BREAKING: Pence defies Trump’s calls to overturn Biden’s victory

Wednesday afternoon, while President Donald Trump was speaking to supporters in front of the White House, Vice President Mike Pence issued a statement rejecting Trump’s calls for Pence to overturn President-elect Joe Biden‘s 2020 election victory, in a dramatic rebuke of the outgoing president and his dubious claims that widespread election fraud occurred.

In his statement shared to Twitter, filled with rows of paragraphs citing constitutional law and legal precedents, Pence argued that his role as the official who counts the electoral votes is “largely ceremonial.”

Ultimately, he argued that the Electoral Count of 1887 “establishes a clear procedure to address election controversies when they arise during the count of the vote of the Electoral College.”

“It is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not,” his statement reads.

Pence did, however, still welcome lawmakers to object to the electoral votes, citing his own concerns about alleged irregularities during the contentious 2020 presidential election.

While Trump was speaking at his rally, Pence’s motorcade was en route to Capitol Hill to oversee the tallying of the states’ Electoral College votes. In the lead-up to this day, Trump was urging his second-in-command to overturn the electoral votes, which most legal experts have stated is not part of Pence’s constitutional duty.

Until now, it was unclear what Pence was planning going to do, but the shared view of legal experts pointed to him likely breaking with Trump.

This move by Pence likely puts the nail in the coffin of the planned effort by a dozen GOP senators and roughly one hundred House members to object to the electoral vote tally. Sen. Josh Hawley (Mo.), one of the Republicans spearheading the effort, himself said on Tuesday in an interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham that Pence did not have the constitutional authority to carry out Trump’s wish.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.