Congress overwhelmingly dismisses bid to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in Arizona and Pennsylvania – with a majority of House Republicans voting for objections despite MAGA riot
- The Senate was first to vote on an Electoral College objection and voted 93 to 6 against a challenge of Arizona’s 11 votes going to President-elect Joe Biden
- Ringleader Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley maintained their support of the challenges even after Wednesday’s MAGA riot on Capitol Hill
- Other Republicans who said they’d join the movement changed their mind, including Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who lost her race early Wednesday in Georgia
- On the House side, 122 GOP lawmakers sided with President Donald Trump, despite the earlier violence directed at Congress and the U.S. Capitol
- However, the Democrat-controlled House still knocked down the Arizona challenge with 220 Democrats and 83 Republicans voting to kill it
- A second challenge came around midnight, with Hawley signing onto a House Republican bid to question Pennsylvania’s Electoral College votes
- That attempt was quashed too, with the Senate immediately voting 92-7 to overrule
- The House took two hours to debate the merits and also defeated the challenge 282-138
Congress overwhelmingly dismissed bids to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in Arizona and Pennsylvania, with final votes coming in at 3 a.m. Thursday morning.
In both instances, a majority of House Republicans voted in a way that favored President Donald Trump’s baseless claims that widespread voter fraud existed.
However, they were outnumbered by Democrats and joined by a bloc of GOP members.
A majority of House Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (pictured), voted in President Trump’s favor and for objections to Electoral College vote challenges in the states of Arizona and Pennsylvania
Sen. Josh Hawley (left) was joined by Sen. Ted Cruz (right) who had assembled a so-called ‘dirty dozen’ to object to certain states’ Electoral College vote counts. Hawley single-handedly signed onto the Pennsylvania objection, delaying the final certification
The votes put an end to any hope of Trump having Congress overturn the election in his favor.
Biden was at 244 of the 270 Electoral College votes needed when a final challenge of Pennsylvania’s count, signed onto by Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, pushed lawmakers back into their respective chambers.
In the Senate, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell skipped the two hours of permitted debate and went straight to a vote.
The upper chamber voted 92-7 to overrule the Republicans’ objection.
‘We don’t expect additional votes tonight,’ he said when things were done. McConnell had been against the GOP effort to challenge the Electoral College vote counts from the beginning.
The House proceeded with debate and then voted 282 to 138 to overrule the challenge of Pennsylvania, with 64 Republicans voting alongside Democrats to make up the majority.
Earlier the Senate had voted 93 to 6 against the Republican-led objection to Arizona’s 11 Electoral College votes.
A short time later, the House of Representatives took the same vote, and while the effort failed, more the half of House Republicans voted in favor of the objection – a move President Donald Trump has been pressuring them to take.
The final House vote was 303 against the objection, which included 220 Democrats and 83 Republicans.
Yet 122 GOP House members voted in its favor, including the party’s leader, Rep. Kevin McCarthy.
Another challenge, that to Georgia’s Electoral College votes, failed when Senate Republicans withdrew their support of GOP House members’ objection.
And then another, to Michigan’s count – offered by QAnon promoter Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia – was also shot down, because it failed to gain Senate support.
The same happened with an objection to Nevada’s Electoral College vote count.
Cheers greeted the announcement each time.
At nearly 4 a.m., Rep. Louie Gohmert tried to get one more challenge through – for the state of Wisconsin – but, again, a senator had withdrawn.
The Constitution mandates that Congress meet on January 6 to certify the results of the presidential election. The states are read alphabetically and the votes tallied.
Before the MAGA mob rioted in the halls of Congress Wednesday, Rep. Paul Gosar, an Arizona Republican, filed the first objection of the day and was joined by a group of GOP senators – sending lawmakers back to their respective chambers for two hours of debate and then votes.
But the pro-Trump rioters held up the separate House and Senate debates for hours, with the Senate finally resuming its session after 8 p.m. and the House a short time after.
Sen. Josh Hawley refused to back down on his objections to Electoral College vote and voted with five other Republicans against confirming Arizona’s 11 votes
Earlier, supporters of President Donald Trump mobbed the U.S. Capitol Building, stalling the Congressional session in which the Electoral College votes are counted
Sen. Mitt Romney (left) praised Republicans including Sen. Kelly Loeffler, (right) who changed her mind about mounting an Electoral College challenge after the violent riot that occurred on Capitol Hill
A dozen or more Republican senators had said they would join House members in objecting to a number of states’ Electoral College results, repeating President Donald Trump’s claims and conspiracy theories about election fraud.
That number dwindled down to a ‘dirty half-dozen’ with a number of senators abandoning the effort after Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol Building Wednesday afternoon – breaking windows, tussling with police and ransacking Congressional offices.
One female Trump supporter was shot and killed.
Still Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley voted to reject Arizona’s votes, alongside Sens. John Kennedy and Cindy Hyde-Smith, as well as newly minted Sens. Tommy Tuberville and Roger Marshall.
Hawley, who was the first senator who pledged to back a House GOP effort to object to certain states’ Electoral College vote counts, refused to abandon the effort entirely.
The Missouri Republican argued that the Senate floor was the appropriate place to address any election fraud concerns – as opposed to a violent riot.
‘Violence is not how you achieve change,’ Hawley said. ‘And that’s why I submit to my colleagues that what we’re doing here tonight is actually very important. Because fo those who have concerns about the integrity of our elections … this is the appropriate means, this is the lawful place, where those objections and concerns should be heard.’
He said he hoped the Senate could address concerns ‘peacefully, without violence, without attacks, without bullets.’
Hawley then indicated that he might not file objections after the debate over Arizona was complete, bringing up the issues he had with Pennsylvania during his brief floor speech.
