- REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Hillary Clinton has made crystal clear whom she blames for Russia’s interference in the 2016 US presidential election.
In an interview with USA Today published Monday night, Clinton said she thought associates of Donald Trump had an “understanding” that Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted her to lose and Trump to win.
“There certainly was communication, and there certainly was an understanding of some sort,” Clinton said.
“And there’s no doubt in my mind that there are a tangle of financial relationships between Trump and his operation with Russian money,” Clinton said, adding that she was confident the Trump campaign “worked really hard to hide their connections with Russians.”
Clinton’s remarks echo those of congressional investigators who have pointed to some top-level officials within Trump’s inner circle accused of misrepresenting their contacts with Russian diplomats and insiders tied to the Kremlin during and after the 2016 campaign.
Members of that inner circle include, among others:
- Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. And Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr.
Robert Mueller, the FBI’s special counsel, is deep into a multipronged investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin during the US election. His investigation, along with those of several congressional committees, includes explosive public and private testimony from James Comey, the FBI director Trump fired in May, and from some of Trump’s top aides.
- REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
The investigation has also put many White House staffers in the crosshairs and prompted some to retain private counsel. Kushner, Trump Jr., Manafort, and Sessions have denied any wrongdoing. Trump has repeatedly sought to discredit the Russia investigation by calling it “an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.”
Clinton, who is now promoting her new book, “What Happened,” which documents the turbulent 2016 election, acknowledged that she deserved some of the blame for her failed 2016 presidential bid and specifically criticized her campaign’s failures.
She also said that using a private email server while she was secretary of state – the move that would prompt an FBI investigation and disintegrate her campaign – was a “boneheaded mistake.”