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Via CNN

Here's the thinking of Republicans who plan to object Wednesday to certifying the Electoral College victory of President-elect Biden — a band that's up to a dozen senators and at least 140 House members, backed by Vice President Pence.

The big picture: They know there's no state where the results are in any kind of doubt, and they know their protests won't change the outcome.

  • The rebels are letting other Republicans (including Senate Majority Leader McConnell) take the heat, while they stoke the base. The objections let them court Trump as part of an effort to fend off primary challenges. 

Marc Short, Pence's chief of staff, said in a statement that Pence "shares the concerns of millions of Americans about voter fraud and irregularities."

  • The statement notably doesn't say that Pence, who'll be presiding, will object. Instead, it says he "welcomes the efforts of members of the House and Senate to use the authority they have under the law to raise objections."
Sen. Ted Cruz greets a crowd yesterday before speaking at a rally for Sen. Kelly Loeffler in Cumming, Ga. Photo: Brynn Anderson/AP

After Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) went first, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is leading a group of 11 more senators as elector objectors.

  • The Cruz crew is calling for "an emergency 10-day audit of the election returns in the disputed states."

How it works: If both a representative and a senator object to an individual state's result, members of the House and Senate head to their separate chambers — for up to two hours — to debate and vote on whether to uphold the challenge.

  • Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) called the protests "egregious": "The congressional power to reject electors is reserved for the most extreme and unusual circumstances. These are far from it."

Go deeper

Scoop: Conservative group puts $700k behind Hawley

Sen. Josh Hawley explains his objection to certifying the 2020 election results hours after the U.S. Capitol siege. Photo: Congress.gov via Getty Images

A Republican group is raising and spending huge amounts of money defending Sen. Josh Hawley after he was ostracized for early January’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Why it matters: The Senate Conservatives Fund is plugging Hawley's ideological bona fides and backfilling lost corporate cash with needed political and financial support, helping inoculate him as he weighs reelection or a possible presidential campaign in 2024.

Prosecutors begin closing arguments in Chauvin trial

Steve Schleicher, an attorney for the prosecution in Derek Chauvin's trial, began closing arguments on Monday by describing in detail George Floyd's last moments — crying out for help and surrounded by strangers, as Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd for nine minutes and 29 seconds.

Why it matters: The jury's verdict in Chauvin's murder trial, seen by advocates as one of the most crucial civil rights cases in decades, will reverberate across the country and have major implications in the fight for racial justice.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
4 hours ago - Sports

European soccer is at war

Liverpool celebrating its 2019 Champions League victory. Photo: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Europe's biggest soccer clubs have established The Super League, a new midweek tournament that would compete with — and threaten the very existence of — the Champions League.

Why it matters: This new league, set to start in 2023, "would bring about the most significant restructuring of elite European soccer since the 1950s, and could herald the largest transfer of wealth to a small set of teams in modern sports history," writes NYT's Tariq Panja.

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