55 members of Electoral College request intelligence briefing before vote

By Allen Cone  |  Dec. 14, 2016 at 10:09 AM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- About 1 in 4 Democrats and one Republican in the Electoral College want an intelligence briefing on foreign interference in the presidential election.

A total of 54 of the 232 Democratic electors and Texas Republican Chris Suprun signed a letter asking National Intelligence Director James Clapper to authorize the briefing before they meet Monday to elect a president.

"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," the letter said. "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."

Top advisers to Democrat Hillary Clinton support the call for the briefing, including her campaign chairman, John Podesta. He posted Monday on Twitter: "Electors have a solemn responsibility under the Constitution and we support their efforts to have their questions counted."

All 538 members of the Electoral College — 306 Republicans and 232 Democrats — are scheduled to meet in their respective state capitals to cast the official vote for president. A total of 270 electoral votes are needed to win the presidency.

Clinton leads Trump by 2.8 million votes in the popular vote: 65,759,248 to Trump's 62,915,888, according to the Cook Political Report. on Wednesday.

The letter first started with 10 names but it grew significantly Tuesday.

The Democrats include California elector Christine Pelosi, the daughter of House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.

The list includes 17 electors form California, six from New York, five from Massachusetts and all four New Hampshire electors. Others are from Colorado, Maryland, Rhode Island, Texas, Illinois, Oregon, Washington, Virginia and Vermont.

Some prominent Democratic electors in the country haven't signed the letter: former President Bill Clinton, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Larry Lessig, a Harvard University constitutional law professor, said20 Republican members of the Electoral College are considering voting against Donald Trump. A total of 37 Republicans would need to do so to prevent him from claiming the presidency.

Lessig's anti-Trump group, "Electors Trust," is offering pro bono legal counsel to GOP presidential electors considering not supporting Trump. Lessig, who made a brief run for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, also has been acting as a clearinghouse for electors to privately communicate their intentions.

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