Trump seals Electoral College victory

Trump seals Electoral College victory
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Electoral College members across the nation voted to affirm President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump hails Arizona Senate for audit at Phoenix rally, slams governor Arkansas governor says it's 'disappointing' vaccinations have become 'political' Watch live: Trump attends rally in Phoenix MORE’s victory on Monday as liberal attempts to sway Republican electors to abandon Trump fizzled.
Republican electors stayed loyal to their candidate, keeping Trump well above the 270 electoral vote threshold needed to secure the nomination. 
Texas's 36 electoral votes for Trump pushed him over the edge at around 4:30 p.m. CST, even though two rogue electors' defections deprived Trump of one of those votes. That gave Trump 304 total electoral votes. 
In a statement released Monday evening, Trump marked his victory and thanked the voters. 
"The official votes cast by the Electoral College exceeded the 270 required to secure the presidency by a very large margin, far greater than ever anticipated by the media," it said. 
"This election represents a movement that millions of hard working men and women all across the country stood behind and made possible. With this historic step we can look forward to the bright future ahead. I will work hard to unite our country and be the President of all Americans. Together, we will make America great again.”
The Republican-controlled Congress, a body even more unlikely to be swayed by pressure than the Electoral College, will certify the vote on Jan. 6. 
The Texas defectors mark the only two "faithless electors" who broke from the controversial Republican. One voted for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, while the other voted for former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas). 
In recent weeks, rogue presidential electors calling themselves the “Hamilton Electors” urged Republican electors to defect from Trump.
Indeed, faithless electors caused more news on the Democratic side. 
A Minnesota delegate cast a vote for Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersPoll: 73 percent of Democratic voters would consider voting for Biden in the 2024 primary Overnight Defense: US launches another airstrike in Somalia | Amendment to expand Pentagon recusal period added to NDAA | No. 2 State Dept. official to lead nuclear talks with Russia US launches second Somalia strike in week MORE (I-Vt.), only to be removed and replaced with an alternate. In Maine, an elector had announced his intentions to vote for Sanders, only to change his vote and back Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden flexes presidential muscle on campaign trail with Virginia's McAuliffe Shontel Brown gaining ground against Nina Turner in Ohio: poll Biden hits trail for McAuliffe in test of his political brand MORE in a second round of voting. And in Washington, three Democrats voted for former Secretary of State Colin Powell and one Democrat voted for Faith Spotted Eagle, a tribal activist opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Public attention on the Electoral College, typically an afterthought in the presidential election process, hit a historic high this year after the protests following Trump’s election. 
The majority of states have laws compelling electors to follow their state’s majority vote but lack no federal or Constitutional directive to vote the way their states did in November. Even so, electors almost always hem to their state’s vote — only nine individual electors in the past 100 years broke from their state’s Election Day results. 
But this year, progressive groups organized rallies across the country, celebrities filmed pleas to individual Republican electors. “Saturday Night Live” even jumped in this weekend, recreating a scene from the movie "Love, Actually" to depict Clinton begging an elector to buck Trump. 
Reports about Russian involvement in hacks that roiled the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta have compounded the calls for electors to abandon Trump. His opponents have pointed to the news that Russia was behind the hacks to question whether Russian President Vladimir Putin had interfered to help boost Trump.   
Updated 6:27 p.m.