A US Congressman is calling on colleagues to delay the date of a vote for the Electoral College and demand intelligence briefing for every elector in regard to Russia’s hacking allegations in favor of President-elect Donald Trump before officially electing him as the country’s 45th commander-in-chief.
Virginia Democratic Representative Don Beyer released a statement on Twitter on Wednesday, calling for a delay in the December 19th vote, which would officially make the New York billionaire the country’s future president.
Beyer suggested that allegations of Russia’s support for Trump and the role a foreign country played in manipulating the November 8 vote’s outcome are worth being studied for longer.
The announcement came as Trump’s Russia problem deepened with top Republicans refusing to dismiss the matter as “ridiculous” as their president-elect has.
Following a recent Washington Post report about “individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others,” ahead of the 2016 vote, US President Barack Obama ordered intelligence officials to perform a “full review” of election-related hacking.
“Recent, credible intelligence reports suggest a concerted effort by a foreign power to interfere in the outcome” of the election, Beyer said.
Under the US Constitution, the president is not elected through popular vote. American voters rather vote for members of the Electoral College who elect the president on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December following the presidential election. A majority of 270 electoral votes are required to elect the president.
“I believe that Electors should be given all information relevant to this interference before they make their decisions and before they cast their votes,” Beyer said. “Congress must take whatever action is necessary to protect the integrity of our democracy. I call on the leaders of Congress to delay the date of the vote for the Electoral College until an intelligence briefing has been given to each Elector.”
In a Post interview later in the day, the Virginia liberal Democrat said his statement “mirrors closely” what Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said on Tuesday.
“With due respect to the leadership, I nevertheless had a responsibility to speak out…There’s no such thing as a small voice,” Beyer said, adding that “If we don’t act early, and soon, we run the risk of having an illegitimate president… That’s not good for Donald Trump and not good for America.”
Reid told BuzzFeed earlier that if the electors “had the same briefings I had they would be concerned about the election and I believe focusing on the Electoral College is important.”
Beyer noted that the electors need to “see the appropriate evidence, and then vote… I personally have no proof there was interference by the Russians ... but given the CIA’s well-considered report, the electors should see it.”
In the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, whom Beyer endorsed, kept blaming Russia over support for the New York billionaire, mostly highlighted in several batches of WikiLeaks documents released regularly to undermine the Democratic campaign.