On a conference call today, Hillary Clinton blamed her last-minute loss on FBI Director James Comey:
Speaking with Democrats who raised over $100,000 for her failed bid for the presidency, the former secretary of state said Comey’s second letter — just three days before the election — did more damage than the first, which landed just 11 days out, according to one individual on the call, who described her tone as clearly sad but hopeful.
Clinton told participants that the campaign’s data saw her numbers plunge after the first letter, then rebounded. But the second letter, she said, awakened Donald Trump’s voters.
So Comey’s first letter, which revived suspicions that Clinton had done something wrong, hurt her, but the second letter was even more damaging. Although it theoretically cleared her, its real effect was to remind everyone that “charges” had been on the table in the first place. And of course, the nation’s headline writers played right along:
For what it’s worth, we now know that both the Trump campaign and the Clinton campaign agree that Comey’s intervention played a significant role in the election. It wasn’t Clinton’s only problem, but at this point it’s just special pleading to pretend that it wasn’t a key reason for her loss. If it weren’t for Comey, nobody would be talking about the white working class or disenchanted millennials or third-party candidates. We’d be talking instead about the implosion of the Republican Party and arguing over who Clinton should choose as her Treasury Secretary.