DNI: No intelligence briefing for electors

posted at 7:21 pm on December 16, 2016 by John Sexton

Electors will not be getting an intelligence briefing prior to casting their votes next Monday. In a statement released Friday, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said, despite multiple requests from Members of Congress and electors, it was standing by a previous statement on Russia’s involvement.

Recently, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence has received requests from Members of Congress, several Electors of the Electoral College and the general public for additional information on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

On October 7, 2016, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence publicly stated that they were “confident” that the Russian government directed compromises of emails from U.S. persons and institutions and that these thefts, as well as disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails by the Guccifer 2.0 persona, were intended to interfere with the U.S. election process.  The Secretary and DNI also expressed their belief that “only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.”  We continue to stand by this statement.

The President has recently directed the Intelligence Community to conduct a review of potential foreign interference in presidential elections dating back to 2008.  This effort is ongoing and involves sensitive classified information.  Once the review is complete in the coming weeks, the Intelligence Community stands ready to brief Congress and will make those findings available to the public consistent with protecting intelligence sources and methods.

In other words, no special briefing for hundreds of people with no security clearance.

Democratic electors have been rallying behind an effort to demand a briefing since Monday. That’s when a letter, written by Nancy Pelosi’s daughter Christine Pelosi, appeared online signed by 10 electors. The number of signatories has since increased to 84, all but one of them Democrats.

In addition to the demand for a briefing, the letter spurned a secondary effort on the left to delay the date on which electors would vote. The purpose of the delay was to allow more time for the briefing and for any deliberations that took place afterwards. The delay effort involved petitions circulating on Change.org but was supported by at least one Congressman, Don Beyer of Virginia.

The briefing effort and the delay effort have run parallel to an effort by Democrats to block Trump’s election by convincing 37 GOP electors to change their votes. The so-called “Hamilton electors” was started by two Democratic electors who are also signatories to the letter requesting a briefing. So far only one GOP elector has said he is on board with the plan. Even if 37 electors decided not to vote for Trump, the election would wind up in the House where the GOP would be bound to select either Trump or Clinton. In other words, the whole effort, like the recount in swing-states, isn’t going to change anything.

That said, the effort does have a point. It’s an attempt to delegitimize President-elect Trump and also to challenge laws binding electors to vote for the winner of the popular vote in the state. Many of the people involved in the effort to rally faithless electors support deciding the election based on the popular vote.


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