Hillary Clinton on Saturday blamed FBI Director James B. Comey for her defeat in the presidential elections. While talking to top party donors in a phone call, the Democrat said that Comey's announcement about a new inquiry into her use of private email server affected the polls.
The remarks were her first since she conceded the race to Donald Trump early Wednesday. Clinton said Comey’s decision to send a letter to Congress about the inquiry 11 days before Election Day reignited the controversy that prevented her from ending the campaign with an optimistic closing argument.
“There are lots of reasons why an election like this is not successful,” Clinton reportedly said in the phone call that was leaked to media. But, she added: “Our analysis is that Comey’s letter raising doubts that were groundless, baseless, proven to be, stopped our momentum.”
Clinton said a second letter from Comey two days before Election Day had caused even more damage despite clearing her and reiterating that she should not face any criminal charges for the use of her private emails to handle classified information. In the second letter, Comey said an examination of a new trove of emails, which had been found on the computer of Anthony D. Weiner, the estranged husband of one of her top aides, had not caused him to change his earlier conclusion.
Her campaign said that despite Clinton being cleared of criminal behavior, the move only revived Trump's claim that the Democratic candidate was being protected by a rigged system.
Trump picked on the letter, telling voters in Nevada the Saturday before Election Day that “the F.B.I. has reopened its criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton,” and that the matter “would grind government to a halt” should Clinton win the White House.
The Republican, who had a surprise win Wednesday, is scheduled to take office in January. Protests have been ongoing in the U.S. over his victory with calls for his impeachment.