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.
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.
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
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. Only six remained in that group after the first vote, which was on Arizona’s 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 Sen. Kelly 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.
Before the siege on Capitol Hill that lasted hours – with one female Trump supporter dead – Senate Majority Leader Mitch 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
‘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
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.’
McConnell also pointed out that the Republican Party has pushed to keep the Electoral College system, suggesting Wednesday’s shenanigans could further push Americans to wanting to get rid of it.
‘Leaving many of our states without any real say at all in choosing a president,’ he said.
Addressing his GOP peers, McConnell said, ‘Self goverment, my colleagues, requires a shared commitment to the truth and a shared respect for the ground rules of our system.’
‘We cannot keep drifting apart into two separate tribes with a separate set of facts and separate realities,’ he said.
He also encouraged Republicans to be better than the Democrats, who previously challenged Electoral College votes in 2001, 2005 and 2017.
‘Republican condemned those baseless effots,’ McConnell said.
‘But we must not imitate and escalate what we repudiate,’ he argued.
He said the Senate’s ‘duty is to govern for the public good.’
‘The United States has a higher calling than an endless spiral of partisan vengeance,’ he said.
McConnell declared he would not be joining any of the objections Wednesday to challenge the count.
At least 14 senators signed onto the effort, pressed by Trump.
Democrats are standing firm against the objections.
House Minority Leader Chuck Schumer – who is due for a promotion once the results in the two Georgia Senate run-off races become final – applauded McConnell’s efforts in his floor speech directly afterward.
‘This insurrection was fortunately discouraged by the leadership of the majority party, but it was not quelled,’ Schumer said.