FBI director James Comey’s November 6th announcement clearing Hillary Clinton (again) of criminal wrongdoing in the bureau’s investigation into her private email server was to blame for her humiliating loss to Donald Trump, the prominent grandmother told Democratic donors on Saturday.
“There are lots of reasons why an election like this is not successful,” Clinton said on conference call with her national finance committee. “But our analysis is that Jim Comey’s letter raising doubts that were groundless [and] baseless—and proven to be—stopped our momentum.”
Comey wrote two letters to Congress in the days before the presidential election, one on October 28 announcing that new evidence had been discovered relevant to the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s emails, and a second on November 6 to declare that the new evidence did not change the bureau’s initial decision, announced in July, not pursue charges against the former secretary of state.
Clinton suggested that Comey’s second letter, which effectively exonerated her of criminal wrongdoing for the second time in four months, mobilized angry Trump voters and likely cost her the election. The campaign was able to weather the political storm after Comey’s first letter, Clinton said, but the second letter announcing no change in the FBI’s decision had a significant impact on turnout.
“Our analysis shows, in our opinion, that just as we were back on an upward trajectory the second letter from Comey saying what we knew — that essentially there was no there there — was a real motivator for Trump voters,” Clinton said on the call.
Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta has also blamed James Comey, as well as the media, for swinging the election to Trump. In a conference call with donors on Friday, Podesta referred to the FBI director as the man “who we think may have cost us the election.”
There are several ways Clinton could have avoided any political fallout from a FBI investigation. For example, she could have decided not to take the unprecedented, unauthorized step of conducting government business over a private email server as secretary of state.
Yep, if only Comey hadn't set up that server, deleted emails and lied about it for years … https://t.co/CWgDB197OO
— Toby Harshaw (@tobinharshaw) November 11, 2016
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