Speculation is swirling around the vice president regarding what he may or may not do, and what he is legally permitted or required to do, when ballots from the electors show up in Washington on January 6.
The vice president is charged by the Constitution's 12th Amendment with opening the ballots from the electors. That was ratified in 1804. Then there was an Electoral Count Act in 1887, which is totally confusing. U.S. Rep. Louis Gohert has actually sued Pence, asserting that the 12th Amendment prevails and that Pence has the right to accept only votes from Republicans in disputed states.
Given that, what do these events mean:
December 17. It's reported that Mike Pence will skip the country as soon as he formally confirms Joe Biden's victory on January 6 with week-long foreign tour to avoid face-to-face confrontation with Donald Trump and angry supporters.
December 19. Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller thanks Pence: "I just want to personally thank you. We’ve been through some stuff. We’ve gone through some of the most complex military operations this country has ever conducted. And your steady hand, your leadership during those was a great source of strength for me."
December 22. Speaking to a major pro-Trump group, the vice president urged the crowd "to stay in the fight in our election. As our election contest continues, I’ll make you a promise, we’re going to keep fighting until every legal vote is counted. We’re going to keep fighting until every illegal vote is thrown out."
December 22. It's reported that Trump views Pence as not fighting hard enough for him.
Pence’s role on Jan. 6 has begun to loom large in Trump’s mind, according to people who’ve discussed the matter with him.
December 24. Hours before President Donald Trump retweeted a message for his vice president to “act” in stopping the ratification of the Electoral College, he met for more than an hour in the Oval Office with Mike Pence, whom he has complained recently isn’t doing enough to support his bid to overturn the election.
December 29. Lawyers for Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and Arizona’s 11 Republican electors revealed that Vice President Mike Pence declined to sign onto their plan to upend Congress’ certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
December 30. A planned visit to Israel by US Vice President Mike Pence was called off less than two weeks before he was due to arrive, the US Embassy confirmed Wednesday.
December 31. President Donald Trump cut short his Florida holiday vacation and returning to Washington on Thursday, one day earlier than expected for reasons the White House didn't explain.
December 31. Vice President Pence asked a federal judge to reject an effort to give him “exclusive authority” to decide which Electoral College votes should be counted during the upcoming joint session of Congres
December 31. The House of Representatives asked the court to reject a petition from Republicans that requests judges to say Vice President Mike Pence has the authority to reject some electoral votes.
December 31. It's reported that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may strike a deal to change the rules in how congressional members can object to Joe Biden’s slate of electors.
January 1. Trump tweets: "“Massive amounts of evidence will be presented on the 6th. We won, BIG!”