Democratic New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen ripped Republicans who continue to refrain from accepting Joe Biden as president-elect, saying their refusal is “bordering on sedition and treason.”
“Each of us took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. One of the most fundamental principles of the Constitution is the peaceful transition of power,” Shaheen told CNN’s Jim Sciotto.
“These senators and members of Congress who have refused to acknowledge that we had a free and fair election in which Joe Biden beat Donald Trump by over 7 million votes, are bordering on sedition and treason,” Shaheen told CNN’s Jim Sciotto.
Shaheen was responding to reports that Alabama GOP Senator-elect Tommy Tuberville was open to challenging the elector college results when both chambers meet in joint session to count them Jan. 6.
In the House, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), has vowed to challenge them after concluding balloting results in several swing states were tainted following what he believes were unconstitutional changes to election law in the weeks before Election Day last month.
Per federal law, if only one member of each chamber challenges the electoral college results, the joint session dissolves and the House and Senate reconvene independently to vote on whether to accept them.
The House, where Democrats have a narrow majority, is expected to accept the results and name Biden president. But some Republicans are holding out that if the GOP retains control of the Senate following two Jan. 5 run-off elections in Georgia, Vice President Mike Pence could reject electors in some states, which would mean he would remain in office to serve alongside Biden.
It’s not at all clear that Pence would reject any electoral votes, however.
That said, a growing number of elected Republicans have now recognized the former vice president as the president-elect, though President Donald Trump’s campaign is continuing to wage legal battles in various states challenging election results.
Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley dismissed Shaheen’s characterization of Republicans who have yet to accept Biden in a column published Saturday by The Hill.
“That would mean more than 70 percent of Republicans and 10 percent of Democrats nationwide are potentially traitors for believing Trump won. It is the same position taken recently before the Supreme Court by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who called a legal challenge to the election ‘seditious,’” he wrote. “Of course, the use of the courts or Congress to raise such objections is the very opposite of sedition, which seeks to overthrow the legal system.”
He added: “Democrats did not accuse their colleagues of treason or sedition when they sought to block the certification of Ohio’s electoral votes in Congress in 2004. They did not call Hillary Clinton traitorous for advising Biden not to concede any Trump victory on Election Night. They did not describe members of Congress or the media as traitors for repeatedly declaring Trump ‘illegitimate’ over the last four years.”
In September, Shadi Hamid wrote in the left-wing magazine The Atlantic that Democrats may not concede if President Trump were to have won reelection.
“I find myself truly worried about only one scenario: that Trump will win reelection and Democrats and others on the left will be unwilling, even unable, to accept the result,” he wrote.
“A loss by Joe Biden under these circumstances is the worst case not because Trump will destroy America (he can’t), but because it is the outcome most likely to undermine faith in democracy, resulting in more of the social unrest and street battles that cities including Portland, Oregon, and Seattle have seen in recent months,” Hamid added.
Some Republicans took the column as a threat: Election Biden or the rioting that was taking place on a near-daily basis in several American cities would continue.
“They’re not even hiding it anymore,” Trump campaign director of communications for rapid response Matt Wolking tweeted at the time.
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