- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that she would have won the presidential election but for nagging problems with her secret emails and those of her campaign chief, and she declared herself part of the “resistance” opposing President Trump.

Shunning the role of gracious loser, Mrs. Clinton said she was on track for victory, having overcome a “barrage” of attacks, but could not surmount the late revelation by FBI Director James B. Comey that he was reopening — then quickly closed again — a criminal probe into her secret use of a private email server.

She also said Russia worked to defeat her by orchestrating the leak of campaign chief John Podesta’s emails, which served as a distraction and an embarrassment in the campaign’s final weeks.

“If the election had been on Oct. 27, I’d be your president,” Mrs. Clinton said in an appearance at the Women for Women International Conference in New York.

Mrs. Clinton said she took the blame for her loss but was “on the way to winning” until Mr. Comey’s late involvement in the form of a letter to Congress alerting the country that emails newly obtained from top Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s computer were being investigated for possible relevance to the closed case.

She cited data analyst Nate Silver in saying she had the election sewn up in October.

SEE ALSO: Hillary Clinton should be grateful to FBI’s James Comey, Donald Trump tweets

“It wasn’t a perfect campaign; there is no such thing. But I was on the way to winning until a combination of Jim Comey’s letter on Oct. 28 and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me but got scared off. The evidence for that intervening event is, I think is compelling and persuasive.”

Mrs. Clinton also said she felt Russia played a coordinated role in the election. She pointed to Obama administration conclusions that Russian agents orchestrated the hack and leaking of Democratic National Committee emails early in the summer and then of Mr. Podesta’s emails late in the campaign.

The former first lady, senator and secretary of state said the timing of the Podesta leaks appeared to her to be an effort to distract the country from a lewd “Access Hollywood” tape that showed Mr. Trump bragging in vulgar terms about sexual abuse of women.

“Ask yourself this: Within an hour or two of the ‘Hollywood Access’ tape, the Russian theft of John Podesta’s emails hit WikiLeaks. What a coincidence. You just can’t make this stuff up,” she said.

Mrs. Clinton laid blame on Russian President Vladimir Putin, with whom she had a rocky relationship during her time at the State Department. She seemed to suggest a meeting of goals between the Trump team and Mr. Putin.

“He certainly interfered in our election, and it was clear he interfered to hurt me and helped my opponent,” Mrs. Clinton said. “If you chart my opponent and his campaign’s statements, they quite coordinated with the goals that leader who shall remain nameless had.”

Republicans said Mrs. Clinton was missing the point of the election.

“The American people did not support her disastrous policies or her candidacy,” said Chase Jennings, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee. “If Democrats hope to have any chance of rebuilding their decimated party, supposed leaders like Clinton should spend less time deflecting blame and more time accepting it.”

Election analysts say Mrs. Clinton lost because she failed to focus on the industrial states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. Each had gone Democratic for a generation in presidential elections but supported Mr. Trump.

Mrs. Clinton is writing a book about the campaign, and she said it was painful to relive her stumbles.

She also said she is part of the “resistance” movement that has emerged to protest Mr. Trump at every turn.

“I’m now back to being an activist citizen and part of the resistance,” Mrs. Clinton said in what appeared to be a hint of future criticism of Mr. Trump.

Mrs. Clinton made her appearance just days after former President Barack Obama broke his postelection seclusion by making several public appearances around the 100-day mark of Mr. Trump’s tenure.

Mr. Obama offered several jabs at his successor, particularly his fondness of Twitter.

Mrs. Clinton offered caution about Mr. Trump’s declaration that he would be willing to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un if certain preconditions are met.

Mrs. Clinton said that was a break with long-standing U.S. policy that North Korea was a regional responsibility and meeting one-on-one would reward the country’s dangerous behavior.

The former first lady leveled the same criticism during the 2008 presidential campaign when Mr. Obama said he would meet with the leaders of North Korea, Iran, Syria, Venezuela and Cuba without any preconditions.

Mrs. Clinton mentioned several times Tuesday that she won the popular vote despite her Electoral College loss.

The president has vocally disputed losing the popular vote, attributing it to voter fraud. He said as recently as last week that he “would still beat Hillary in the popular vote.”

“Remember, I did win more than 3 million votes than my opponent,” Mrs. Clinton said.

She said, though, that Mr. Trump should focus on bigger issues.

“If he wants to tweet about me, I’m happy to be the diversion. We’ve got lots of other things to worry about. 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,” she said.

• Sally Persons can be reached at spersons@washingtontimes.com.

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