Hillary Clinton declared Wednesday her campaign wasn't the reason she lost the 2016 election, rather it was "weaponized information" guided by Americans that played a key role in turning voters away from the Democratic candidate.
"I take responsibility for every decision I made, but that's not why I lost," Clinton said at the annual Code Conference in Ranchos Palos Verdes, Calif.
"The overriding issue that affected the election that I had any control over — because I had no control over the Russians — was the way of the use of my email account was turned into the greatest scandal since Lord knows when," she said. "This was the biggest 'nothing burger' ever."
"The Russians, in my opinion ... could not have known how best to weaponize that information unless they have been guided ... by Americans," Clinton said.
The 2016 Democratic presidential nominee pointed out that hacked emails of campaign chairman John Podesta were published by WikiLeaks just one hour after The Washington Post ran a story about her GOP rival Donald Trump making lewd comments about women in an old "Access Hollywood" interview.
"I think it's fair to ask, how did that actually influence the campaign, and how did they know what messages to deliver?" Clinton said. "Who told them? Who were they coordinating with, and colluding with?"
Asked by one of the moderators whether she was "leaning Trump, Clinton said, "Yes, I'm leaning Trump," adding, "I think it's pretty hard not to.
The FBI is currently looking into whether members of Trump's staff "colluded" with Russian officials.
Clinton said the "real lesson" from the election involved the "war" on information, noting the majority of content surrounding the election was "fake news" originating from Russia.
"Putin wants to bring us down," Clinton said. "It's way beyond me. .... I believe that what was happening to me was unprecedented. Over the summer we went and told anyone we could find that the Russians were messing with the election and we were basically shoo'd away. .... We couldn't get the press to cover it."
"We did not engage in false content," Clinton said. "We weren't in the same category as the other side."
In particular, she lashed out at email leaks, particularly from Wikileaks, about her paid speeches to Goldman Sachs, pointing out many men also have been paid for their speeches.
"At some point it bleeds into misogyny," Clinton said.
But she also said the loss hasn't "bowed" her.
"Look, I'm not going anywhere," she said. "I have a big stake in what happens in this country. … I am very, you know, unbowed and unbroken about what happened because I don't want it to happen to anybody else.
"I don't want it to happen to the values and the institutions I care about in America, and I think we're at a really pivotal point. Therefore I'm going to, you know, keep writing and keep talking and keep supporting people who are on the front lines of the resistance."
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