Clinton: 'I was the victim' of high expectations

Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House accuses Biden of pushing ‘conspiracy theories’ with Trump election claim Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton qualifies to run for county commissioner in Florida MORE blamed her 2016 presidential election loss on a variety of sources — including Russian hackers, the Democratic Party, former FBI Director James Comey, the media, social media and misogyny — in a lengthy interview Wednesday. 

Clinton struck a far more defiant tone in the appearance at Recode’s Code Conference than she had during her previous post-election accounts. While Clinton briefly apologized for using a private email server for official emails while she was secretary of State, much of the interview saw Clinton listing the external factors she felt led to her loss.

“I was the victim of a very broad assumption I was going to win,” Clinton said.

“I think a lot of people said, ‘We’ll get to this after the election, we aren’t going to worry about it right now,’ but that turned out to be a terrible mistake.”


Clinton started the interview defending her decision to use the email server, arguing that it was the largest issue that she had control over during the election.

Clinton said she believes that most informed people viewed the scandal as “the biggest nothing-burger ever,” even as she said the New York Times “covered it like it was Pearl Harbor.”

“Doing something others had done before was no longer acceptable in the new environment from which we found ourselves. There was no law against it, no rule against it, nothing of that sort,” she said.

“I didn’t break any rule, nobody said, ‘Don’t do this.’ I was very responsible and not at all careless.”

The use of the term “careless” was a clear call out to then-FBI Director James Comey’s July 2016 announcement that Clinton and her team had been “extremely careless” by putting sensitive information on her email server.

Clinton repeated her past criticisms of Comey, who President Trump fired earlier this month. But she expanded on her previous attacks, slamming Comey for publicly reopening the email investigation so close the election without also announcing that the FBI was investigating allegations of collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia.

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“Comey was more than happy to talk about my emails but he wouldn’t talk about investigations into the Russians,” she said.

“So people went to vote on Nov. 8 having no idea there was an active counterintelligence investigation going on.”

Clinton went onto say that the Democratic National Committee was “on the verge of insolvency” when she won the nomination, with the party saddled with “poor” data. And she blamed social media sites for not more aggressively policing inaccurate stories, and voters who held her to different standards because there had never been a woman president before.

Clinton also argued that Republicans have been more successful in investing in a broader political structure that can fund projects like political documentaries. She also accused the television station conglomerate Sinclair Broadcast Group of pushing their conservative leanings on local affiliates.

“We are not historically good at building institutions — we’ve got to get a lot better and that includes content. We have a good story to tell,” she said.

The interview continues Clinton’s trend of stepping further into the political spotlight with each post-election appearance.

After staying quiet for months after her defeat, Clinton slowly inched back out into the public eye in various public speeches starting in March, growing increasingly critical of Trump.

Clinton has made clear repeatedly that she’s “not going anywhere,” recently launching her own “Onward Together” PAC to funnel donations to progressive groups.