Pence under pressure as the final step nears in formalizing Biden’s win

Some die-hard Trump supporters are declaring that Pence will be a traitor if he does not somehow derail the proceedings. There is no evident way for him to do that even if he wanted to, but such demands ratchet up the pressure on Pence, who is unlikely to escape their wrath — or Trump’s.

“Trump would probably tell Pence, ‘Just go declare us reelected,’ ” said Joel Goldstein, a professor at the Saint Louis University School of Law. “Part of his constitutional duty is to be responsible. Just because you’re vice president doesn’t mean you get to engage in behavior that is threatening the underpinning of democratic institutions of the country.”…

But rumors of Pence’s power at the joint session of Congress have been greatly exaggerated online. Some Trump supporters are insisting that he could use his role as presiding officer to invalidate the results from various states, causing the hashtag “Pence card” to trend on social media — meaning the pro-Trump forces should play that card.

But that is a misunderstanding of a provision in the U.S. Code saying that if a state does not submit its electoral votes by the fourth Wednesday of December, the vice president should prod the state to send them expeditiously. It does not give the vice president the power to reject any electoral votes.

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