In our initial take on the Washington Post's story about the "secret" CIA assessment that Russia helped Trump win the election (since contested by the FBI), we said that this may amount to nothing short of a "soft coup" attempt by leaders in the US Intel community and the Obama administration, and warned to expect of a push by prominent democrats to pressure the electoral college to "take into consideration" these findings next Monday, on December 19, when the formal vote for president is set to take place.
This is how we summarized the newly-formed narrative:
- Announce "consensus" (not unanimous) "conclusion" based in circumstantial evidence now, before the Electoral College vote, then write a report with actual details due by Jan 20.
- Put a proven liar - James Clapper - in charge of writing the report on Russian hacking.
- Fail to mention that not one of the leaked DNC or Podesta emails has been shown to be inauthentic. So the supposed Russian hacking simply revealed truth about Hillary, DNC, and MSM collusion and corruption.
- Fail to mention that if hacking was done by or for US government to stop Hillary, blaming the Russians would be the most likely disinformation used by US agencies.
- Expect every pro-Hillary lapdog journalist - which is virtually all of them - in America will hyperventilate (Twitter is currently on fire) about this latest fact-free, anti-Trump political stunt for the next nine days.
To be sure, shortly after our post, first Paul Krugman, then other prominent liberals including Nate Silver and various House representative, validated out point: if Russia has indeed intervened, then the electoral college must be made aware, and briefed ahead of the Dec. 19 vote. It culminated with a Politico report on Saturday, according to which a Democratic congressman suggested that members of the Electoral College should be able to consider Russian interference in the presidential election — and whether it influenced the outcome — when deciding how to cast their vote.
Cicilline appears to be the first member of Congress and the highest-ranking elected official in the country to endorse the notion that electors aren’t simply rubber stamps for their states’ popular vote. Earlier Saturday, he retweeted a Rhode Island-based national security expert who argued that the intelligence community “must brief electoral college about Russia before vote.”
"To the extent that foreign interference in the United States presidential elections may have influenced the final result, I believe the electors have the right to consider that,” Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) said in a statement to POLITICO on Saturday.
“EC exists to protect republic from candidate under foreign influence,” the expert, Salve Regina University researcher Jim Ludes, wrote.
Cicilline stopped short of endorsing that sentiment in his statement to POLITICO. But in a second tweet on Saturday, he urged the White House to publicize information surrounding the CIA’s assessment that Russia intervened in the election to help Trump. “Before the Electoral College votes,” he added.
Fast forward to Monday, when Democratic lawmaker Jim Himes was lobbying the Electoral College to shun Donald Trump, and vote for Hillary Clinton — even though he conceded Monday that the Republican won the election “fair and square.” As the Post reported, Rep. Jim Himes’ (D-Conn.) plea comes a week before the Dec. 19 vote, which is expected to affirm the results of the Nov. 8 election, in which Trump beat Clinton with 306 Electoral College votes.
“We’re 5 wks from Inauguration & the President Elect is completely unhinged. The electoral college must do what it was designed for,” Himes wrote Sunday night on Twitter in response to Trump’s gripe that NBC’s “Nightly News” is “biased, inaccurate and bad, point after point.”
In an interview Monday on CNN’s “New Day,” Himes said that Trump’s refusal to say that the Russian hacked Democrats during the election was what prompted his plea to the electoral college.
“What finally pushed me over the edge was when the president-elect of the United States criticized the CIA and the intelligence community. Can you imagine what the leaders in Beijing and Moscow and Tehran are thinking as they watch the next president of the United States de-legitimize and criticize his own intelligence community and stand up for the defense of Russia, one of our prime adversaries,” said Himes.
The Democratic rep said the move would result in “an awful lot of litigation,” but said it was the right thing to do under the system that currently exists. “The Electoral College, if you read the Federalist papers and understand why it is there, it is a group of people. It is not an algorithm. It is not a set of ballots. It is a group of people that our Founding Fathers, you know, to whom supposedly we all sort of defer to, pledged the idea that if someone gets elected that is manifestly ill equipped to be president … that the Electoral College can step in.” he said.
Still Himes, who said Trump isn’t qualified to be a “mayor of a small town in Connecticut,” admitted that “under the rules, President-elect Donald Trump won “fair and square.”
In any case, it will likely come as no surprise that moments ago ten Electoral College electors have asked U.S. intelligence officials for more information on ongoing investigations surrounding President-elect Donald Trump’s relationship with Russia, complying with the narrative as laid out on Saturday.
The group of electors, which includes the daughter of House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, wrote an open letter to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper asking for the information ahead of their Dec. 19 meeting to formally vote for the next president, the Hill reports.
“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 read.
“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.”
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To be sure, the Electoral College's appeal faces a steep uphill climb if it is to succeed: nine Democrats and only one Republican signed the letter. The Republican, Christopher Suprun, has said that he won't vote for Trump when the Electoral College meets. So far no other republicans have expressed an interest in challenging the vote outcome. Also on Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected Sen. John McCain's call for a special panel to investigate Russian election interference.