Hillary Clinton has attributed her loss in the US presidential election to Russian meddling, which she said was an “attack against our country” by President Vladimir Putin, and the note from FBI director James Comey about new evidence regarding her emails.
“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,” she told donors about the hacking of the computer network of the Democratic National Party by Russian hackers, according to The New York Times.
“We are well beyond normal political concerns here. This is about the integrity of our democracy and the security of our nation.”
Taking a somewhat similar line, President Barack Obama has said the United State will be retaliating “at a time and place of our own choosing. Some of it may be explicit and publicized; some of it may not be”.
US intelligence has in recent days concluded the hacking was not only carried out by Russia, which handed over the stolen data to WikiLeaks, but with the intention to undermine Clinton and help Donald Trump win the presidency.
There are reports that Putin was personally involved.
And Clinton agreed. She told donors the hackings were the result of Putin’s “personal beef” against her, over her criticism of his party’s victory in the 2011 parliamentary elections, which she had said were rigged.
“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.
About FBI director Comey’s letter to congress just days before election about new evidence found in connection with the investigation of her use of a private email server, Clinton said it damaged her in closely contested swing states.
“Swing-state voters made their decisions in the final days breaking against me because of the FBI letter from Director Comey,” she added.
Comey had followed up the letter with another one, saying investigators had found nothing to reopen the probe, which he had announced closed months ago, but the damage had been done, apparently.