Former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton told donors at a Dec. 15 fundraiser in New York that she did not lose the presidency through any fault of her own. Instead, she said that it was the FBI's renewed investigation into her emails and Russian President Vladimir Putin's alleged grudge against her that won President-elect Donald Trump the White House.
"Swing-state voters made their decisions in the final days breaking against me because of the FBI letter from Director [James] Comey," Clinton said at the Manhattan event, according to The New York Times.
Clinton was referring to the letter Comey sent to Congress, explaining the bureau had found a new cache of emails linked to Clinton and would investigate them for anything incriminating. Days before the election, he announced the emails had no relevant information.
Clinton, who won the popular vote by nearly 3 million ballots, first publicly attributed her surprise loss to Comey's letters in the days following the Nov. 8 election.
"Our analysis is that Comey's letter raising doubts that were groundless, baseless, proven to be, stopped our momentum," she said in a Nov. 12 conference call, reports The Washington Post.
At the fundraiser, she also praised the Senate for its plans to investigate whether Russia meddled in the election and said that Putin was another factor that derailed her campaign.
"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," she added, chalking up the bad blood to a comment she made as secretary of state in 2001, in which she said that the Russians rigged their parliamentary election that year.
Clinton's comments marked the first time she publicly alleged the leaked emails involving her, her campaign, and the Democratic National Committee damaged her shot at the presidency.
"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," Clinton told the attendees. "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."