Vice President Mike Pence told President Donald Trump on Tuesday that he did not believe he had the power to block congressional certification of Joe Biden's victory in the presidential election despite Trump's baseless insistence that he did, people briefed on the conversation said.

Pence's message, delivered during his weekly lunch with the president, came hours after Trump further turned up the public pressure on the vice president to do his bidding when Congress convenes Wednesday in a joint session to ratify Biden's Electoral College win.

"The Vice President has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors," Trump wrote on Twitter on Tuesday morning, an inaccurate assertion that mischaracterized Pence's largely formal and constitutionally prescribed role of presiding over the House and Senate as they receive and certify the electoral votes conveyed by the states and announcing the outcome.

Pence does not have the unilateral power to alter the results sent by the states to Congress.

In a statement issued late Tuesday night and inaccurately dated Jan. 5, 2020, Trump insisted the reporting about his discussion with Pence was "fake news."

"He never said that," the statement went on. "The Vice President and I are in total agreement that the Vice President has the power to act."

More Republican senators came out Tuesday against attempts to undermine the results, including Tim Scott of South Carolina and James Inhofe of Oklahoma, who said he viewed challenging any state's certification as "a violation of my oath of office."

In a process that is likely to go on for many hours, Pence will preside on Wednesday over a roll call of the states. If at least one senator and one House member object to the results from a state, they can force a debate of up to two hours about those results. Each chamber will then vote separately on whether to certify that state's results.

For results to be overturned, both the House and the Senate would have to agree to do so. Because the House is controlled by the Democrats, there is no realistic possibility of any state's outcome being rejected. In addition, many if not most Senate Republicans appear likely to join all Democrats in rejecting challenges to the results.

The House and Senate are expected to debate objections to the results in at least three states — Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania, all of which went to Biden — but ultimately to certify Biden's 306-232 Electoral College victory.

Lawmakers anticipated possible objections for up to three more states — Michigan, Nevada and Wisconsin — although it was not clear whether they would draw the required backing from a member of both the House and the Senate.

When the results from all of the states have been considered, Pence, who as vice president also serves as presiding officer of the Senate, will be called on to read out the Electoral College votes for each candidate, formalizing Biden's victory.

Even as he sought to make clear that he does not have the power Trump seems to think he has, Pence also indicated to the president that he would keep studying the issue up until the final hours before the joint session of Congress begins at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

The president has told several people privately that he would rather lose with people thinking it was stolen from him than that he simply lost, according to people familiar with his remarks.

How much leeway Pence could have to interject his views or to stage manage the proceedings is a subject of debate among experts.

"The way Trump is phrasing it, there's no merit," said Edward Foley, director of the election law program at Ohio State University. "What Trump is asking for is control of the outcome that will lead to him being declared the president. That is definitely not within Pence's power."

But Foley said Pence would be able to add some "drama to the theater," if he so chooses. As an example, Foley said the vice president could present "rival" packages of electoral votes for some states and force Congress to debate both simultaneously.

"We know the end result," he said, "we just don't know when we will get there or what procedure we will take to get there."