Several House Republicans and roughly a dozen senators have announced plans to object to individual states’ electoral vote counts.
Their effort has virtually no chance of success, and Vice President Mike Pence — who is presiding over the proceedings in a largely ceremonial role — said in a letter to lawmakers that he did not believe he had the power to “reject electoral votes unilaterally.”
Trump has publicly pressured Republican lawmakers and Pence to help him reverse the election’s outcome during the proceedings on Wednesday.
But as the Senate began debate on the Arizona objection, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell fiercely criticized the planned challenges by some of his Republican colleagues, as well as Trump’s baseless claims of widespread voter fraud.
“We’re debating a step that has never been taken in American history: Whether Congress should overrule the voters and overturn a presidential election,” McConnell said. “I’ve served 36 years in the Senate. This will be the most important vote I’ve ever cast.”
Members of Congress, McConnell argued, “cannot simply declare ourselves a national board of elections on steroids.”