Kim Wehle On Congress' Contentious Electoral College Count | WYPR

Kim Wehle On Congress' Contentious Electoral College Count

Jan 6, 2021

Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier on Wednesday at the Capitol in Washington. As Congress prepared to affirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory, thousands of people gathered to show their support for President Donald Trump and his claims of election fraud.
Credit AP Photo/Julio Cortez

In Washington today, a joint session of Congress was convened in the US Capitol to certify the count of the 50 state electoral college electors, and officially declare Democrat Joe Biden the President-elect. Nearby, supporters of President Trump gathered on the National Mall to hear speakers, including the President himself, assert the fantasy that Trump won the Presidential election.  Later, after large crowds of pro-Trump demonstrators, most unmasked, massed on the steps of the Capitol, a mob began breaching its public entrance, threatening the security of the building and the lawmakers within. The National Guard, which was deployed at the request of DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, was reportedly unarmed.

Inside the Capitol, the first few minutes of the normally pro forma process of counting the electoral college votes were marked by objections from a minority of Senate Republicans who argue, without evidence, that the November elections were fraudulent.  But the proceedings were interrupted when the Capitol building was stormed by the pro-Trump mob. Security forces put the building on lockdown, used tear gas to clear the rioters out of the building and evacuated lawmakers to safer quarters.  The unprecedented situation continues to unfold.

Kim Wehle is a constitutional scholar and professor of law at University of Baltimore School of Law.
Credit Tim Coburn Photography

For a discussion of the constitutional process that was supposed to play out in the halls of Congress today -- and which will likely resume when order is restored -- Tom is joined by Kim Wehle, a constitutional expert and a professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law. She is the author of several books, including How to Read the Constitution -- and Why, and What You Need to Know About Voting -- and Why.