Electoral College members demand information on Russian election hacking before Donald Trump vote

The electors wrote an open letter to US Director of National Intelligence James clapper calling for the information prior to their vote

Feliks Garcia
New York
Monday 12 December 2016 17:12 GMT
Electoral college members demand information on Russian relations before voting to make Donald Trump

Ten members of the electoral college have requested more information from intelligence officials on the relationship between President-elect Donald Trump and Russia.

The electoral college addressed an open letter to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper prior to their 19 December vote that would finalise the election results.

US intelligence officials concluded that Russia conducted hacks against the Democratic National Committee and other associated officials in order to help Mr Trump win the election. President Barack Obama had earlier called for a "full review" of intelligence surrounding Russia's involvement in the hacks.

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The electors have called for the release of information "to investigate, discuss, and deliberate with our colleagues about whom to vote for in the electoral college".

"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," they wrote in an open letter to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

"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 electors said they found the Trump transition team's dismissal of the findings of the CIA concerning, and outlined concerns about Trump associates who are linked to the hacks of the Democratic National Committee.

The Clinton campaign came out in support of the electors' push to have an intelligence briefing in the next week.

"The bipartisan electors' letter raises very grave issues involving our national security," Clinton campaign chair John Podesta said. "Electors have a solemn responsibility under the Constitution and we support their efforts to have their questions addressed."

"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," he added. "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."

Mr Trump and his team have repeatedly written off the intelligence official's reported findings.

"These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,” the team incorrectly said in a perplexing statement. "The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest electoral college victories in history. It's now time to move on and 'Make America Great Again'."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters that Congress will launch a probe into the CIA assessment, and broke with Mr Trump on his support for the US intelligence.

"Obvisouly any foreign breach of our cybersecurity measures is disturbing, and I strongly condemn any such efforts," he said.

News of the probe comes after Republican Sen John McCain and Democratic Sen Chuck Schumer issued a statement calling for a bipartisan investigation into the reports.

"When a foreign power tries to influence our election or damage our economy, for that matter, this is serious," Mr Schumer told CBS. "And a bipartisan investigation that's not aimed at one specific instance but looks at the broad scope of this is just what's needed."

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