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


Pence is hoping for a low-key Jan. 6 and is not planning any unnecessary drama, aides said, intending to stick to his perfunctory role. He is eyeing a trip overseas soon after.

Trump realized only recently that Pence would play a notable role on that day and has been asking associates, including Pence, what can be done to block Biden’s win. The president became angry after a group called the Lincoln Project recently aired an ad suggesting Pence was abandoning the president, aides said.

The vice president has sought to avoid the appearance of breaking with the president, while trying to avoid echoing some of Trump’s most aggressive rhetoric, advisers said. His office is participating in the presidential transition, although Trump himself is not.

Yet for weeks, Pence has been near the center of the desperate, chaotic efforts to keep Trump in office. On Monday, he attended White House meetings with conservative House Republicans intent on challenging the results on Jan. 6; Pence told them his constitutional duty will be to open and count the results, not to determine their legitimacy, said a person familiar with the meeting who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about it publicly.

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.

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