Pence aide pushes back on Navarro claim that VP could delay election certification

A top aide to Vice President Pence is pushing back on statements made by a White House adviser suggesting the vice president could delay certification of votes from the Electoral College when he presides over a congressional count on Wednesday.

Peter Navarro, the White House director of trade and manufacturing policy, asserted during an appearance on Fox News over the weekend that Pence "has the authority" to provide a 10-day window to investigate the election results, saying, "I cannot imagine when you look to the facts, he won't vote the right way on that."

President Trump made a similar but false claim in a tweet on Tuesday, saying: "The Vice President has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors." 

Marc Short, Pence's chief of staff, threw cold water on the idea. 

"Peter Navarro is many things," Short told The Wall Street Journal for a story published Tuesday. “He is not a constitutional scholar.”

Congress is counting the Electoral College votes on Wednesday, the last step before President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20.

A number of Republican senators have said they will object to the certification of the election results, an action that would trigger hours of debate during a joint session of Congress.

A majority in both chambers would need to vote to approve the rejection of any state's electors, though the vice president — acting as the president of the Senate during such a proceeding — cannot unilaterally invalidate or delay the certification of votes or electors.

Trump at a rally in Georgia late Monday night said he hopes Pence "comes through for us." 

“Of course, if he doesn’t come through, I won’t like him quite as much,” Trump said. “Nah, Mike is a great guy. He’s a wonderful man and a smart man and a man that I like a lot. But he’s going to have a lot to say about it and you know one thing with him, you’re going to get straight shots. He’s going to call it straight."

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