Top Senate expert: Pence 'has no authority to do anything' to overturn election

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Nope, Mike Pence does not have the power to undo Joe Biden's presidential election win.

Alan Frumin, who served under both Republicans and Democrats as parliamentarian of the Senate, agreed on Tuesday that the course of action that Donald Trump has been pressuring Mike Pence to take during the election certification amounts to a "coup."

Frumin appeared on CNN with Anderson Cooper, who recapped Trump's request that Pence disrupt or delay the Electoral College certification so Trump would be declared the winner instead of the real winner, President-elect Joe Biden.

"Essentially, that's a coup. That's a coup attempt, is it not?" asked Cooper. "If this happened in some, you know, developing country where the person who lost the election just announces that they didn't lose the election, I mean, that's a coup."

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"I will not disagree with that characterization," Frumin replied.

Frumin also noted that despite claims from Trump and others, Pence does not have the power to undo the certification of the vote and Biden's win.

Frumin served as Senate parliamentarian from 1987 to 1995 and again from 2001 to 2012. In that role, he advised the elected leaders of the Senate on the body's rules and procedures to keep them in compliance.

Frumin is also the editor of "Riddick's Senate Procedure," which is a compilation of Senate precedents.

From the Jan. 5 edition of CNN's "Election Day in America":

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: What play does the vice president have if he wanted to try to do something in favor of President Trump?

 

ALAN FRUMIN: Well there are two parts of that question: What can he do physically and what can he do legally? Legally, he opens ballots and he announces the result. Beyond that he has no authority to do anything.

 

Having said that, what can he do if he simply decides to announce and pronounce that he and Donald Trump have won the election? Well, we would be in crazy town, then. A place where we've never been. Should that happen, it would seem to me that the two houses are not without recourse.

 

In each, the House and the Senate, whenever the presiding officer makes a ruling, those rulings are always subject to appeal in the respective houses. And an appeal the question on an appeal is challenge the decision of the chair stand as the judgement of either the Senate or the House.

 

And so, the burden would be on the chair, in this case the vice-president, to have both houses of Congress separately vote to sustain whatever it is he was pronouncing, so —

 

COOPER: Essentially, that's a coup. That's a coup attempt, is it not? I mean, if this happened in some, you know, developing country where the person who lost the election just announces that they didn't lose the election, I mean, that's a coup.

 

FRUMIN: I will not disagree with that characterization.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.