‘And so Mr President let me just say now, that briefly, in lieu of speaking about it later, a word about Pennsylvania – this is a state that I have been focused on, objected to,’ Hawley said.
He then went on to complain that the state set-up ‘universal mail-in balloting.’
‘And did it irregardless of what the Pennsylvania Constitution says,’ Hawley said, using the improper word for regardless.
The senator then objected to how the Pennsylvania Supreme Court made its decision, holding up the law that allowed for enhanced mail-in voting during the coronavirus pandemic.
Hawley later, indeed, signed onto the Pennsylvania objection.
Directly after Hawley spoke, Sen. Mitt Romney applauded those senators, like Sens. Kelly Loeffler and James Lankford, who had abandoned Hawley and the ‘dirty dozen’s’ effort.
‘The best way we can show respect to the voters who are upset is by telling them the truth,’ Romney implored.
And the truth, he said, was ‘President-Elect Biden won the election. President Trump lost.’
‘I’ve had that experience myself, it’s no fun,’ Romney said, a reference to losing the 2012 presidential election to Democratic President Barack Obama.
Marshall, a Kansas Republican, argued in his debut floor speech, ‘We must restore faith and confidence in one of our republic’s most hallowed and patriotic duties: voting.’
Marshall said he backed the creation of an electoral commission to give states to ‘construtive suggestions’ going forward, due to the ‘jarring irregularities’ he claimed took place in the 2020 race.
Georgia Republican Loeffler, who lost her race in the early hours Wednesday to Democratic Rev. Raphael Warnock, announced that she would no longer be filing objections to Electoral College votes.
‘When I arrived in Washington this morning, I fully intended to object to the certification of the electoral votes,’ she said. ‘However, the events that have transpired today have forced me to reconsider and I cannot now, in good conscience, object.’
Sen. Steve Daines, a Montana Republican, also announced that he no longer supporters senators filing objections.
Later in the night, as the Pennsylvania debate went on, tensions rose in the House during a speech from Rep. Conor Lamb.
Lamb, who represents the Pittsburgh area, unloaded on the Republicans who objected to the vote from his state.
Lamb first read from the speech he had planned to give pre-riot, including that Allegheny County’s vote-counting operation had ’31 video cameras!’ he said, raising his voice.
‘These objections don’t deserve an ounce of respect. Not an ounce,’ he then said.
‘A woman died out there tonight and you’re making these objections,’ Lamb went on. ‘Let’s be clear about what happened in this chamber today: invaders came in for the first time since the War of 1812.’
Lamb nodded over in the direction of a group of his Republican colleagues.
‘We know that that attack today, it didn’t materialize out of nowhere. It was inspired by lies, the same lies you’re hearing in this room tonight, and the members who are repeating those lies should be ashamed of themselves,’ Lamb said. ‘Their constituents should be ashamed of them.’
Rep. Morgan Griffith shouted to have Lamb’s comments struck from the record.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gaveled his request down, later explaining that he wasn’t quick enough, saying it needed to happen ‘exactly when the words are spoken.’
Nearby, a scuffle among lawmakers nearly broke out involving Rep. Andy Harris, a Maryland Republican, and Rep. Colin Allred, a Texas Democrat, according to Capitol Hill reportrs.
Allred is a former professional football player.
Before the siege on Capitol Hill that lasted hours, McConnell had warned his Republican colleagues against mounting challenges, which would extend the certification process for hours.
McConnell called it a ‘poisonous path,’ which would put democracy in a ‘death spiral.’
McConnell also made clear that he did not believe there was any evidence of widespread voter fraud, as President Donald Trump has claimed.
‘We’re debating a step that has neve been taken in American history, whether Congress should overrule the voters and overtrun a presidential election,’ he said on the Senate floor, after Rep. Paul Gosar and a batch of GOP senators, including Sen. Ted Cruz, objected to Arizona’s Electoral College vote count.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell ripped his GOP colleagues who are trying to mount challenges to the presidential election during a Congressional session Wednesday
McConnell ridiculed President Donald Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud in a five-minute speech which will be one of his last as majority leader – and which he said was about the most important vote of his career.
‘The assertions range from specific, local allegations to Constitutional arguments to sweeping conspiracy theories,’ McConnell said.
He reminded senators that he was supportive of Trump using the country’s legal system, which handed the president and his team loss after loss. And pointed out that these cases were heard by some of the ‘all-star judges whom the president himself nominated’ – including on the U.S. Supreme Court.
McConnell said that every election is plagued by some instances of vote irregularity.
‘And of course that’s unacceptable,’ he said.
The top Senate Republican also said he supported ‘strong state-led voting reforms,’ adding that he didn’t want to see ‘last year’s bizarre pandemic procedures’ – like mail-in ballots that gave Democrats an edge – ‘become the new norm.’
‘But my colleagues nothing before us proves illegality anywhere near the massive scale, the massive scale that would have tipped the entire election,’ McConnell argued. ‘Nor can public doubt alone justify a radical break, when the doubt itself was incited without any evidence.’
He pointed out that the Constitution gives Congress a ‘limited role.’
‘We simply can’t declare ourselves a national board of elections on steroids,’ McConnell said.
Twisting the knife into Trump, McConnell also pointed out that the race between President-elect Joe Biden and Trump ‘was not unusually close.’
‘The Electoral College margin was almost idential to what it was in 2016,’ McConnell pointed out.
‘If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side our democracy would enter a death spiral,’ McConnel warned. ‘We’d never see a whole nation accept an election again.’
‘Every four years there would be a scramble for power at any cost,’ he added. ‘This will lead us down a poisonous path where only the winner accepts the result.’
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