Hillary Clinton Says Russian Hack Was Result of Putin's "Personal Beef"
"This is not just an attack on me and my campaign... This is an attack against our country."
Hillary Clinton responded to the allegations that Russia meddled in the U.S. presidential campaign, telling her donors on Thursday that the cyberattack was a result of Vladmir Putin's "personal beef" against her.
The former Democratic presidential candidate spoke to a group of her top campaign donors at Manhattan's Plaza Hotel on Thursday night in a bid to provide them with answers as to how they lost to Donald Trump on Nov. 8.
During a previous donor call days after the election, Clinton blamed her election loss on FBI Director James Comey and his decision to reopen the investigation into her emails 11 days before Election Day. On Thursday night, according to the New York Times, Clinton eyed a combination of Comey's announcement and the suspected hacking by Russia.
“Swing-state voters made their decisions in the final days breaking against me because of the FBI letter from Director Comey,” said Clinton about the close races she lost in key battleground states.
She said the Russians sought to "undermine our democracy" through the cyberattacks aimed at Democrats, according to the Times, and that the hacking of campaign chairman John Podesta's emails were a result of Putin having a personal agenda.
“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,” said Clinton, referencing her comments that Russia's 2011 elections were rigged.
She then said the press is "finally catching up to the facts, which we desperately tried to present to them during the last months of the campaign.”
Adding, “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.”
On Thursday, White House officials said it was "fact" that Russian hacking helped Trump's campaign, with administration officials saying the president-elect must have known of Russia's interference. Obama vowed action against Russia Friday and is set to hold a news conference at the White House in the afternoon.
"Some of it may be explicit and publicized, some of it may not be," Obama told NPR's Morning Edition of the consequences that will be enacted against Russia. "But Mr. Putin is well aware of my feelings about this, because I spoke to him directly about it."
No proof has yet been offered for any of the accusations and the Kremlin rejected the claim of Putin's involvement, with Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissing it as "laughable nonsense."
"They should either stop talking about that or produce some proof at last," Peskov said on Friday, according to Russian state news agency Tass. "Otherwise it all begins to look unseemly."