In state capitol buildings across America on Monday, the 538 members of the Electoral College — including 29 from New York — will meet to validate the results of the presidential election.
But in the wake of a divisive campaign season and citing President-elect Donald Trump’s loss of the popular vote, several electors and activists across the country have launched last-ditch efforts that aim to keep the real estate mogul from reaching the Oval Office, reports Newsday’s Laura Figueroa.
The attempts include a phone campaign urging GOP electors to vote against Trump; an online petition that has collected almost 5 million signatures, pressing electors to vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton because she defeated Trump by nearly 2.8 million ballots in the popular vote; and an unsuccessful campaign by some Democratic electors to recruit Gov. John Kasich of Ohio as an alternative to Trump.
Political scientists call the attempts to thwart Trump from assuming office a long shot, noting that electors opposed to Trump would need to persuade at least 37 of the 306 Republican electors pledged to him to vote for someone else. Doing so would keep Trump from reaching the 270 electoral votes needed to lock in the presidency, but also would kick the issue to the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. It is unlikely that body would vote against him.
Who are the electors?
Former President Bill Clinton, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli are among New York’s electors.
All of New York’s electors are Democrats, and more than half — 17 — hail from New York City. Two are from Long Island, three are from Westchester County and the remainder are from upstate, according to the roster of names found on the U.S. Archives website.
On Friday, U.S. Secret Service agents conducted a “walk through” of the State Senate chamber in anticipation of Bill Clinton attending the vote, reports Newsday’s Yancey Roy.
Trump responds to protesters
The president-elect took to Twitter with a message that seemed to be directed at those protesters looking to upend his Electoral College victory.
“If my many supporters acted and threatened people like those who lost the election are doing, they would be scorned & called terrible names!” Trump wrote in a Sunday evening tweet.
His message comes as GOP electors have come forward with reports of receiving menacing calls urging them to vote against Trump.
Protesters with the December 19th Coalition have announced plans to rally in Albany Monday morning as part of demonstrations the group has planned in all 50 states.
Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and a bipartisan group of colleagues, including Republican Sen. John McCain, sent a letter Sunday to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell requesting that a special committee probe reported Russian interference into the November presidential election.
“Cybersecurity is the ultimate cross-jurisdictional challenge,” the letter states. It also says the “select committee on cyber” should make recommendations on “new legislation to modernize our nation’s laws, governmental organization and related practices to meet this challenge.”
Also Sunday, Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) called for an investigation into whether and why CIA Director John Brennan leaked information on Russian hacking to members of the media.
“There should be an investigation of what the Russians did, but also John Brennan and the hit job he seems to be orchestrating against the president-elect,” King said on ABC’s “This Week.
On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s former campaign chairman, said, “Russians were trying to elect a lap dog” by backing Trump through the series of cyberhacks.
Meanwhile, Trump’s chief of staff, Reince Priebus, said the president-elect is not prepared to accept the intelligence community’s claims of Russian hacking.
“I think he would accept the conclusion if these intelligence professionals would get together, put out a report and show the American people they’re actually on the same page, as opposed to third parties through The Washington Post,” Priebus said on “Fox News Sunday.”
Read a wrap-up of the Sunday morning political talk shows from Newsday’s Emily Ngo and John Asbury here.
Kissinger: Trump is a phenomenon
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said Trump could accomplish “something remarkable” in U.S. foreign policy as the next commander-in-chief.
“Donald Trump is a phenomenon that foreign countries haven’t seen. So it is a shocking experience to them that he came into office. At the same time, extraordinary opportunity,” Kissinger said in an interview with CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
Kissinger, who served under the administrations of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, and who met in person with Trump last month, said he believes Trump “has the possibility of going down in history as a very considerable president.”
What else is happening
- NYPD Deputy Commissioner John Miller said the department will continue to press Congress for $35 million to cover the cost of protecting Trump and Trump Tower, reports Newsday’s Emily Ngo.
- Attorney General Loretta Lynch said she regrets her talk with former President Bill Clinton on an Arizona airport tarmac this summer, according to Politico.
- Trump donated $10,000 to one of Israel’s oldest West Bank settlements back in 2003, according to The Washington Post.
- Page Six reports that Cuomo, anticipating a Clinton victory, booked 200 hotel rooms in D.C. for family, friends and supporters to attend next month’s inauguration. He has since transferred the rooms to State GOP chair Ed Cox.