Clin­ton camp: FBI di­rec­tor’s let­ter cost her elec­tion

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY VA­LERIE RICHARD­SON

Clin­ton cam­paign man­ager Robby Mook on Sun­day blamed the Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee’s loss pri­mar­ily on the let­ters from FBI Di­rec­tor James B. Comey re­gard­ing her se­cret email server.

Mr. Mook said the let­ters — par­tic­u­larly the Oct. 28 let­ter to Congress say­ing the FBI was re­view­ing newly emerged emails — were an “in­cred­i­bly pow­er­ful force” that de­pressed turnout among un­de­cided vot­ers as well as the women and mil­len­nial sec­tors key to Hil­lary Clin­ton’s cam­paign strat­egy.

“At the very end of the race, there were prob­a­bly more un­de­cid­eds than in a lot of races be­fore. We do think that be­cause the di­rec­tor of the FBI sent two let­ters in what was an un­prece­dented in­ter­ven­tion in the elec­tion, a to­tal breach of pro­to­col — yes, I think a lot of those un­de­cid­eds broke against us,” Mr. Mook said.

“In fact, I would ar­gue that with­out those let­ters, we would have won those, and that’s why we would have won the elec­tion,” said Mr. Mook on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

The big­gest dis­ap­point­ment for the Clin­ton cam­paign may have been the lower-than-ex­pected sup­port from women vot­ers given that Mrs. Clin­ton had heav­ily lever­aged her po­si­tion as the na­tion’s first ma­jor party fe­male pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee.

“We were ex­pected to per­form bet­ter with sub­ur­ban women in par­tic­u­lar,” Mr. Mook. “We saw those num­bers a lot stronger than what hap­pened on Elec­tion Day. We do think that was be­cause of the Comey let­ter.

“We saw a lot of young peo­ple go to third-party can­di­dates. We think the let­ter had a lot to do with that as well,” he said. “So there were a num­ber of rea­sons for [her loss], but lead among them, in my view, would be that let­ter from Di­rec­tor Comey.”

Trump cam­paign man­ager Kellyanne Con­way dis­agreed, say­ing in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal polls showed Repub­li­can nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump’s num­bers surg­ing even be­fore the re­lease of the let­ter.

She cited a rally at which Mrs. Clin­ton down­played the im­pact of the email in­ves­ti­ga­tion, say­ing that vot­ers’ opin­ions on it were “al­ready baked in the cake.”

“At the time they said that, maybe it was wish­ful think­ing, maybe they were be­ing com­pletely truth­ful. And now it’s sup­posed to be the Comey let­ter,” said Ms. Con­way.

She said Mr. Trump’s mes­sage to vot­ers had the big­gest im­pact on the out­come, not “a let­ter late in the game,” al­though she agreed it “prob­a­bly had an ef­fect on some vot­ers.”

“But if you want to reach sub­ur­ban women, and the ques­tion is, you’re the first fe­male run­ning for pres­i­dent as the party nom­i­nee, then why is the mes­sage not re­ally con­nected to them?” said Ms. Con­way.

Mr. Mook also agreed that “many Democrats” wanted to see Mr. Trump nom­i­nated be­cause he was seen as a weaker can­di­date than Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Repub­li­can.

“Ob­vi­ously our opin­ions on that changed as he pro­gressed through the pri­mary and was very suc­cess­ful by any stan­dard,” he said.

He also took is­sue with Ms. Con­way’s de­scrip­tion of Mrs. Clin­ton as a “joy­less” can­di­date.

“I con­test that. We had a lot of fun on this cam­paign. I’m a joy­ful guy. Hil­lary’s re­ally joy­ful,” Mr. Mook said.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Kellyanne Con­way dis­puted that FBI Di­rec­tor James B. Comey cost Hil­lary Clin­ton the elec­tion, say­ing polls showed Don­ald Trump ahead prior to Elec­tion Day.

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