What Hillary said about Russian election interference is freaking out the West Wing
We strongly recommend you listen to Terry Gross’s entire interview with Hillary Clinton, broadcast today and available on demand at NPR.
Gross plumbed some territory that did not overlap with Rachel Maddow’s interview with Clinton last Wednesday, and Hillary’s discussion of Russian meddling in last year’s US presidential election should strike even more fear and paranoia into a White House already reeling from scandal:
Gross: You’ve basically said that you thought the Comey comments about the email investigation is what tipped the election.
And ultimately caused you to lose. But you’ve also said the Russian bots and Facebook pages and affinity groups and the hacking all contributed to your loss.
Yes. I believe that.
Democrats have said that they think there was Russian interference in the election, but that they’re not challenging the results of the election. As more and more information comes out about the depth of Russia’s interference in the election, do you think, at some point, that it would be legitimate to challenge the legitimacy of the election?
I don’t know if there’s any legal constitutional way to do that. I think you can raise questions. In fact, I think part of the reason Trump behaves the way he behaves is that he is a walking example of projection. Whatever he’s doing and whatever he thinks is happening he will accuse somebody else of. And there are examples during the campaign when he did just that, like when he called publicly on Russia to hack my personal emails.
He knew they were trying to do whatever they could to discredit me with emails, so there’s obviously a trail there, but I don’t know that in our system we have any means of doing that, but I just wanted to add to the point you made. There’s no doubt they influenced the election: We now know more about how they did that.
Let me just put it this way, if I had lost the popular vote but won the electoral college and in my first day as president the intelligence community came to me and said, “The Russians influenced the election,” I would’ve never stood for it. Even though it might’ve advantaged me, I would’ve said, “We’ve got to get to the bottom of this.” I would’ve set up an independent commission with subpoena power and everything else.
I want to get back to the question, would you completely rule out questioning the legitimacy of this election if we learn that the Russian interference in the election is even deeper than we know now?
No. I would not. I would say —
You’re not going to rule it out.
No, I wouldn’t rule it out.
So what are the means, like, this is totally unprecedented in every way —
What would be the means to challenge it, if you thought it should be challenged?
Basically I don’t believe there are. There are scholars, academics, who have arguments that it would be, but I don’t think they’re on strong ground. But people are making those arguments. I just don’t think we have a mechanism. You know, the Kenya election was just overturned and really what’s interesting about that — and I hope somebody writes about it, Terry — the Kenyan election was also a project of Cambridge Analytica, the data company owned by the Mercer family that was instrumental in the Brexit vote.
There’s now an investigation going on in the U.K., because of the use of data and the weaponization of information. They were involved in the Trump campaign after he got the nomination, and I think that part of what happened is Mercer said to Trump, We’ll help you, but you have to take Bannon as your campaign chief. You’ve got to take Kellyanne Conway and these other people who are basically Mercer protégées.
And so we know that there was this connection. So what happened in Kenya, which I’m only beginning to delve into, is that the Supreme Court there said there are so many really unanswered and problematic questions, we’re going to throw the election out and re-do it. We have no such provision in our country. And usually we don’t need it.
Now, I do believe we should abolish the Electoral College, because I was sitting listening to a report on the French election and the French political analyst said, “You know in our country the person with the most votes wins, unlike in yours.” And I think that’s an anachronism. I’ve said that since 2000.
We’d put the chances of Hillary Clinton making such a move as better than 50-50 for several reasons:
- Grassroots and establishment Democrats both see the Electoral College as not merely a Slavery Age anachronism but an outright threat to representative democracy and the voters’ right to a fair election.
- This bold “nuclear option” would deliver an urgently needed shock to the political system.
- For all the whining that conservatives – particularly Trymp’s base of ignorant, talking-point-parroting deplorables – are guaranteed to unleash, Democrats and liberals have stronger populist arguments.
- Most importantly, Democrats want their leaders to not merely show a spine, but to go Chicago Rules on a corrupt, treasonous, and criminal Republican Party. Detective Malone spelled it out for Elliot Ness in the 1987 film The Untouchables:
Just to be clear: the GOP is dirtier than Al Capone, and Democrats should make a policy of sending Republican policies and corruption to the morgue – and traitor enablers to Leavenworth.
The issue of radical electoral reform – starting with abolishing the electoral college, but also including motor voter, giving states the vote-by-mail option, granting instant registration for unregistered military members who pass basic training, and implementing other innovations to promote full citizen participation in elections – would solidly unite all factions of the Democratic Party and put the GOP in the position of backing a corrupt system that only benefits moneyed special interests and dogmatic superstitionists (read: Evangelical regressives) who have been using the corrupt system to take citizens’ freedoms away.
The sooner Hillary starts attacking Trump’s legitimacy, the better, we say.
The possibility that she will do so is already freaking out the West Wing, and when she does, expect a five-alarm meltdown.