Valerie Richardson, Washington Times, December 12, 2016
The accusations of Russian interference in the November presidential election have provided a last-minute lifeline for the long-shot effort to head off Donald Trump at the Electoral College.
Ten electors, led by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s daughter Christine Pelosi, demanded Monday an intelligence briefing on Russian interference by Monday, when the Electoral College makes the vote official.
Flipping the Electoral College seems to be the only hope left for Trump opponents. Recount efforts in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania have backfired.
The Progressive Change Campaign Committee urged Trump opponents to participate in a protest scheduled for all 50 state capitols Monday aimed at persuading electors to cast their ballots for someone other than the Republican real estate mogul.
“The idea that a foreign government has interfered with our elections to undermine their credibility, much less support one of the candidates, indicates a Rubicon has been crossed for our nation, and we need to consider it carefully,” Chris Suprun, a Texas Republican elector, said at a Sunday press conference.
Even before Friday’s news reports, Mr. Suprun had vowed not to cast his ballot for Mr. Trump.
The group Hamilton Electors, which is urging both Democratic and Republican electors to unite behind a third candidate, preferably a moderate Republican, said this “is the moment Alexander Hamilton warned us about.”
“We now know that the Russian Government actively worked to elect Donald Trump. The Electoral College is our defense against this attack on our sovereignty,” Hamilton Electors said in an online post. “The Electoral College must be our defense against Russia.”
In their letter to Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, the 10 electors said they needed to know whether there are “ongoing investigations into ties between Donald Trump, his campaign or associates, and the Russian government interference in the election.”
None of the electors was likely to vote for Mr. Trump anyway, given that Democratic electors are obligated to vote for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Nine of the 10 signers are Democrats, and Mr. Suprun was the only Republican.
In the letter, the electors justified their demand for information as necessary in order to “fulfill our role,” arguing that the Constitution envisioned the Electoral College not as a rubber stamp but 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.”
Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia require electors to vote for the candidate chosen by the voters or face penalties such as fines.
In Colorado, two electors are challenging a state law that binds them to the popular vote in order to avoid being fined as “faithless electors.” While that lawsuit wouldn’t affect them — Mrs. Clinton won Colorado — it could in theory overturn all state laws binding electors and leave them free to vote for whomever they wish.
However, U.S. District Judge Wiley Daniel denied Monday evening their request to issue an immediate injunction against the law, which would have effectively nullified the law when the Electoral College meets.
Similar lawsuits are pending in California and Washington state.