Mike Pence has dismissed claims by Donald Trump that he could have stopped Joe Biden becoming president.
In his strongest rebuttal yet, the former vice-president said Donald Trump was wrong to suggest he had had the right to overturn the election.
Separately the Republican Party censured two of its top lawmakers for investigating the Capitol riots.
A mob stormed the Capitol as lawmakers met to confirm President Joe Biden’s poll win on January 6, 2021.
Four people died during the riots, and a police officer who suffered two strokes while defending the building died the following day.
The two legislators, Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, are the only Republicans on a congressional select committee investigating the riots.
The statement by the Republican National Committee (RNC) accused Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger of helping to persecute “ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse”.
The RNC appeared to suggest rioters had been involved in legitimate political actions but RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel clarified that it was a reference to “legitimate political discourse that had nothing to do with violence at the Capitol”.
According to recent reports, the vote was passed by an overwhelming majority of the 168 RNC members at their winter meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The committee said it would “immediately cease any and all support of them” as party members without removing them from the party.
Both lawmakers issued statements in advance of the vote.
“The leaders of the Republican Party have made themselves willing hostages to a man who admits he tried to overturn a presidential election and suggests he would pardon January 6 defendants, some of whom have been charged with seditious conspiracy,” Liz Cheney said.
They also received support from other opponents of Donald Trump in the party.
Senator Mitt Romney tweeted: “Shame falls on a party that would censure persons of conscience, who seek truth in the face of vitriol.”
Speaking in Orlando, Florida, Mike Pence was responding to Donald Trump’s comments on January 30 that he could have overturned the election if he had wanted to.
Donald Trump has falsely claimed that the election was stolen by Joe Biden.
Days later Donald Trump said the select committee should be investigating Mike Pence instead of the rioters.
Mike Pence responded: “President Trump is wrong. I had no right to overturn the election. The presidency belongs to the American people, and the American people alone.
“And [current Vice-President] Kamala Harris will have no right to overturn the election when we beat them in 2024.”