Clinton BLAMES FBI Director for election loss
Audience listen as musician James Taylor performs at a Clinton campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire. - Reuters, U.S. November 6, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder- AFP
"There a lots of reasons why an election like this is not successful," Mrs. Clinton said
Hillary Clinton blames her surprise election loss on FBI Director James B. Comey, she said in a conference call with donors on Saturday.
In the 30-minute phone call - the most extensive commentary she's given since Tuesday's election - Clinton said that Comey's initial letter, on October 28th, stopped the momentum that her campaign had gained following the release of Donald Trump's controversial 'Access Hollywood' footage.
"There a lots of reasons why an election like this is not successful," Mrs. Clinton said, according to a donor who relayed the remarks to the New York Times. "Our analysis is that Comey's letter raising doubts that were groundless, baseless, proven to be, stopped our momentum."
A second letter, on November 6th, again cleared Clinton of any wrongdoing.
However, Clinton noted, the outcome hurt her popularity with voters - particularly white suburban women - who were receptive to Trump's allegations that Clinton was protected by a "rigged system", hurting her poll number in several key states.
"We dropped, and we had to keep really pushing to regain our advantage, which going into last weekend we had," she allegedly told donors. "
"We were once again up in all but two of the battleground states, and we were up considerably in some that we ended up losing."
"And we were feeling like we had to put it back together," she said. "Trump spent the last four days of this campaign engaged in a nonstop attack on me personally, and the result is the result."
An internal memo sent to members of the Clinton campaign which was obtained by the New York Times notes that Comey's first letter "helped to depress turnout among Hillary's supporters" and made her e-mails "the focus of the campaign for half of the remaining 10 days."
The memo also notes that - after record early-voting - there was a "significant drop" in Election Day turn-out, particularly in big cities such as Detroit, Philadelphia and Milwaukee.
"In the end, late-breaking developments in the race proved one hurdle too many for us to overcome," the memo concludes. Some Democrats, however, have distanced themselves from Clinton's comments, saying that she is also at least partly to blame for the electoral loss.
"If there had been no private server in the first place there would not have been an FBI investigation," Democratic strategist Jim Manley said on Twitter.
Several participants on the call told CNN that Clinton was not particularly critical of Trump, but that she advocated continued resistance to any inflammatory rhetoric targeting immigrants and others.
As Clinton spoke with donors, Trump met with his transition team in New York City to begin the work of selecting and appointing 15 cabinet-level positions and thousands of presidential appointees.
On Saturday, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said that the announcement of Trump's chief of staff was "imminent", adding that a speech on his plans would come in the next few days, and that a 'victory tour' of the United States was a possibility.
In an interview with 60 minutes due to be aired on Sunday, Trump also said that he would continue to use Twitter, albeit moderately.
"I'm going to be very restrained, if I use it at all, I'm going to be very restrained," Trump said.