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Clinton campaign backs electors' request for Russia info before Electoral College vote

Jacob Pramuk

Hillary Clinton 's campaign has backed a request from a bipartisan group of Electoral College electors to have the national intelligence director release findings related to Russia's role in the U.S. election before they vote on Dec. 19.

"The bipartisan electors' letter raises very grave issues involving our national security. Electors have a solemn responsibility under the Constitution and we support their efforts to have their questions addressed," Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta said in a statement Monday.

In an open letter to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, the 10 electors from six states and Washington D.C. asked for "a briefing on all investigative findings" related to Russia's role in the election, saying "these matters directly impact the core factors in our deliberations of whether ( Donald Trump ) is fit to serve" as president. Their concerns range from reports that the CIA has concluded that Russia used covert operations to help Trump win to Trump aides having alleged ties to Moscow.

They contend that the Electoral College should not summarily cast votes for a state's winner but rather deliberate to ensure that the president is fit to serve. More information on intelligence findings will help them make that decision, they said.

President-elect Trump has tried to cast reports about the CIA's conclusion as a partisan attempt to delegitimize his election, attacking the abilities of the intelligence community. His transition team did not immedaitely respond to a request for comment on Podesta backing the electors' letter.

President Barack Obama has ordered intelligence agencies to deliver him evidence of Russian influence on the election. Some of that information may be made public "in a responsible manner," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said Monday.

A bipartisan group of senators including incoming Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York and Republican John McCain of Arizona have also called for a probe of Russian tactics. McConnell said Monday that he agreed with them that "this simply cannot be a partisan issue."

McConnell added that the Senate's intelligence committee will review Russia's actions, following the "regular order." He stopped short of endorsing a special panel investigation.

Podesta contended that the Obama administration "owes it to the American people to explain what it knows regarding the extent and manner of Russia's interference and this be done as soon as possible."

The intelligence community announced in October that it believed Russia directed the hacking of email accounts for U.S. political organizations and prominent individuals to interfere with the electoral process. The recent reports, however, say the CIA took the findings a step further, concluding that the interference was meant to help Trump.