Speed Reads

Electors gonna elect

Electoral College electors explain their demand for pre-vote intelligence briefing on Russian meddling

On Monday, a group of Electoral College members, mostly from states won by Hillary Clinton, asked Director of National Intelligence James Clapper for an intelligence briefing on "all investigative findings" from investigations by the U.S. intelligence community into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race. Over the weekend, a senior intelligence official said that the U.S. intelligence community has concluded with "high confidence" that Russia not only meddled in the election but did so specifically to help Donald Trump win. (Trump disagrees.) The 538 electors meet on Dec. 19 to formally elect the next president.

In their letter to Clapper, the 29 electors said they "do not understand our sole function to be to convene in mid-December, several weeks after Election Day, and summarily cast our votes," arguing that "the Constitution envisions the Electoral College 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." Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta threw his support behind the Electoral College briefing request on Monday, saying that "electors have a solemn responsibility under the Constitution and we support their efforts to have their questions addressed."

You can watch some of the signatory electors make their case below.

CNN notes that "it is unclear whether these electors would be able to even receive a briefing from the intelligence community because of their level of security clearance." And the long-shot bid to select somebody other than Trump as president suffered a setback on Monday when a federal judge in Colorado ruled against Clinton electors who wanted to disregard Colorado state law and vote for a third person for president, in hopes that enough Republican electors would join in and throw the election to the House of Representatives.