Hillary Clinton told CNN's Christiane Amanpour during an event on Tuesday that she believed she was "on the way to winning" the 2016 presidential election until the FBI announced 11 days before it that it was revisiting the investigation into her use of a private email server.
The former secretary of state said that while she took "absolute personal responsibility" for her defeat, "a combination of Jim Comey's letter on October 28 and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me and got scared off."
On October 28, Comey, the director of the FBI, wrote a letter to Congress saying that the FBI had learned of "the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent" to the investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, which had been closed in July.
The letter was promptly released by Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the chair of the House oversight committee, and dominated the headlines of major media outlets in the days leading up to the election.
"As Nate Silver has concluded, if the election had been on October 27, I would be your president," Clinton said.
Silver, the editor-in-chief of FiveThirtyEight, a data-journalism website, has argued that Comey's letter cost Clinton the election. Clinton's poll numbers dropped 3 points after Comey sent the letter, Silver noted — a last-minute slip that political scientists attributed to "the Comey effect," according to The New York Times.
Silver added that on Election Day, Clinton lost Florida, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan by less than 1 percentage point each.
In late July, WikiLeaks began publishing emails from Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta. The self-described transparency organization continued releasing the emails from his account, believed to be hacked by Russian actors, in batches through October.
The US intelligence community concluded in January that the hacking campaign had been directed by Russian President Vladimir Putin to undermine Clinton's candidacy and boost President Donald Trump.
The evidence that those two "intervening events" were carried out to harm her candidacy was "compelling and persuasive," Clinton told Amanpour on Tuesday. But she said she was proud of her campaign for overcoming an "enormous barrage of negativity, of false equivalence, of so much else."
Clinton has said women's rights are "the unfinished business of the 21st century." On Tuesday, Amanpour asked whether Clinton believed "sexism, misogyny, and inequity" existed in the United States and whether she was the victim of it during the election.
"I do think it played a role," Clinton replied. "It is real, and it is very much a part of the landscape politically, socially, and economically." But she said "other things" played a role as well.
"Every day that goes by, we learn more about the unprecedented interference, including from a foreign power whose leader is not a member of my fan club," she said, alluding to Russia and Putin.
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