WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s extraordinary effort to overturn the presidential election is going before Congress as lawmakers convene for a joint session to confirm the Electoral College vote won by Joe Biden.
The typically routine proceeding Wednesday will be anything but, a political confrontation unseen since the aftermath of the Civil War as Trump mounts a desperate effort to stay in office. The president’s Republican allies in the House and Senate plan to object to the election results, heeding supporters’ plea to “fight for Trump” as he stages a rally outside the White House. It’s tearing the party apart.
The longshot effort is all but certain to fail, defeated by bipartisan majorities in Congress prepared to accept the results. Biden, who won the Electoral College 306-232, is set to be inaugurated Jan. 20.
“The most important part is that, in the end, democracy will prevail here,” Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, among those managing the proceedings, said in an interview.
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The joint session of Congress, required by law, will convene at 1 p.m. EST under a watchful, restless nation — months after the the Nov. 3 election, two weeks before the inauguration’s traditional peaceful transfer of power and against the backdrop of a surging COVID-19 pandemic.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who warned his party off this challenge, is expected to deliver early remarks. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, set to gavel proceedings on her side of the Capitol, called it a day of “enormous historic significance.” It is about “guaranteeing trust in our democratic system,” she said in a letter to colleagues.
But it is Vice President Mike Pence who will be closely watched as he presides over the session.
Full Coverage: Electoral College
Despite Trump’s repeated claims of voter fraud, election officials and his own former attorney general have said there were no problems on a scale that would change the outcome. All the states have certified their results as fair and accurate, by Republican and Democratic officials alike.