In audio from a Hillary Clinton speech to donors on Thursday, the 2016 presidential candidate addressed the "unprecedented" events that happened just ahead of the election

By Lindsay Kimble
December 16, 2016 01:29 PM
Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Speaking to major campaign donors at Manhattan’s Plaza Hotel on Thursday, Hillary Clinton spoke out about what she believes the “unprecedented” impact of Russian hackers and the eleventh hour letter from FBI director James Comey regarding her use of a private email server had on her losing the presidency to Donald Trump.

In audio released by The New York Times, Clinton suggests that Comey’s Oct. 28 letter announcing additional “investigative steps” into her email server usage during her tenure as secretary of state weighed heavily on voters in key states as they cast their ballots less than two weeks later, on Nov. 8.

On Nov. 7, the director announced that the FBI would stand by their decision not to charge Clinton.

“Don’t take it from me, take it from independent analysts, take it from the Trump campaign, take it from [statistician] Nate Silver, who’s pointed out that swing state voters made their decision in the final days, breaking against me because of the FBI letter from our director Comey,” Clinton said on Thursday. “Nate Silver believes – I happen to believe this – that that letter most likely made the difference in the outcome.”

Clinton’s remarks came during an event intended to be a “thank you” for major donors, and those in attendance included husband Bill Clinton, daughter Chelsea Clinton and former running mate Tim Kaine, ABC News reported.

Clinton ultimately lost key states including Ohio, Pennsylvania and North Carolina to President-elect Trump, who secured more electoral votes. However, the 69-year-old did win the popular vote.

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On Tuesday, the former candidate also addressed the CIA’s report that Russia intervened in the election to help Trump win. She specifically cited hacks of key members of the Democratic National Committee.

“As the latest reports made clear, [Russian President] Vladimir Putin himself directed the covert cyber attacks against our electoral system, against our democracy, apparently because he has a personal beef against me,” Clinton said, explaining that Putin’s grudge against her involved Russia’s 2011 parliamentary elections and her reaction (as then-secretary of state) to alleged rigging in favor of Putin.

She added, “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.”

Then, closing out the speech, Clinton shared her hope for the country.

“Most Americans do share a vision of a hopeful, inclusive, big-hearted America,” she said. “But it is time to insure that our systems – both our economic system and our political system — actually work. And that’s what our campaign was all about. It wasn’t about one candidate or even one election, it was about the country we love and the future we need to build together. And we can’t ever give up on that.”