Tomorrow the electoral college consisting of 538 electors will meet to place their final votes which comes after Republican Donald Trump won more electoral college votes in the general election on November 8th by 306- 232 despite losing the popular vote by 2.8 million, the largest margin in any other U.S. election.
There are 270 electoral college votes needed to become president.
Last week, the Director of the National Intelligence, representing 17 intelligence agencies, and the FBI agreed with a CIA assessment, first reported by the Washington Post, stating the cyber attacks on the Democratic National Committee during the U.S. presidential election season was meddling aimed at helping Donald Trump to win the U.S. presidency, a claim that President elect Donald Trump still refuses to embrace, highlighting division with the U.S. intelligence community from the Republican billionaire who ran on an anti-establishment platform and has voiced distrust with the media.
On December 16th CIA Director John Brennan said FBI Director James Comey and James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence were in agreement over the “scope, nature, and intent” of Russia’s interference in the election to help Donald Trump which follows a December 9th order from President Obama to investigate foreign meddling in U.S. elections and a December 12th announcement from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell voicing his confidence in the U.S. intelligence community.
On Fox News Sunday Reince Priebus, Chair of the Republican National Committee who was recently selected by president elect Trump to serve as White House chief of staff, explained that president elect Trump would accept the conclusions of the national intelligence agencies if they would “get together, put out a report, show the American people that they’re actually on the same page as opposed to third parties through The Washington Post.”
On Friday U.S. President Barack Obama gave his final press conference in 2016 from the White House before flying to Hawaii for the holidays.
President Obama said that based on uniform intelligence assessments, the Russians were responsible for hacking the Democratic National Committee and it is important to enact systematic changes to prevent future attacks.
“That should be a bipartisan issue; that shouldn’t be a partisan issue. And my hope is that the President elect is going to similarly be concerned with making sure that we don’t have potential foreign influence in our election process” President Obama said.
In an age when fake news is becoming more influential in shaping American perspectives and conservative media outlets have been quick to defend president elect Trump’s views, there has been confusion about the acceptance of the findings from U.S. intelligence agencies.
President Obama stressed the need for Americans to trust the U.S. intelligence community.
“So this is one of those situations where unless the American people genuinely think that the professionals in the CIA, the FBI, our entire intelligence infrastructure… many of whom, by the way, served in previous administrations and who are Republicans… are less trustworthy than the Russians, then people should pay attention to what our intelligence agencies have to say” Obama said.
Many Democrats have been upset with the FBI handling of intelligence data linking the hacks of the Democratic National Committee to Russia during the election season and the refusal of FBI Director James Comey to not release a statement of the Russian cyberattacks because he reportedly didn’t want to appear to be political despite the fact that he was willing to comment about another FBI investigation that may have been tied to Hillary Clinton’s e-mail investigation that was closed in August.
Speaking on NBC’s Meet the Press that aired on Sunday, Clinton Campaign Manager John Podesta said that he still believes that the emphasis of the FBI on Clinton’s e-mails over the Russian hacking case impacted the outcome of the U.S. presidential race.
“I think that if you look back and see what happened over the course of the last few weeks, you see the way the votes broke, you know, I was highly critical of the way the FBI, particularly the FBI director managed the situation with respect to the Russian engagement versus Hillary Clinton’s emails. I think that all had an effect on the election” Podesta said.