So Team Hillary’s not only all-in on the dubious theory that Trump wouldn’t have won if not for Russian hacking, they’re also all-in on the inane never-gonna-happen scenario of an electoral-college revolt.
Podesta’s reacting here to an open letter published this morning by several electors (including Nancy Pelosi’s daughter) demanding an intel briefing before they vote next week so that they can gauge, I guess, whether Trump’s victory was legitimate or not. The most charitable thing you can say about Podesta weighing in is that he’s only protecting his own viability in the Democratic Party. The left is angry and frightened and wants to fight Trump with any weapon to hand. Podesta’s showing that he’s willing to fight with even the lamest of weapons. Maybe liberals will blame him a tiny bit less after this for having blown what was supposed to be the most easily winnable election in modern American history.
“The bipartisan electors’ letter raises very grave issues involving our national security,” Podesta said in a statement Monday. “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 said. “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.”
The electors’ letter notes some of the circumstantial evidence during the campaign that suggested connections between Trump’s campaign and Moscow — even though the FBI concluded there was nothing there — before demanding that Trump prove a negative:
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. 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.
Additionally, the Electors will separately require from Donald Trump conclusive evidence that he and his staff and advisors did not accept Russian interference, or otherwise collaborate during the campaign, and conclusive disavowal and repudiation of such collaboration and interference going forward.
Podesta’s endorsement of this project will backfire in at least two ways. One: It will discredit any “faithless electors,” fairly or not, as Clinton stooges, which in turn could discourage some electors who were considering withholding their vote from Trump in protest. Remember, many of the people arguing in favor of an electoral-college revolt, including elector Christopher Suprun, have called for casting those votes for some other Republican candidate instead, not for Hillary. That way, in theory, the GOP still gets one of their own in the White House. The point of the anti-Trump effort in the electoral college is supposed to have nothing to do with Clinton: Trump is unfit for office, the argument goes, and therefore someone else must be elected. Clinton’s fate is irrelevant. Podesta weighing in undermines that argument. Two, much more importantly: Having Hillary’s right-hand man trying to make electoral hay of the CIA’s conclusion about Russia will poison partisan perceptions of that judgment. Trump himself already tried to spin the CIA news yesterday on “Fox News Sunday” as some sort of Democratic hit on him. McCain and McConnell have resisted that pressure in calling for a Senate investigation into Russian meddling, but this is going to make it harder for them to operate in a bipartisan way. And for what? So that Trump ends up losing maybe two votes in the electoral college instead of one? How stupid of Podesta. If he’s serious about wanting answers about Russia and the election, the best thing he could have done is keep his mouth shut and let Congress’s efforts be as non-partisan as possible.
And yeah, needless to say, if the shoe were on the other foot and Trump was calling for the electoral college to be briefed after the CIA found Russian meddling on Hillary’s behalf, the media would treat that as a ridiculous sour-grapes attempt to undo an election whose outcome may well have been the same even without Russia’s hacking. The fact that a few electors are onboard with this hail-mary makes me think that they’ve already run out of “faithless electors” a week out from the big vote and are now trying to discredit Trump’s inevitable overwhelming victory by any means they can, including the fact that they were denied an intelligence briefing that was never owed to them in the first place.