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Mike Pence leaving the U.S.

Mike Pence could confirm Joe Biden as president-elect when Congress meets in three weeks time, and then leave the country, his aides have said.

The vice-president, who is due to confirm the Democrat’s assent to the United States presidency in a session of Congress on January 6, is believed to be planning on an overseas trip straight after those proceedings.

Three close aides told Politico that Mr Pence would leave the United States for around a week after the vote in Congress, in what appeared to be a bid to avoid Republican scrutiny.

In doing so, Mr Pence would also avoid any scrutiny over his position as Donald Trump’s vice-president, as well as Republican backlash – amid allegations the election was rigged against Mr Trump, which have been without basis.

Mr Pence has remained largely silent on such matters, while still supporting Mr Trump’s complaints – and thus has avoided backlash from the president’s supporters.

According to a US government document seen by Politico, Mr Pence will travel to Bahrain, Israel and Poland, with the possibility that more stops are added, in the week between Congress’s vote and Mr Biden’s inauguration ceremony on January 20.

Mr Pence, as vice-president, must announce Mr Biden’s win – and his own loss – in the session of Congress, in what will be an uncomfortable scene for both him and Mr Trump, who continues to deny defeat.

The vote on 6 January also marks the final opportunity for lawmakers in Congress to object to the election outcome, but interventions are uncommon this late in the confirmation process.

It comes after the Electoral College confirmed Mr Biden as the election winner on Monday, in what was a further blow for Mr Trump, and another step towards officially affirming the results of the 2020 race, which Mr Biden won.

Mr Pence will want to avoid the same criticism thrown at the Republican senate leader Mitch McConnell this week, after he congratulated Mr Biden and Kamala Harris on becoming president-elect and vice-president elect on Tuesday.

On Twitter, Mr Trump wrote a day later that “people are angry” and shared an article claiming Mr McConnell was “not a patriot”, while making racist comments about his Taiwanese-born wife, Elaine Chao.

No other details were provided about vice-president Pence’s travel plans, while a Trump administration official told Politico the trip had not been confirmed.

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