Hillary Clinton believes that GOP efforts to keep voters from the polls and a “weaponized” disinformation campaign by the Russians “likely” cost her Wisconsin in last year’s election, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee told Mother Jones.
She also challenged the validity of President Donald Trump’s win in some of her harshest comments to date about the election.
“There are lots of questions about its legitimacy,” she told reporter Ari Berman in the interview published Friday, referring to Trump’s victory.
Trump on Saturday blasted Clinton on Twitter, calling her the “biggest loser of all.” It wasn’t immediately clear why the president lashed out, but his comments appeared the day after Clinton’s Mother Jones interview was published.
Clinton said interference from Russia “was one of the major contributors to the outcome” of the election. The Russians “weaponized false information” that “wasn’t just influencing voters — it was determining the outcome,” she said.
But she said Republican efforts to whittle down the number of voters, such as increasingly tougher identification laws, may have had an even bigger impact.
“In a couple of places, most notably Wisconsin, I think it had a dramatic impact on the outcome,” the former secretary of state said. Clinton lost the state by only 23,000 votes at a time when a new voter ID law may have blocked about that many people from the polls, a study found.
“It seems likely that it cost me the election [in Wisconsin] because of the tens of thousands of people who were turned away and the margin being so small,” Clinton said.
“But I also think Wisconsin was the target for a lot of weaponized false information,” she added, which she said may have convinced people to stay home or switch their votes.
Clinton said in September that she wouldn’t “rule out” questioning the legitimacy of Trump’s win, depending on what investigations find concerning Russian interference in the election. She appeared to go even further with that sentiment in the Mother Jones interview. But Clinton has also said there are no clear paths to change election results, regardless of the findings.
During his trip to Asia this month, after a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump said he believes Putin’s claim that the Kremlin did not attempt to interfere in the 2016 election — despite the conclusions of U.S. intelligence leaders, whom the president dismissed as “hacks.”
Trump later walked back his own remarks, saying: “As to whether I believe it [Putin’s denial] or not, I’m with our agencies, especially as currently constituted.”