Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, said that she would call the results of the 2016 presidential election into question if the investigation into Russian tampering with the election that put Donald Trump in the White House shows the interference was “deeper” than is now known. The former United States secretary of state made her remarks in an interview Monday on the National Public Radio Fresh Air program.
During her current series of interviews to promote her new campaign memoir What Happened, Clinton has repeatedly pointed to the covert Russian campaign to interfere with the election — a campaign that U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded was designed to get Trump elected — as a key factor in her shock defeat last November 8.
Although Clinton received nearly 3 million more votes than Trump, she became only the fifth presidential candidate in U.S. history to lose the presidency in the Electoral College despite being the “people’s choice.” George W. Bush also edged former Vice President Al Gore in the 2000 election by an Electoral College vote despite losing the popular vote. The previous three vote-total winners to lose in the Electoral College all came in the 19th century.
In a CNN interview last week, Clinton said that the scandal over Russian interference and the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with the Russians in the election-meddling operation is “probably bigger than Watergate.”
But Monday’s NPR interview appears to be the first time Clinton has said publicly that she would be open to questioning or even challenging the “legitimacy” of Trump’s election. However, she added that she believes that no Constitutional mechanism exists for such an election challenge “in our system.”
Read the entire transcript of Clinton’s Monday NPR interview by visiting this link. Alternatively, listen to the interview with Clinton conducted by NPR personality Terry Gross by clicking on the audio file below.
“Would you completely rule out questioning the legitimacy of this election if we learn that the Russian interference in the election is even deeper than we know now?” Gross asked Clinton in the interview.
“No,” Clinton responded. “I would not…. I wouldn’t rule it out.”
Even though Clinton said that the U.S. lacks a “mechanism” to challenge election results, even in the case of demonstrated tampering by a foreign power, she pointed to the recent presidential election in Kenya, which was overturned by Kenya’s Supreme Court due to “irregularities and illegalities,” noting that the political data firm Cambridge Analytica was hired by that country’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, who won reelection in the now-nullified election.
Cambridge Analytica also worked for the Trump campaign and is suspected by some experts of being the “key” to the Russia collusion scandal by — the theory holds — helping Russian hackers and propagandists zero in on specific voting regions in the U.S., targeting those areas with anti-Clinton fake news stories on social media, and possibly other covert measures as well.
Cambridge Analytica is backed financially by billionaire Robert Mercer, who was also a leading financial backer of the Trump campaign — and has helped fund the Trump-supporting online “news” site Breitbart.
Former Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn — a key figure in the Trump-Russia investigation — held an advisory role with the data firm, and now-departed Trump Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, who is also the CEO of Breitbart, sat on the Cambridge Analytica board of directors.
Trump’s son-in-law and top White House advisor Jared Kushner ran Trump’s data operation in the 2016 campaign and was responsible for hiring Cambridge Analytica to target voters.
Cambridge Analytica was also heavily involved in the United Kingdom’s Brexit campaign last year — on the side of the pro-Brexit forces, which ultimately won a surprising victory in that referendum.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the former FBI Director now leading the Trump-Russia investigation, has zeroed in on Facebook and social media, issuing subpoenas to Facebook for information on how Russian advertising buyers may have targeted specific individuals with fabricated news stories designed to falsely discredit Clinton.
Meanwhile, Trump himself continues to express doubts that the Russian operation to influence the election in his favor existed at all.
[Featured Image By Carolyn Kaster/AP Images]