In the months before the 2016 Presidential Election, two members of the U.S. Electoral College. one in Texas and one in Georgia, each expressed grave reluctance to cast a vote for Donald Trump. Following Trump’s electoral victory on November 8, 2016, petitions were circulated for the benefit of encouraging members of the Electoral College to reject Trump. One historical precedent cited was an essay Alexander Hamilton wrote in The Federalist Papers desiring that:
“…the sense of the people should operate in the choice of the person to whom so important a trust was to be confided… that the immediate election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice… [and that] as little opportunity as possible to tumult and disorder [be afforded].”
One week after the election, The Denver Post reported that another rogue elector in Colorado began a campaign to persuade Republican electors to choose somebody other than Trump. Subsequently, on December 9, both former and present top officials at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency confirmed that hackers in Russia attacked the Democratic National Committee’s computer servers, stole information and distributed it to WikiLeaks for the specific benefit of influencing the election.
The CIA’s findings come as no surprise, given that on July 29, 2016, the New York Times reported that computer systems used by Hillary Clinton’s campaign were hacked, with the trail leading to “Fancy Bear,” an entity connected to the G.R.U., the Russian military intelligence service. The incident came two days after Trump gave a press conference in Doral, Florida at which he offered a dare to Russia regarding deleted emails from the private account Hillary Clinton used as secretary of State but claimed he did not know Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Oddly enough, in 2013 during an interview with MSNBC taking place before that year’s Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, Trump admitted:
“I do have a relationship, and I can tell you that he’s very interested in what we’re doing here today. He’s probably very interested in what you and I are saying today and I’m sure he’s going to be seeing it in some form. But I do have a relationship with him and I think it’s very interesting to see what’s happened. I mean, look. He’s done a very brilliant jobs in terms of what he represents and who he is representing. If you look at what he’s done with Syria, if you look at so many of the different things, he has really eaten our president’s lunch, let’s not kid ourselves.”
Even more intriguing, the day the story broke that Hillary’s campaign computer system was hacked, The Washington Post disclosed that there is strong evidence that Russian investors have poured significant amounts of money into Trump’s businesses, that Trump raked in millions of dollars when he agreed to bring the Miss Universe pageant to Moscow in 2013, a deal financed in part by the development company of Aras Agalarov, a Russian billionaire allied to Vladimir Putin; and that Trump sold Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev a mansion in Palm Beach for $95 million.
In an interview with Time magazine for their Person of the Year issue, Trump denied the allegations.
“I don’t believe they interfered. That became a laughing point, not a talking point, a laughing point. Any time I do something, they say ‘oh, Russia interfered.’
“Why not get along with Russia? And they can help us fight ISIS, which is both costly in lives and costly in money. And they’re effective and smart.”
In response to the accusations, President-elect Trump’s transition team released the following flippant statement:
“These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and ‘Make America Great Again.’”
However, on December 12, 2016, Politico.com reported that a bipartisan group of ten electors from five states and the District of Columbia submitted an open letter to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper demanding an intelligence briefing on Russia’s interference in the 2016 Election on behalf of Donald Trump.
In particular, the letter declares:
“We further emphasize Alexander Hamilton’s assertion in Federalist Paper #68 that a core purpose of the Electoral College was to prevent a ‘desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils.’ The United States intelligence community has now concluded with ‘high confidence’ that a foreign power, namely Russia, acted covertly to interfere in the presidential campaign with the intent of promoting Donald Trump’s candidacy. During the campaign Russia actively attempted to influence the election outcome through cyberattacks on our political institutions and a comprehensive propaganda campaign coordinated through Wikileaks and other outlets.
“Allegations that Donald Trump was receiving assistance from a hostile foreign power to win the election began months before Election Day. When presented with information that the Russian government was interfering in the election through the course of the campaign, both in private briefings and public assessment, Donald Trump rejected it, refused to condemn it, and continued to accept their help. Donald Trump even made a direct plea to the Russian government to interfere further in the election in a press conference on July 27, saying, ‘Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.’
“According to reports in the Washington Post, New York Times, and other outlets, the United States intelligence community has now concluded definitively that the Russian interference was performed to help Donald Trump get elected, yet even today Mr. Trump is refusing to accept that finding. In response to the reports, the Trump transition office instead released a statement which called into question the validity of United States intelligence findings, and declared the election over despite the Electoral College not yet casting its votes. Trump’s willingness to disregard conclusions made by the intelligence community and his continuing defense of Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin demand close scrutiny and deliberation from the Electoral College.”
Indeed, the CIA’s findings that Russian hackers meddled with the election are not to be taken lightly, as these revelations cast serious doubt on what little legitimacy Trump’s victory has. With that in mind, one can only hope that the Electoral College will follow Alexander Hamilton’s example and reject Donald Trump.