Former president Donald Trump is claiming a Senate effort to clarify how Congress counts electoral votes after a presidential election is proof that his baseless theories on how former Vice President Mike Pence could’ve overturned the 2020 election for him were not as baseless, as nearly all reputable legal scholars have said.
Mr Trump took to his Truth Social platform on Wednesday to weigh in on the proposed legislation, which is sponsored by Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, as well as a bipartisan group of 14 other senators.
“Senators are meeting right now on reforming the Electoral Count Act so that a Vice President can no longer do what EVERYBODY, except for certain Conservative legal scholars, said was not allowed to be done. So they all lied,” he wrote, adding that Mr Pence “could have sent fraudulent votes back to State Legislatures” in his view.
The Collins-Manchin proposal would clarify that the vice president’s duties during the quadrennial counting of electoral votes are purely ministerial, matching the view of legal scholars who said Mr Pence was not empowered to unilaterally reject electoral votes from disputed states as Mr Trump had desired.
The last-ditch gambit favoured by the disgraced ex-president and his allies would have replaced the legitimate electoral votes for Joe Biden submitted by Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin with fake electors for Mr Trump.
Mr Trump’s advisers seized on the plan, which was promoted by ex-Chapman University law professor John Eastman, after his legal team lost more than 60 separate lawsuits seeking to throw out Mr Biden’s win in numerous states.
According to the New York Times, Mr Trump’s advisers knew the plan they were advocating for was not lawful but pushed ahead with the plan as a way to keep Mr Trump in the White House for a second term against the wishes of US voters.
Although a handful of pro-Trump attorneys had claimed Mr Pence was empowered to reject electoral votes cast in swing states won by Mr Biden in favor of the fraudulent pro-Trump slates that had been sent to the National Archives, most reputable legal scholars have disagreed. Mr Pence ultimately rejected the plan, drawing scorn from Mr Trump and from the riotous mob of his supporters who stormed the Capitol on January 6 2021 in hopes of disrupting certification of electoral votes.