Trade and Manufacturing Policy Director Peter Navarro on Saturday, Jan. 2, said that Vice President Mike Pence, who will be presiding over the Jan. 6 session as the president of the Senate, has the authority to delay the presidential inauguration.

During an interview with Fox News’s Jeanine Pirro, Navarro was asked whether Republicans, who are planning to challenge Electoral College vote count during the Jan. 6 joint session of Congress, would be able to conduct a 10-day audit of the election in disputed states before Jan. 20.

“I would not be surprised to see a special counsel on this,” Navarro responded. “And Vice President Pence, he has the authority to give that 10-day window to do what needs to get done. And I cannot imagine, when he goes through the facts, he won’t vote the right way on that.”

Pirro noted that the day of the inauguration cannot be changed, as per the Constitution. 

“Well it can be changed, actually. We can go past that date … we can go past that date if we need to,” Navarro insisted.

Navarro’s comments came after 12 Republican senators led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) announced that they joined Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and other Republican lawmakers to object to the Electoral College certification.

“America is a Republic whose leaders are chosen in democratic elections. Those elections, in turn, must comply with the Constitution and with federal and state law,” the group wrote in a joint statement.

“The 2020 election, however, featured unprecedented allegations of voter fraud, violations, and lax enforcement of election law, and other voting irregularities,” the group added, noting that courts, including the Supreme Court have repeatedly declined to hear evidence of alleged fraud.

The senators are calling for Congress to appoint an Electoral Commission, with full investigative and fact-finding authority, to conduct an emergency 10-day audit of election returns in states where the results are disputed. 

Pence on Saturday said he welcomes efforts by lawmakers to challenge the Electoral College votes cast for Biden.

“Vice President Pence shares the concerns of millions of Americans about voter fraud and irregularities in the last election,” Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short said in the statement.

Earlier this week, Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-Texas) and other Republicans filed a lawsuit against Pence, asking a court to give the vice president “exclusive authority” to decide which Electoral College votes should be counted on Jan. 6. Pence said that he was not the proper defendant to the lawsuit, which was later dismissed by a federal appeals court.

Navarro, who advises President Trump, released a report on Dec. 17 in his capacity as a private citizen on alleged voting irregularities and voter fraud in six battleground states. 

Navarro said that the pattern of irregularities across the six states suggests “a coordinated strategy to, if not steal the election outright, strategically game the election process in such a way as to ‘stuff the ballot box’ and unfairly tilt the playing field in favor of the Biden-Harris ticket.”

The report warns, “Absent a thorough investigation prior to Inauguration Day, a cloud and a stain will hang over what will be perceived by many Americans as an illegitimate Biden administration.”

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