Hillary Clinton said on Thursday that the hacking attacks carried out by Russia against her campaign and the Democratic National Committee were intended “to undermine our democracy” and were ordered by about Vladimir V. Putin “because he has a personal beef against me.”
Speaking to a group of donors in Manhattan, Mrs. Clinton said that Mr. Putin, the Russian president, had never forgiven her for the accusation she made in 2011, when she was secretary of state, that parliamentary elections his country held that year were rigged.
“Putin publicly blamed me for the outpouring of outrage by his own people, and that is the direct line between what he said back then and what he did in this election,” Mrs. Clinton said.
It is the first time Mrs. Clinton has publicly addressed the impact of the hacks since the intelligence community concluded that they were specifically aimed at harming her campaign.
“Make no mistake, as the press is finally catching up to the facts, which we desperately tried to present to them during the last months of the campaign,” Mrs. Clinton told the group, which collectively poured roughly $1 billion into her effort. “This is not just an attack on me and my campaign, although that may have added fuel to it. This is an attack against our country. We are well beyond normal political concerns here. This is about the integrity of our democracy and the security of our nation.”
In her remarks, she endorsed the proposal of a bipartisan group of senators to investigate the hacking and said the inquiry should be modeled on the commission set up after the Sept. 11 attacks. “The public deserves to know exactly what happened, and why, in order for us to prevent future attacks on our systems, including our electoral system,” she said.
Mrs. Clinton said the hacking was one of two “unprecedented” events that led to her defeat. The other was the release of a letter by James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, shortly before the election disclosing new questions about emails handled by her private server. The letter, she said, cost her close races in several battleground states.
“Swing-state voters made their decisions in the final days breaking against me because of the letter from Director Comey,” she said.
Mrs. Clinton first talked about the impact of Mr. Comey’s letters in a conference call with donors a few days after the election. Since the election she has kept a low profile, mostly appearing on social media in photographs by passers-by who have spotted her walking her dogs near her home in Chappaqua, N.Y.
Russia’s unprecedented intervention in the United States election came amid more than United States-Russia tension and Donald J. Trump’s praise of Vladimir V. Putin, the Russian president. It also coincided with a growing belief, in Moscow, that Russia faced an imminent threat in Hillary Clinton’s candidacy.
Mrs. Clinton is viewed in Moscow as innately hostile to Russia. Widely held conspiracy theories portray her as seeking to foment unrest that will return Russia to the chaos and depression of the 1990s. Even many government technocrats view her with suspicion that at times verges on paranoia.
Read full report at The New York Times