Dozens of Democrats and one anti-Trump Republican are banding together in a bid to influence the Electors from 20 unbound states to not listen to their constituency and vote against Donald Trump as president. The 40 electors are demanding that the delegates be briefed by intelligence agencies regarding the potential of a Russian hack of the election before casting their ballots. The group hopes that the briefing would call into question the legitimacy of the election and whether Trump is fit to serve as the President of the United States. Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, has also jumped on the legitimacy bandwagon but is doing so by proclaiming some rather blatant lies regarding pre-election media coverage.
Politico reports that 40 members of the Electoral College have presented an open letter to the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, asking that special security clearance is given to all the electors so that they can be briefed on all investigations related to the possibility of Russian interference in the presidential election. The letter, which was originally signed by 10 Electors, has been updated to include 30 more delegates from key blue states across the United States. In the call to action, the delegates note that it is their responsibility to “ensure that the American people elect a president who is constitutionally qualified and fit to serve” not to blindly cast a ballot in accordance with the votes of the people.
“The Constitution envisions the Electoral College as a deliberative body that plays a critical role in our system of government — ensuring that the American people elect a president who is constitutionally qualified and fit to serve.”
The delegates imply that they should not be bound by requirements to cast a ballot in favor of the voters chosen candidate but rather should be free agents able to vote for who they see fit as it is their duty to ensure the voting populace chooses a “qualified” candidate. The events leading up to the proposal are the result of a recent CIA statement noting they have “high confidence” that Russia acted covertly to harm Hillary Clinton’s chances at the presidency and to help ensure Trump’s victory.
The conclusion, according to the New York Times, was the result entirely of “overwhelming” circumstantial evidence, particular the fact that the agency says the Russians hacked both DNC and RNC emails but only released emails from the DNC. Reuters notes that though the CIA is “confident” in their findings, not all intelligence agencies agree, including the United State’s top law enforcement
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the same organization that decided that there was not enough evidence to prosecute Hillary Clinton regarding her personal email server, says that the “evidence” does not hold up to FBI standards, calling it a “thin reed.”
“The judgment is based on the fact that Russian entities hacked both Democrats and Republicans and only the Democratic information was leaked. (It was) a thin reed upon which to base an analytical judgment.”
Therefore, the FBI has refrained from making the same bold statements regarding Russian interference in the elections as the CIA. Republican John McCain is helping head a committee on the investigation into the Russian interference, but he stops short of making the claims that Russia was operating to help Trump. He notes that information suggests Russia hacked both the DNC and RNC but says that “there is no evidence” that it was done to affect the election outcome. Therefore, he says an investigation is needed.
Despite the disagreement over the circumstantial evidence, that didn’t stop Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta from weighing in on the matter saying that Russia’s goal was “hurting our campaign to aid Donald Trump.” While that statement might be debatable depending on who you speak to, his secondary comments came out as a blatant lie.
“Each day that month, our campaign decried the interference of Russia in our campaign and its evident goal of hurting our campaign to aid Donald Trump. Despite our protestations, this matter did not receive the attention it deserved by the media in the campaign. We now know that the CIA has determined Russia’s interference in our elections was for the purpose of electing Donald Trump. This should distress every American.”
Podesta noted that the media was unresponsive to the Clinton campaign’s cries of Russian interference saying the issue didn’t get “the attention it deserved by the media.” It is unclear why Podesta would make such a blatantly false statement as the Russian interference narrative was in the mainstream media for months leading up to the November election. Here are just a few small samples of the Russian hacking and election interference claims made by Clinton’s campaign being featured heavily in the news.
- The New York Times
- The Washington Post
- U.S. News and World Report
- ABC here, here and here
- Huffington Post here, here, here and here
In addition to the prominent news stories covering the subject, if you do a quick Google search of Russian interference in the presidential election from September to November 8, you will see literally thousands of articles discussing the matter. To say the issue was ignored by the media is blatantly false.
Despite assessment relying solely on circumstantial evidence, it seems that many Democrats feel that the Democrat email release was a tactic by Russia to promote Trump over Clinton. Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, says that as a result, the Electoral College has the duty to “choose someone other than Donald Trump” to become president which he knows might present a “legal problem.” However, he says he would rather have a legal problem than a Kremlin ally in the White House.
“It became clear to me last night that this man is not only unqualified to be president, he’s a danger to the republic. I do think the Electoral College should choose someone other than Donald Trump to be president. That will lead to a fascinating legal issue… but I would rather have a legal problem — a constitutional legal problem — then to find out the White House was now the Kremlin’s chief ally.”
What do you think about the controversy over the alleged Russian involvement in the presidential election? What do you think about Podesta’s blatant lie about media coverage prior to the election? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by Matt Rourke/ AP Images]