In her first public speech since the CIA pointed a finger at Russian President Vladimir Putin for seeking to sway the election in Donald Trump's favor, Hillary Clinton outlined what she perceives to be Putin's rationale for manipulating the American public into voting for Donald Trump.
Clinton also blamed FBI director James Comey's letter to congress for her election loss, which is nothing new. "Don't take it from me. Take it from independent analysts. Take it from the Trump campaign. Take it from Nate Silver," she said.
In a recording of her speech obtained by the New York Times, Clinton told her supporters that Putin directed hackers to dig up dirt about her campaign rather than Trump's, "apparently because he has a personal beef against me." That beef, she explained, stems from back in the days when she was secretary of state, and she intimated publicly (in fact, right in front of the Russian foreign minister) that Putin's victory in the 2011 Russian election was "so illegitimate that it was embarrassing."
"Putin publicly blamed me for the outpouring of rage 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 Thursday night, referring to a wave of protests in Russia that lasted well into 2012.
From there, Clinton theorized that Putin's whole idea is to "undermine our democracy," as part of a strategy to make Americans doubt themselves, and "to create the circumstances in which Americans, either wittingly or unwittingly will begin to cede their freedoms to a much more powerful state."
Clinton applauded the bipartisan effort by senators—including Republicans John McCain and Lindsey Graham, and Democrats Chuck Schumer and Jack Reed—to investigate Russian interference in the election. "It should be modeled on the 9/11 commission," she suggested.
The whole Russian hacking effort is "not just an attack against me and my campaign, although that may have added fuel to it," according to Clinton. It is "an attack against our country."
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