A Democratic congressman is suggesting that members of the Electoral College should be able to consider Russian interference in the presidential election — and whether it influenced the outcome — when deciding how to cast their vote.
“To the extent that foreign interference in the United States presidential elections may have influenced the final result, I believe the electors have the right to consider that,” Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) said in a statement to POLITICO on Saturday.
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Cicilline appears to be the first member of Congress and the highest-ranking elected official in the country to endorse the notion that electors aren’t simply rubber stamps for their states’ popular vote. Earlier Saturday, he retweeted a Rhode Island-based national security expert who argued that the intelligence community “must brief electoral college about Russia before vote.”
Cicilline’s comments come amid the explosive determination by the U.S. intelligence community that Russia interfered in the presidential election in support of Donald Trump. Trump’s transition team has forcefully denied the conclusion.
“EC exists to protect republic from candidate under foreign influence,” the expert, Salve Regina University researcher Jim Ludes, wrote.
Cicilline stopped short of endorsing that sentiment in his statement to POLITICO. But in a second tweet on Saturday, he urged the White House to publicize information surrounding the CIA’s assessment that Russia intervened in the election to help Trump. “Before the Electoral College votes,” he added.