Hillary Clinton has blamed her stunning loss to Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election to two letters handed over to Congress by FBI Director James Comey, according to CNN. Donors who gave more than $100,000 to her campaign sat in on a conference call on Saturday, as per Politico. Two donors who participated in the call revealed that Hillary said Comey crippled her campaign by investigating the emails on her private server, according to CNN. The re-investigation delivered the final blows to her candidacy. Comey abruptly closed the investigation finding no evidence of wrongdoing. The conversation was not open to the press and lasted for about 30 minutes. Another Democrat on the conference call said Clinton described the loss as “heartbreaking.”
A member of Clinton’s finance committee who was on the call revealed to CNN that Clinton placed some of the blame on Comey, noting Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump came about through FBI letters.
The finance committee member alleged Clinton said the first letter from Comey, sent to Congress on October 28, completely stopped the momentum Clinton built after three debates and the release of Trump’s controversial Access Hollywood tape.
It was then reported that Clinton said the second letter, which came just three days before the election, did more damage than the first. According to the source, Clinton said the second letter fired up Trump supporters and gave on-the-fence voters, who would have otherwise leaned her way, doubt.
Breaking News: Hillary Clinton cast blame for her election loss on James Comey's decision to revive an email inquiry https://t.co/kAW1B5i93S— The New York Times (@nytimes) November 12, 2016
Another top donor told ABC News that Comey’s letters were “a perfect setup for failure” and added that the “donor community is 100 percent behind Hillary Clinton and the campaign.” The donor said the FBI development was too much to “overcome.” According to CNN, on the sad but hopeful call, Clinton urged supporters to move forward and keep fighting for their beliefs.
The donor on the call told CNN that Clinton acknowledged there was opposition facing her campaign that they didn’t adequately combat. However, several Democrats interviewed after Donald Trump’s election win said Clinton has fault during her time as secretary of state. The former supporters mentioned Clinton’s poor decision to create a private email server outside of government systems in 2009.
Jim Manley, a longtime Democratic strategist, tweeted about the FBI investigation on Saturday.
“If there had been no private server in the first place there would not have been an FBI investigation.”
During her concession speech on Wednesday, Clinton told her supporters that she was sorry for not being able to defeat Donald Trump.
“I know how disappointed you feel because I feel it too, and so do tens of millions of Americans who invested their hopes and dreams in this effort. This is painful, and it will be for a long time…”
Other participants on the call told CNN she urged her supporters to continue fighting against rhetoric targeted towards immigrants and other minority groups.
A source from the conference call said Hillary did not discuss in detail the factors that may have contributed to her loss. The call was a way for Clinton to thank her supporters after the difficult campaign.
According to CNN, the campaign communication’s director, Jennifer Palmieri, said in a statement Friday that “no one anticipated” losing. Palmieri said there were many factors at work.
“We didn’t blame everyone but ourselves… We acknowledged a lot of challenges we faced, plenty of mistakes made along the way, some challenges we weren’t able to overcome… What changed in the last week that made his turnout go up and our’s go down? The only thing apparent was Comey. It was one thing too many. Could not overcome it.”
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