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VP Pence rejects lawsuit urging him to throw out votes

Mike Pence used his speech at the Republican National Convention to accuse Joe Biden of turning a blind eye to violence in US cities. AP

Mike Pence has rejected a GOP lawsuit aiming to expand the vice president’s authority in Congress to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, striking a blow against a growing body of Republican lawmakers who plan to object during the formal count of the electoral votes next week.

The vice president’s filing on Thursday responded to a lawsuit from Texas congressman Louie Gohmert and Arizona Republicans in an attempt to throw out electoral college votes during a joint session of Congress on 6 January, with the vice president presiding, to formally certify Joe Biden’s win.

The lawsuit argues that the vice president has the ultimate authority to determine the validity of electoral votes, as Donald Trump’s allies file dozens of meritless court challenges to contest the validity of elections in several battleground states.

“The ‘plaintiffs’ suit seeks to empower the Vice President to unilaterally and unreviewably decide objections to the validity of electoral votes,” according to the 14-page filing from Mr Pence, through Department of Justice lawyers.

But “a suit to establish that the Vice President has discretion over the count, filed against the Vice President, is a walking legal contradiction,” the brief says.

Mr Gohmert is among at least 140 GOP lawmakers in the House of Representatives who intend to object to the results, according to CNN. Their attempt undermines the votes of millions of Americans by relying on spurious claims of election fraud, interference and vote manipulation, amplified by the president and his campaign.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi condemned the ploy among Republican lawmakers who have “refused to respect the will of the American people and instead have spread dangerous conspiracy theories and brought over fifty extreme, failed lawsuits in a brazen attempt to overturn the certified results of the 2020 election,” she said in a statement on Thursday.

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