Democrats fire last shot at Trump

Ques­tions on Rus­sia in­fil­trate in­tel com­mu­nity Pelosi daugh­ter leads ef­fort to block vote in Elec­toral Col­lege

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY DAVE BOYER AND CARLO MUNOZ BY VALERIE RICHARD­SON

The White House raised tran­si­tion ten­sions with Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump on Mon­day, lay­ing out “ob­jec­tive facts” of the mogul’s ties to Rus­sia and lash­ing out at con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans who now want to in­ves­ti­gate whether Moscow’s cy­ber­at­tacks were aimed at help­ing Mr. Trump win the elec­tion.

Dur­ing the cam­paign, Hil­lary Clin­ton’s team charged that Rus­sia was try­ing to boost Mr. Trump by hack­ing email ac­counts and turn­ing the mes­sages over to Wik­iLeaks, in­clud­ing some that showed the Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee plot­ted to un­der­mine pri­mary ri­val Bernard San­ders.

“The pres­i­dent-elect didn’t call it

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 as re­count ef­forts took set­backs Mon­day in Wis­con­sin and Pennsylvania.

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 re­port cited anony­mous CIA sources who said Rus­sian-backed hack­ers specif­i­cally tried to boost the Repub­li­can’s can­di­dacy by tap­ping into Demo­cratic email ac­counts.

Mr. Trump dis­missed the re­ports as the prod­uct of a Demo­crat-fu­eled ef­fort to dele­git­imize his pres­i­dency.

“I think it’s ridicu­lous. I think it’s just an­other ex­cuse. I don’t be­lieve it,” Mr. Trump said in an in­ter­view on “Fox News Sun­day.”

With the Elec­toral Col­lege vote just days away, how­ever, or­ga­niz­ers of the small yet un­prece­dented drive to up­end the re­sults of the Nov. 8 pres­i­den­tial race seized upon the re­ports, say­ing they show for­eign in­flu­ence tainted the elec­tion.

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.”

The bid to up­end Mr. Trump’s vic­tory gained mo­men­tum the same day that Pennsylvania and Wis­con­sin cer­ti­fied their re­sults of the Nov. 8 elec­tion.

The re­count in Wis­con­sin, ini­ti­ated and funded by Green Party pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Jill Stein, showed Mr. Trump pick­ing up 131 votes, which changed the out­come by 0.06 per­cent. He won the state by about 22,000 votes.

Mr. Trump took to Twit­ter on Mon­day evening to re­peat his claim that the re­count ef­fort was just a fundrais­ing op­por­tu­nity for Ms. Stein. “The Dems and Green Party can now rest. Scam!” he said.

Mean­while, a fed­eral judge re­jected the Green Party’s re­quest for a re­count of pa­per bal­lots in Pennsylvania, which Mr. Trump also won. The judge said Ms. Stein’s sus­pi­cion of vot­ing ma­chines be­ing sus­cep­ti­ble to hack­ing “borders on the ir­ra­tional.”

Ms. Stein also filed for a re­count in Michi­gan, which a judge halted last week af­ter three days. Mr. Trump car­ried the state by fewer than 11,000 votes out of 4.8 mil­lion cast.

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.”

“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,” said the let­ter.

The elec­tors said that will also need Mr. Trump to prove “that he and his staff and ad­vis­ers did not ac­cept Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence, or other­wise col­lab­o­rate dur­ing the cam­paign, and con­clu­sive dis­avowal and re­pu­di­a­tion of such col­lab­o­ra­tion and in­ter­fer­ence go­ing for­ward.”

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.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS PHO­TO­GRAPHS

DU­EL­ING HAMIL­TON: Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump said the ef­fort by some mem­bers of the Elec­toral Col­lege is ridicu­lous. “I think it’s just an­other ex­cuse. I don’t be­lieve it,” he said amid ques­tions over for­eign in­flu­ence in the vote.

SUS­PI­CIOUS: Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell called for an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into for­eign in­flu­ence.

PRESS­ING CONGRESS: Pres­i­dent Obama wants “ob­jec­tive facts” about Don­ald Trump’s ties to Rus­sia.

POINT­ING FIN­GERS: Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Harry Reid said the FBI should have sounded the alarm.

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