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16 Dec, 2016 22:16

Clinton blames FBI director & Russia for her defeat

Clinton blames FBI director & Russia for her defeat

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton told her donors that FBI Director James Comey and Russian President Vladimir Putin were the chief culprits for her loss to Donald Trump in November, ignoring problems that were revealed about her campaign.

Addressing a group of donors in Manhattan on Thursday, Clinton claimed her stunning defeat was a product of two “unprecedented” events: FBI Director James Comey announcing the reopening of an investigation into her use of a private email server, and the “unprecedented Russian plot to swing this election.”

“The latest reports made clear Vladimir Putin himself directed the covert cyberattack against our electoral system, against our democracy, apparently because he has a personal beef against me,” Clinton told donors, according to the audio recording published exclusively by the New York Times on Friday.

"This is not just an attack on me and my campaign, although that may have added fuel to it. This is an attack against our country. We are well beyond normal political concerns here. This is about the integrity of our democracy and the security of our nation,” Clinton said, adding that the Congressional probe “should be modeled after the 9/11 commission.”

According to Clinton, she earned the enmity of Vladimir Putin when she stood up for democracy and human rights in 2011, condemning the Russian parliamentary elections as “so flawed, so illegitimate, that it was embarrassing.”

“Putin publicly blamed me for the outpouring of outrage by his own people, and that is the direct line between what he said back then and what he did in this election,” Clinton said. “I want you to know this because he is determined not only to score a point against me, which he did, but also to undermine our democracy.”

The alleged Russian actions, she told the donors, were “part of a long-term strategy to cause us to doubt ourselves” in the “historic struggle to prove that democracy and freedom operates well.”

She also pointed the finger of blame at FBI Director James Comey, and his letter announcing that the FBI had reopened the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.

“Take it from Nate Silver, who’s pointed out that swing-state voters made their decisions in the final days, breaking against me, because of the FBI letter from Director Comey. And Nate Silver believes — I happen to believe this — that that letter most likely made the difference in the outcome,” Clinton said.

Silver, the statistician who famously predicted President Barack Obama’s reelection in 2012, has indeed argued that Comey’s announcement influenced voters in several key states that ended up in Trump’s camp.

However, Clinton’s poll numbers actually crashed before Comey’s announcement, according to journalist Marcy Wheeler. She pointed to a chart showing that the voters reacted to news that health insurance premiums would be going sharply up.

Asked to comment on Clinton’s claim, President Barack Obama said Friday that US intelligence agencies concluded that Russia was behind the hack of the Democratic National Committee, but that his administration focused on ensuring that the “integrity of the electoral process was not being damaged.”

“We did not see further tampering with the electoral process,” Obama said.

While the audience can be heard cheering and clapping in the recording published by the New York Times, some of the donors were reportedly unhappy with Clinton’s lack of introspection.

“All she did was talk Comey and Russia,” one Democrat who attended the event told Politico.

On Wednesday, the outlet published a lengthy investigative report revealing that Clinton’s staff neglected key states such as Wisconsin and Michigan – which, along with Pennsylvania and Florida, went to Trump, leaving him with 306 electoral votes to her 232.