The Guardian reports that when Donald Trump was asked about the report by The Washington Post that the “consensus view” of the U.S. “intelligence community” is that the Russians interfered with the election in order to help him win, he dismissed the findings.
Trump himself curtly dismissed the reports of the CIA findings. “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,” his transition team said in a statement. “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’.”
His comments have been condemned across the political spectrum. An interesting suggestion came from a particularly interesting source.
….John Dean, the former White House counsel under former president Richard Nixon, described the response as “remarkably inadequate”. Dean called for the intelligence report on Russia’s role to be made available to the 538 members of the electoral college before 19 December, when they formally vote to elect the next president.
Dean is here referring to the intelligence report called for by President Obama. His suggestion is well taken. We do not yet know how much of this report will be shared with the public.
We do know the public and the electoral college now know the consensus of the U.S. intelligence community is that Russia interfered with the U.S. election in order to help Trump win. The electoral college knows Trump only won the electoral college by less than 90,000 votes in three swing states: MI, PA, and WI. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by more than 2.5 million votes.
We can help inform the electoral college of their constitutional role. It has been a long time since it has been exercised in this way. Jason Easley of Politicususa writes that Alexander Hamilton argued in Federalist 68 that one reason for the electoral college was to insure “deadly adversaries” do not “gain an improper ascendant in our councils.” Easley argues the electoral college was created to address situations exactly like the one we are in.
With the evidence we now have, Faithless electors are in a position to make a unique argument. They can argue they are exercising their constitutional prerogative in order to safeguard our country’s democracy from the counterintelligence program of a foreign power. They are preventing a “deadly adversary” from gaining “an improper ascendant in our councils.” They can base their conclusions on the “consensus view” of the U.S. intelligence community, Hamilton’s view of the electoral college, and the results of the election.