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'I was just dumbfounded': Hillary says Comey's intervention was the 'determining factor' in her loss because it 'drove voters from me' - instead of scouring Weiner's computer 'he could have called me up'

  • Hillary Clinton gave her first live interview since the election to NBC's Today Show on Wednesday morning
  • She said former FBI Director James Comey 'stopped my momentum' and 'drove voters from me'
  • Comey told Congress he was essentially reopening the Clinton investigation just days before the election, only to announce he'd found nothing new
  • Announcement followed the discovery of additional Clinton emails on the laptop of disgraced ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of her top aide
  • Calls Comey a 'determining factor' of her loss and says he should have phoned
  • Adds Benghazi and voter suppression to list of reasons she lost
  • Benghazi probe was a 'political football' aimed at undermining her, she says
  • Says generally of her loss to Donald Trump: 'Some of it is my own doing' 

Hillary Clinton said former FBI Director James Comey should have called her and asked about the emails on Anthony Weiner's computer in the final days of the campaign rather than writing to Congress.

Clinton retraced the litany of external causes she blames for her defeat in her first live interview since the election on the 'Today Show' on Wednesday morning.

As in her new memoir, 'What Happened,' Clinton puts Comey at the top of the list, citing his intervention, which ultimately uncovered nothing new, as the 'determining factor' in her loss to Donald Trump.

'It stopped my momentum. It drove voters from me,' Clinton said. 

The 2016 Democratic presidential nominee says she was 'stunned' when she found out that Comey was taking another look at her case. 'I was just dumbfounded. I thought what is he doing?' 

'It stopped my momentum, it drove voters from me,' Clinton said of James Comey's decision to write Congress and inform lawmakers he was taking another look at her emails, only to later say nothing later that the FBI discovered nothing of importance

'It stopped my momentum, it drove voters from me,' Clinton said of James Comey's decision to write Congress and inform lawmakers he was taking another look at her emails, only to later say nothing later that the FBI discovered nothing of importance

'This was not necessary. He could have called me up, he could have called others involved up and said, “Hey can we look at this new stuff just to make sure it's stuff we've seen?”

Clinton says she would have told him, 'Absolutely. Have at it.'

'But no, he had to write letters to Congress, which immediately were leaked,' she told Today show hosts Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer.

The FBI had come into possession of a laptop which had Clinton emails because of an unrelated investigation into disgraced ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner, who is married to top Clinton aide Huma Abedin. The two are separated.

The cache ended up including Clinton emails that had gone to Abedin that ended up on Weiner's computer, which the FBI was looking at as part of its probe into Weiner's online contacts with an underage girl.

Clinton told Lauer and Guthrie that 'for that intervention, I would have won.'

She learned about it aboard her campaign plane.  

'I was stunned to be honest. I didn’t know what to think about it because I knew there was nothing there,' she said. 'I feel very strongly that he went way beyond his role in doing what he did,' Clinton said.  

The 2016 Democratic presidential nominee says she was 'stunned' when she found out that Comey was taking another look at her case. 'I was just dumbfounded. I thought what is he doing?'

The 2016 Democratic presidential nominee says she was 'stunned' when she found out that Comey was taking another look at her case. 'I was just dumbfounded. I thought what is he doing?'

Clinton gave her first live interview since her defeat on the Today Show

Clinton gave her first live interview since her defeat on the Today Show

Clinton claimed on NBC that Comey, Russia, sexism and voter suppression were the key factors in her loss, 'in addition to the mistakes I made.'

She continues to speak out about them, despite Democratic grumbling because they are 'things I think that are just as important today as they were a year ago.'

Pushed by Lauer to give her opinion on a charge that Trump's campaign colluded with Russia, with the knowledge of the candidate, to steal the election, Clinton said she cannot know if that's true. That's why there's an ongoing Department of Justice Investigation, she stated.

Clinton did, however, bring up Trump associate Roger Stone's claim on Twitter that her campaign chair, John Podesta, would some have his time in 'the barrel,' days before WikiLeaks released his emails. 'How would he have known that?' she said. 

'If I had been elected and this had come to light … I would have stopped at nothing to make sure this never happened again to anybody,' Clinton said.

She also listed misogyny and sexism as reasons for her loss. She said she also made her own mistakes but outlined them in the book and didn't revisit them.

'Race is a much more motivating factor for voters than gender is,' she said, responding to a question posed by Guthrie about the election of Barack Obama.

After mentioning the 'mistakes that I made,' Clinton asked, 'What about endemic sexism and misogyny?  What about the unprecedented action of the FBI director? What about the interference by an adversary nation to determine or tilt the outcome of our election? What about voter suppression?' 

The media is also to blame, she argued. 'I personally believe that our press, which is such an essential part of our country, our democracy, has to take some hard look at how it covered what was the first reality TV candidate.'

A tidbit from the book that didn't get a second look in the interview: Clinton's criticism of Matt Lauer (right) in 'What Happened.' She bashed him for his handling of a candidate forum, where she felt he had been too soft on Trump and too abrasive with his questions for her 

A tidbit from the book that didn't get a second look in the interview: Clinton's criticism of Matt Lauer (right) in 'What Happened.' She bashed him for his handling of a candidate forum, where she felt he had been too soft on Trump and too abrasive with his questions for her 

A tidbit from the book that didn't get a second look in the interview: Clinton's criticism of Lauer in 'What Happened.' She bashed him for his handling of a candidate forum, where she felt he had been too soft on Trump and too abrasive with his questions for her.

Clinton wrote that she was 'ticked off' when NBC posed a question from a self-identified Republican Gulf War vet who wanted to know how she could be trusted 'when you clearly corrupted our national security?'

'NBC knew exactly what it was doing here,' Clinton says. 'The network was treating this like an episode of The Apprentice, in which Trump stars and ratings soar. Lauer had turned what should have been a serious discussion into a pointless ambush. What a waste of time.'

She goes on to deny reports that she marched off stage in a fury and broke a water glass.

'I can’t say I didn’t fantasize about shaking some sense into Lauer while I was out there,' she admits.

Lauer said this morning, by way of 'full disclosure,' that Clinton criticized him 'pretty soundly' in 'What Happened' in the second of two interview segments that she sat for on 'Today.'

Then he pivoted and asked: 'When it comes to the self-inflicted wounds…did you make enough mistakes yourself to lose the election without any of the other things you talk about?

'Well, I will say no, Matt,' Clinton responded. 'I don't think that will surprise you.' 

 

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Journalist, writer and broadcaster, based in London and Paris, her latest book is Touché: A French Woman's Take on the English. Read more articles from Agnes.

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