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Clinton blames election loss partly on ‘unprecedented interference’

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Hillary Clinton blames her election loss on negative events late in the 2016 campaign, including an FBI investigation and what she implied was Russia-linked hacking of her campaign, the Democratic Party nominee said Tuesday.

In a public interview in New York, Clinton said she was “on the way to winning” in late October, before a “combination” of events influenced people “who were inclined to vote for me but got scared off.”

She cited FBI chief James Comey’s letter to Congress that his agency was probing new information about her long-investigated use of email while secretary of state from 2009-13, and Wikileaks revelations of hacked emails from Democratic Party officials.

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Clinton said the “events in the last 10 days” were the reason why she thinks her campaign lost.

She cited “unprecedented interference” by a foreign power and its leader, clearly referencing Russian President Vladimir Putin.

US intelligence agencies have said that Russia-linked hackers appeared to have targeted the Democratic Party, as well as flooding social media with negative, often false information. Clinton said there was “a lot of funny business going on.”

“[Putin] certainly interfered in our election, and it was clear he interfered to hurt me and help my opponent,” she said.

The former first lady said she was engaged in the “cathartic” activity of writing a book.

“And it’s a painful process reliving the campaign,” Clinton said.

She said that she has “absolute” responsibility for her unexpected defeat to right-wing populist Donald Trump: “I was the candidate, I was the person who was on the ballot.”

Clinton said she was “very proud” of the Hillary for America campaign and her staff and volunteers.

“It wasn’t a perfect campaign. There is no such thing,” she said.

In the campaign, Clinton lost the decisive electoral vote, in which states are weighted by population, despite winning the nationwide popular vote by 3 million votes.

The interviewer, television anchor Christiane Amanpour, noted that Trump has regularly Tweeted and talked about his electoral vote total, which exceeded most expectations.

“He should worry less about the election and my winning the popular vote than doing some other things that would be important for the country,” Clinton said.

Since the election, left-wing activists have organized against Trump, including using a #resist theme on social media.

“I’m now back to being an activist citizen,” Clinton said, “and part of the resistance.”

-dpa