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Hillary Clinton says Comey was 'the determining factor' in 2016 loss

Dylan Stableford
Senior Editor

Hillary Clinton says then-FBI Director James Comey’s decision to inform Congress that he had reopened the federal investigation into her use of a private email server on the eve of the 2016 presidential election was the “determining factor” in her loss.

“I was just dumbfounded,” Clinton said in an interview with NBC’s “Today” show on Wednesday. “I thought, ‘What is he doing? The investigation was closed. I know there’s no new information.’ I had certainly given everything of any relevance to them.”

In early July 2016, Comey announced that the FBI’s probe into Clinton’s emails had closed, concluding that while the former secretary of state and her colleagues “were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information,” there was no clear evidence they broke the law.

But on Oct. 28, 2016, Comey sent a letter to Congress alerting lawmakers that the FBI had reopened its investigation after the discovery of emails on a laptop belonging to Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s disgraced former husband, Anthony Weiner. Nine days later, on Nov. 6, Comey sent a second letter to Congress saying that the new emails did not contain any new information.

In her new campaign memoir, “What Happened,” which was published Tuesday, Clinton writes that she felt Comey “shivved” her with his decision.

“This was not necessary,” Clinton said Wednesday. “He could have called me up. He could have called others involved up and said, ‘Hey, can we look at this new stuff to make sure it’s stuff we’ve seen before?‘”

Had he done that, the former Democratic nominee said she would’ve happily obliged.

“Absolutely, have at it,” Clinton said. “But no, he had to write letters to Congress, which were immediately leaked. So I feel very strongly that he went way beyond his role in doing what he did.”

In an interview with NPR, Clinton said that Comey’s letters sucked the air out of her campaign.

“My momentum was stopped. My numbers dropped,” she said. “We were scrambling to try to put it back together, and we ran out of time.”

In the book, Clinton places blame for her loss on many factors, including the Russian intervention, Bernie Sanders, the media, Donald Trump’s reality show-like run and her own campaign.

But on “Today,” Clinton was unequivocal in assessment.

“I think the determining factor was the intervention by Comey,” she said. “Absent that, I believe and I think the evidence shows, I would have won.”

“Did you make enough mistakes yourself to lose the election without any of the other things you talk about?” NBC’s Matt Lauer asked.

“I will say no,” Clinton replied.

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