakers’ efforts to object to the electoral votes are part of a long-shot bid championed by Trump to alter the results of the Electoral College. The challenges are unlikely to succeed, as a majority vote of both the House and Senate is required to exclude electoral votes. Democrats are not expected to join in the challenges, and many Republicans oppose the challenges too.
Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., a moderate, told reporters on a Tuesday conference call he would oppose the objections.
“When it comes to reviewing and objecting to the electors, essentially our role in Congress is to respect those electors that are spent by the respective states,” he said, noting that none of the states in question had submitted alternate electors, nor had their state legislatures asked Congress to alter the outcome.
And in a statement released Tuesday, Sen. Jim Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, where Trump won nearly two-thirds of the vote, said challenging states’ certifications would “be a violation of my oath of office.”
– Nicholas Wu
The Business Roundtable, a 208-member association of corporate executives who head some of the country’s most influential companies, issued a statement Tuesday calling on Congress to properly count the electoral votes of the presidential election when lawmakers meet in a joint session Wednesday.
“With claims of electoral fraud having been fully considered and rejected by federal and state courts and state government officials, the integrity of the 2020 presidential election is not in doubt,” the group writes. “There is no authority for Congress to reject or overturn electoral votes lawfully certified by the states and affirmed by the Electoral College."
“Therefore, Business Roundtable opposes efforts to delay or overturn the clear outcome of the election,” the group said.
Congress certification:Congress is set to certify Biden's election win Jan. 6. Here's what to expect.
The move comes as Republican members of the House and Senate have said they will contest the presidential election’s official count.
The Business Roundtable cited the stress the coronavirus pandemic had placed on the economy as a reason that “ongoing division and distrust in our political system threatens the economic recovery and job creation our country desperately needs.”
The group, which in June called on Congress to pass bipartisan stimulus and update corporate regulations, says it will “continue to promote common ground” despite the division on Capitol Hill.
– Matthew Brown
Poll are open in the Georgia runoff elections that will determine which party will control the U.S. Senate and could be crucial for determining the fate of President-elect Joe Biden's legislative agenda after he takes office on Jan. 20.
The runoff election marks the end of the tumultuous 2020 election cycle that saw Republicans make gains in Congress while losing the White House.
Peach State voters will decide whether Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler return to Washington or if Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock replace them. All four ran Nov. 3, but none got enough votes under state law to win the Senate seats outright, forcing Tuesday's runoffs.
Georgia Senate runoff questions? 7 things to know
Wins by both Ossoff and Warnock would result in a 50-50 split in the Senate, effectively giving Democrats control of the chamber since Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would cast tiebreaking votes.
A win by one of the Republicans would keep the Senate in the hands of Republicans and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Though it would be a narrow Republican majority, Biden and Democrats would face an uphill battle on any legislation they hoped to pass.