WASHINGTON – A federal judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit cited by President Trump’s allies in Congress aimed at pressuring Vice President Mike Pence to dismiss the election results in the last effort by lawmakers to challenge President-elect Joseph R. , Biden Jr.’s victory hit a blow.
Judge Jeremy D. Kernodle of the Eastern District of Texas ruled that Republican lawmakers, led by Texas Representative Louie Gohmert, lacked the right to sue Mr. Pence on the matter. The lawsuit challenged the more than a hundred-year-old law that governs the process of electoral college to upgrade an otherwise ceremonial role to one that has the power to reject votes for Mr Biden.
As Chairman of the Senate, Mr. Pence has the responsibility of opening and counting the envelopes mailed by each state and reporting their election results when Congress meets on January 6th to confirm Mr. Biden’s victory. Mr Gohmert, along with his colleagues and constituents in Arizona, had hoped that the lawsuit filed on Sunday could force Mr Pence to take on an expanded role, putting pressure on the vice president to invalidate the election results.
But Judge Kernodle, who was appointed by Mr Trump, dashed those hopes on Friday, despite Mr Gohmert saying in an interview with Newsmax that his lawyers would appeal. His decision came a day after the Justice Department asked him to deny the lawsuit. The department also argued that Mr. Gohmert had no authority to sue Mr. Pence for performing the duties set out in the law, but that he should sue Congress, which passed the original law.
The president was unhappy when he learned that the Justice Department was representing Mr Pence in a lawsuit his supporters had filed and he turned to the vice president Friday morning to discuss it, three people briefed on the discussion said .
During their interview, Mr. Trump expressed surprise at the development, despite the Justice Department following due process for Mr. Pence being sued in his official capacity, according to one of the people who were briefed on the discussion. Mr Trump spoke more to advisors than to Mr Pence about his frustrations with the Justice Department involvement.
Mr Trump’s allies in Congress are making a last-minute effort to undermine the election results by objecting to the confirmation of key states’ election results when Congress meets to endorse them. This is the final step in the process to confirm Mr Biden’s victory. Your efforts, led by Mr. Gohmert in the House of Representatives and Josh Hawley of Missouri in the Senate, will force each House to consider the objections for up to two hours, followed by a vote on Mr. Biden’s victory.
With the majority of Republicans in the Senate expecting to ratify the election and the House being controlled by the Democrats, the offer is doomed. But the trial could ultimately put Mr. Pence in the excruciating position of declaring that Mr. Trump lost the election.
Although Senate Republicans have been largely reluctant – and even outright contempt – at the move, lawmakers in the House have rallied to support the effort. In the letter Mr. Gohmert originally submitted to federal court, he indicated that over 140 Republicans in the House intended to object to Mr. Biden’s victory.
Mr Trump has continued to falsely claim that Mr Biden falsely won the election because of widespread electoral fraud, and has called for Republicans in Congress to work to dismiss the results.
However, there was no evidence of widespread inappropriateness, and former Attorney General William P. Barr has acknowledged that the Justice Department has not uncovered any such fraud that altered the outcome.
The Supreme Court and courts in at least eight critical states across the country have also dismissed or dismissed challenges that the Trump campaign has undertaken to dismiss the election results. These challenges have come nowhere near outperforming results in a single state.