Clinton campaign, electors group press for intelligence on Russian hacking
Washington — Hillary Clinton’s campaign Monday said that the Obama administration “owes it to the American people” to tell what it knows about Russian hacking of Clinton campaign emails and those of the Democratic National Committee as it attempted to sway last month’s election.
Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, whose emails were stolen and posted on the internet, said “never before in the history of our Republic have we seen such an effort to undermine the bedrock of our democracy.”
Podesta said the campaign supports an effort by a handful of members of the Electoral College, including a Republican who says he won’t vote for President-elect Donald Trump, to be briefed on U.S. intelligence on potential links between Trump’s campaign and Russia.
Ten electors on Monday released an “open letter” to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper requesting information about ongoing investigations on ties between Trump and “Russian government interference in the election.”
Podesta agrees with Senate Intelligence Democrats who last week called for President Barack Obama to declassify and make public intelligence information on Russia’s attempts to interfere in the election.
“The administration owes it to the American people to explain what it knows regarding the extent and manner of Russia’s interference and this be done as soon as possible,” Podesta said in a statement.
The letter from the electors, released on the social media site Medium, was written by Christine Pelosi, the daughter of top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi of California.
Minority Leader Pelosi, D-Calif., who receives super-secret intelligence as one of the top leaders of Congress, followed hours later with a call for an investigation by an independent commission.
“The U.S. intelligence community has determined that Russia interfered in U.S. elections,” Pelosi said. “There must be no equivocation or ignoring the seriousness of the intelligence community’s conclusion about Russia’s actions.”
None of the electors is likely to vote for Trump anyway. The votes are cast on Dec. 19.
Nine are Democrats and the sole Republican to sign the letter is Chris Suprun, a Texas paramedic who says he won’t vote for Trump, citing a Federalist paper by Alexander Hamilton that says electors must determine that the president is qualified and independent from foreign influence.
Suprun attracted national attention with a New York Times column last week in which he said Trump is “someone who shows daily he is not qualified for the office.”
The letter says the Founding Fathers envisioned the Electoral College as a deliberative body and not simply a rubber stamp to ratify the results.
“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 electors wrote.
Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have passed laws designed to bind members of the Electoral College so that they are not “faithless electors.”
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