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Vice President Mike Pence on Jan. 4. Photo: Megan Varner/Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence said on Wednesday that he lacked constitutional authority to follow President Trump's wishes to throw out Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden.

Why it matters: Trump has been pressuring Pence to overturn the election results as part of an ongoing attempt to subvert Biden's clear win, which failed to garner evidence or support through various legal battles. Trump will view Pence’s statement as the ultimate act of betrayal.

What they're saying: "It is my considered judgement 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," Pence wrote.

  • Pence rejected the notion that he "should be able to accept or reject electoral votes unilaterally" — after Trump insisted he was able to do exactly that — and also pushed back against the idea that "electoral votes should never be challenged" by Congress.
  • Trump addressed loyal supporters outside the White House as Pence released his statement, and called on Pence to do "the right thing" as he presides over Congress in a largely ceremonial capacity on Wednesday.

In response to Pence's refusal to overturn the election results, Trump tweeted: "Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!"

The state of play: As expected, Republicans objected to certifying the Electoral College count on Wednesday.

Read Pence's letter:

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.

Go deeper

Larry Kudlow joining Fox Business as new program host

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Former National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow will be joining Fox Business as a contributor and new weekday program host beginning on Feb. 8, Fox News Media announced in a press release.

Why it matters: Kudlow was the top economic adviser to former President Trump and gained a reputation for his overly optimistic assessments about the state of the economy during the coronavirus pandemic.

Updated 20 mins ago - Science

Blizzard likely to hit New England this weekend as "bomb cyclone" forms

Computer model projection of the precipitation and wind field from the weekend storm in the Northeast. (Earth.nullschool.net)

A powerful blizzard is likely to strike parts of New England and the Mid-Atlantic beginning Friday and lasting into the weekend, with snow totals that are likely to be measured in feet.

The big picture: The joining of weather systems embedded in both the polar, or northern branch, of the jet stream and the southern branch is projected to create a bomb cyclone. Such storms undergo a process known as bombogenesis, with their minimum central air pressure readings plunging at least 24 millibars in 24 hours.

Schumer vows to confirm Breyer replacement "with all deliberate speed"

Chuck Schumer. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer responded Wednesday to reports that Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer will retire, commending his time on the bench and promising to confirm President Biden's nominated replacement "with all deliberate speed."

Why it matters: The opportunity to appoint a new Supreme Court justice will be one of the longest-lasting pieces of Biden's legacy and could energize Democrats ahead of the midterms.