Hillary Clinton compared the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks with the Russian interference campaign waged against the 2016 U.S. elections, calling them both attacks from foreign powers that provoked drastically different reactions from Republican administrations.
The former 2016 Democratic presidential nominee drew parallels between the attacks during an interview conducted Tuesday at the Atlantic Festival in Washington, D.C., while contrasting the subsequent responses spurred by either.
“It is the first time … that we have been attacked by a foreign power and have done nothing,” Mrs. Clinton said of the 2016 race.
“It would be like — I can’t even imagine — I mean, it’s a horrible example, but after 9/11, [if] George W. Bush said, ‘Well, I don’t have time to meet. I don’t have time to worry about this. It was terrible. We feel sorry about it. We’ll rebuild New York and the Pentagon, but we’re not going to worry about it.’ Well at a certain point, that’s what this is turning into. The evidence continues to accumulate,” she said.
The Russian government interfered in the 2016 elections, and Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign in particular, by hacking Democratic targets and subsequently leaking stolen material through outlets including WikiLeaks, among other means, U.S. officials previously concluded.
Recalling the race two years later, Mrs. Clinton claimed that a combination of factors including Russian efforts, WikiLeaks publishing stolen documents and tactics deployed by President Trump’s campaign and allies “certainly altered the outcome in enough places that we have to ask, ‘What really happened?’ “
Congress has considered legislation proposed in response to the Russian interference campaign, but lawmakers on Capitol Hill have “turned on a blind eye” on efforts to secure the U.S. elections systems, Mrs. Clinton continued, citing a specific bipartisan bill recently stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate.
“This is the kind of general threat, this attack in our nation, that should be taken seriously by everybody and should be the number one issue on our national security headline right now,” the former secretary of state added.
“We don’t know what’s happening right now. I wish we did. I wish we had a government that cared about the level of attack that is happening,” Mrs. Clinton said during the event.
The Russian government has denied hacking Democratic targets, and the White House has denied any links existing between the intrusion and Mr. Trump’s administration.
Mr. Trump has repeatedly boasted of being “tougher on Russia” than any other president. Both Mr. Trump and his predecessor, former President Barack Obama, imposed sanctions targeting Russia in response to its meddling in the 2016 race.