NEW YORK. US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton told her donors that FBI Director James Comey and Russian President Vladimir Putin were the chief culprits for her election loss to Donald Trump, her Republican rival, in the November elections.
Clinton made the comments in a meeting with her Democratic campaign donors in New York on Thursday, describing the release of a letter from FBI chief Comey regarding potential mishandling of classified materials and Russian cyber attacks which she considers as two important factors in her loss to President-elect Donald Trump.
“Putin publicly blamed me for the outpouring of outrage by his own people that is the direct line between what he said back then and what he did in this Election,” Clinton is heard saying in an audio recording first obtained by the New York Times and verified as authentic by several sources present at the event to NBC News.
“Swing-state voters made their decisions in the final days breaking against me because of the FBI letter from Director Comey,” Clinton said.
She argued that the release of those documents just eleven days before the November 8 election focused negative attention onto her campaign at a crucial time when voters were in doubt who to support.
The former presidential candidate also pointed to an assessment report by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that the Russian administration was directly involved in cyber attacks designed to influence the last month US election.
“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.
During the meeting with her top donors, Clinton said that Russian President Putin meddled in the US election process out of a “personal beef” against her, referring to the year 2011, when then US secretary of state publicly challenged the integrity of the Russian parliamentary elections, and reportedly attempted to incite street protests against the government of Putin.
American officials say that the Russian leader had never forgiven Clinton over these anti-Russian moves.
On November 8, Republican nominee Donald Trump stunned the political world and won the US presidency despite extreme unpopularity among minorities with 306 votes in the Electoral College, 36 more than he needed to win the White House.
His Democratic rival, however, won the national popular vote by more than two million ballots in the November election.
Large protests erupted nationwide in response to Trump’s election victory following a contentious presidential campaign involving two of the least popular major-party candidates in recent US history.
Clinton has come under fire for using a private email account and server at her home in New York for official emails when she was America’s top diplomat between 2009 and 2013 and Trump’s campaign has been replete with disparaging remarks and belligerent rhetoric against Muslims and minorities in the US.
The future US president is set to assume office on January 20th, 2017.