Vice President Mike Pence speaks during the eighth meeting of the National Space Council at the Kennedy Space Center Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. | John Raoux/AP
Lawyers for Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and Arizona’s 11 Republican electors revealed Tuesday that Vice President Mike Pence declined to sign onto their plan to upend Congress’ certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
It’s the first indication that Pence is resisting some of the most extreme calls to reverse the presidential election results, thus relying on his role as the presiding officer on Jan. 6, when Congress meets to finalize Biden’s win.
Gohmert and the Arizona electors sued Pence this week to throw out the procedures that Congress has relied upon since 1889 to count electoral votes. Instead, he said, Pence has the unilateral authority to determine which electors should be voted upon by Congress — raising the prospect that Pence would simply override the choices made by voters in states like Arizona and Pennsylvania that Biden won, to introduce President Donald Trump’s electors instead.
But in a motion to expedite proceedings, Gohmert and the electors revealed that their lawyers had reached out to Pence’s counsel in the Office of the Vice President to attempt to reach agreement before going to court.
“In the teleconference, Plaintiffs’ counsel made a meaningful attempt to resolve the underlying legal issues by agreement, including advising the Vice President’s counsel that Plaintiffs intended to seek immediate injunctive relief in the event the parties did not agree,” according to Gohmert’s filing. “Those discussions were not successful in reaching an agreement and this lawsuit was filed.”
Pence still has not publicly weighed in on his plans for presiding over the Jan. 6 session, when Congress will count electoral votes expected to certify Biden’s victory. He also has not publicly commented on Trump’s repeated calls to reverse the results of the democratic process and install himself for a second term.
Gohmert’s attorneys in the case, some of whom have handled some of Trump’s lawsuits intended to overturn Biden’s victory in key swing states, indicated they’ve since been in touch with lawyers in the civil division of the Department of Justice about the administration’s formal response to the suit. Further calls were scheduled for later Tuesday.
Gohmert and the electors are seeking an expedited schedule for the judge, U.S. District Court Judge Jeremy Kernodle of the Eastern District of Texas, that would result in a ruling no later than Jan. 4, so they have an opportunity to appeal ahead of the Jan. 6 session of Congress.