Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

It's now the Electoral College's turn to vote

Pennsylvania's 20 Electoral College members will gather in Harrisburg on Monday to vote for Donald Trump for president. That is how it should be.

Pennsylvania's 20 Electoral College members will gather in Harrisburg on Monday to vote for Donald Trump for president.

That is how it should be.

Trump won Pennsylvania by a sliver of the vote, 0.73 percent, out of more than 6.1 million ballots.

Still, a win is a win.

Some people don't see it that way. The Electoral College members have been bombarded with letters, emails and calls, asking them to dump Trump for another candidate.

Peg Ferraro, a Northampton County Council member and assistant secretary of the state Republican Party, posted pictures on Facebook of the hundreds of letters she receives each day. Many of those writers cite Russian hacking of Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Democratic National Committee, asking Ferraro to cast her Electoral College ballot against Trump.

The Department of Homeland Security and the director of national intelligence on Oct. 7 said "the U.S. intelligence community is confident that the Russian government directed" the hacking.

The CIA and FBI are apparently now on board.

President Obama told reporters Friday that he personally warned Russian President Vladimir Putin to "cut it out."

Ferraro called it "logical" to suspect Russian hacking but doesn't think it impacted the results. And she's fine with receiving a lot of mail about it.

"God bless people for expressing their opinions and caring," she said. "I'm just amazed at how passions are crazy this time."

Maybe too crazy. Christine Toretti, a Republican National Committee member from Indiana, Pa., said the Pennsylvania State Police investigators interviewed her on Dec. 7 about the thousands of emails she has received.

A state police spokesman on Friday confirmed that the organized-crime unit is investigating.

"I was scared for a little bit," Toretti said. "And then you start wondering, what will it be like on Monday? You just never know anymore. The way the world has turned, you pause a little bit."

Like him or loathe him, Trump is the president-elect. It does this country no good for people to try to delegitimize him.

It also does Trump no good to keep denying the Russian hacking, especially when he clearly embraced it in his campaign.

"Russia, if you're listening . . ." Trump joked in July, before dismissing the remark as mere sarcasm.

This is not to say the hacking changed the course of the election. Clinton made many mistakes. She lost. It's over.

But the hacking can't be ignored or, worse yet, celebrated as some Trump supporters are now doing.

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican, called in a tweet last week for a "vigorous investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee of Russian email hacking allegations."

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr., a Democrat, went further, asking with eight of his colleagues for the director of national intelligence to release in classified and nonclassified versions an estimate of the hacking before Trump's inauguration.

They also asked Attorney General Loretta Lynch to publicly confirm whether a criminal investigation is under way and, if not, to get on that immediately.

"This is not something that should drift," Casey told me last week. "It's not something we can push off until later."

But will the hyper-partisan Congress descend into predictable bickering about the hacking? Casey said "one significant factor that allows for a much more bipartisan approach" is that briefings from intelligence agencies often leave Democrats and Republicans on the same page, considering the same set of facts.

What about Trump? Does Casey think Trump will pressure the intelligence community to look away from Russia's attempted influence?

"I can't believe I can't say a resounding no," Casey told me. "I hope the president-elect will act differently when he is president and in office."