Outgoing US President Donald Trump is preparing to pull out another wild card in a last ditch effort to sabotage the US election result.
And it’s going to leave Vice-President Mike Pence in a painful position.
On Tuesday (Australian time), Joe Biden was officially confirmed as the next US president after the Electoral College formally cast its votes.
As expected, the final count pushed the Democratic leader over the 270 threshold needed to win the presidency.
This is despite a barrage of failed lawsuits backed by Mr Trump seeking to throw out voting results in four states over baseless allegations of election fraud.
In the eyes of nearly everyone – many of Mr Trump’s allies included – the battle is over and it is widely accepted Mr Biden will be sworn in on January 20.
On Tuesday night, Russian President Vladimir Putin became the latest world leader to acknowledge the result by congratulating Mr Biden.
“For my part, I am ready for interaction and contact with you,” Mr Putin said in a statement from the Kremlin.
By Wednesday morning (Australian time), the most powerful Republican in Congress broke with the outgoing President to congratulate Mr Biden.
Kentucky senator Mitch McConnell also moved to stop other members of his party sowing doubt about the results.
“The Electoral College has spoken. So today, I want to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden,” Senator McConnell said.
The New York Times reports that Senator McConnell phoned other senior Republicans and implored them not to join Mr Trump’s campaign to cause further disruption.
Senator John Thune of South Dakota, the second-ranking Republican leader, had earlier said “at some point you have to face the music”.
“Once the Electoral College settles the issue today, it’s time for everybody to move on,” he said.
Even Melania Trump seems to have accepted the family will be packing up to get out of the White House.
The first lady was reportedly spotted touring Pine Crest School, an elite private school in Florida, on a mission to find the “best school” for 14-year-old son Barron.
Meanwhile, Mr Trump and a handful of House Republicans were looking beyond the Electoral College to their final move on January 6.
That’s when Mr Pence is due to tally the results and declare a winner, a largely ceremonial role assigned to him by the Constitution.
According to CNN, a White House adviser revealed Mr Trump and some Republican House members intended to have a crack at a “long-shot opportunity for the President to have [the] results thrown out”.
It’s an ambitious move, led by Alabama Representative Mo Brooks, that is all but destined to fail.
Under rules laid out in the US Constitution and the Electoral Count Act of 1887, any challenge to the election results must be submitted in writing with the signature of a senator.
So far, no Republican senator has stepped forward to say he or she will back the plan, though some Trump allies – including Senators Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Rand Paul of Kentucky – have flagged they would consider it.
But that’s only the first hurdle.
The Democrats control the House of Representatives, so a bid to overturn the election results is nearly guaranteed to fail.
“This is doomed to go nowhere … but the President is seeing rays of hope, glimmers of hope, both real and imagined, and he’s grasping at those,” journalist Jim Acosta told CNN on Monday.
Either way, January 6 is going to be an awkward day for Mr Pence.
He will be forced to choose between declaring loyalty for Mr Trump or fulfilling his constitutional duties by pointing out the obvious: That Mr Biden was fairly elected the next president of the US.