Dozens of Electoral College Members Are Demanding Info on Russia's Hack Before They Vote (UPDATE)
Bipartisan Electoral College members want more information on Russia's interference in the U.S. election before they formally cast their votes on Dec. 19.
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UPDATED 12/14/16 3:30 p.m. ET: As of the afternoon of Dec. 14, at least 55 members of the Electoral College have signed the open letter demanding an intelligence-community briefing regarding Russia's interference in the U.S. elections. At least 54 of those electors are Democrats, meaning that roughly a quarter of all 232 Democrats in the Electoral College are on board with the letter's demands, according to Politico.
See original post from 12/12/16 below.
For months now, it's been understood that Russia interfered with the United States' election. The CIA says the "consensus view" is that Russia's goal was "to help Trump get elected." President Obama has ordered a "full review" of election-related hacking. And Senators from both parties have called for a thorough, bipartisan investigation as well. In fact, the only person who doesn't seem too worried about Russia's interference is Trump himself. Now, a bipartisan group of Electoral College members wants more information on Russia's interference in our election before they formally cast their votes on Dec. 19, 2016.
In an "Open Letter to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper," ten members of the Electoral College—one Republican and nine Democrats—note that "a core purpose" of the Electoral College is to prevent a "desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils," as Alexander Hamilton put it in Federalist Paper #68. Because officials have "high confidence" that Russia interfered with the election, the group is demanding more information:
"The Electors require to know from the intelligence community whether there are ongoing investigations into ties between Donald Trump, his campaign or associates, and Russian government interference in the election, the scope of those investigations, how far those investigations may have reached, and who was involved in those investigations. We further require a briefing on all investigative findings, as these matters directly impact the core factors in our deliberations of whether Mr. Trump is fit to serve as President of the United States."
The letter, citing a variety of agencies and publications, names a handful of the accusations involving the election, Russia, Trump and his team. For example, it notes, "Russian government officials revealed that they had maintained contact with the Trump campaign during the election, and stated that they were familiar with most of the individuals associated with Mr. Trump."
In addition to their requests of the intelligence community, the letter says, "the Electors will separately require from Donald Trump conclusive evidence that he and his staff and advisors did not accept Russian interference, or otherwise collaborate during the campaign, and conclusive disavowal and repudiation of such collaboration and interference going forward."
The letter also calls out Trump and his team for consistently denying the allegations: "Trump’s willingness to disregard conclusions made by the intelligence community and his continuing defense of Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin demand close scrutiny and deliberation from the Electoral College."
The group includes Christine Pelosi, who is the daughter of House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, according to The Hill. The ten electors represent six states as well as the District of Columbia. It also includes Republican Christopher Suprun, who has previously said he wouldn't vote for Trump.
Clinton's campaign is supportive of the letter. Saying the accusations "should distress every American," Clinton's top adviser John Podesta told Politico, "The bipartisan electors' letter raises very grave issues involving our national security." He continued, "Electors have a solemn responsibility under the Constitution and we support their efforts to have their questions addressed."
The Electoral College will cast their official votes for the states on Dec. 19.