The CIA has confirmed that Russia meddled extensively in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, with the goal of getting Donald Trump elected. This news should deeply concern every American – a hostile foreign power has engaged in large-scale espionage to undermine the foundations of our republic. It certainly concerns several members of the electoral college, which will cast the official votes for president on December 19th; ten electors (including one Republican) have requested an intelligence briefing on Russia’s intervention on Trump’s behalf before they will cast their votes.
The request letter states, in part:
“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.”
After explaining that the role of the electoral college is not merely to rubber-stamp election results, but to “investigate, discuss, and deliberate with our colleagues about whom to vote for,” the electors express worry about Donald Trump’s dismissive attitude toward the intelligence community’s consensus reports that Russia intervened to help him win.
The electors wrote, “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.”
On Sunday, Trump tweeted the following:
Of course, the high probability of Russian intervention in the 2016 election was brought up repeatedly before the election, including during televised debates in which Donald Trump participated. When the subject was brought up then, Trump was dismissive, saying that no one really knew who was behind the hacks – which, much like he is doing now, ignored and contradicted the U.S. intelligence community’s consensus.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign supports the electors’ efforts to investigate Russian pro-Trump intervention before they cast their votes. In a statement, Clinton campaign chair John Podesta said,
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.
Indeed it should. Russia’s interference in a crucial American election, with the goal of electing Donald Trump, should have everyone’s attention – and efforts to thoroughly investigate it should have our leadership’s full support. Along with Democrats, Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain are demanding a full inquiry into this grave matter. Unfortunately, the person who should care most about this threat to national security – the incoming leader of the nation – doesn’t seem to care. Donald Trump is more concerned with protecting his image than with the warnings of his own intelligence experts.
Perhaps it is time for Trump to get his first lesson in the balance of power between the three branches of government. Contact your Senators and Representatives and demand that they push for a full investigation into Russia’s pro-Trump influence on the 2016 election.