Hillary Clinton said she lost last year’s presidential election because of “unprecedented actions” of former FBI Director James Comey, who told lawmakers just 11 days before Election Day that he was reopening an investigation into her private email server.
“I was just dumbfounded," Clinton said on TODAY Wednesday in her first live interview since her November loss.
"I thought, what is he doing? The investigation is closed. I knew there was no new information. And then it became clear. This was not necessary.”
Clinton called Comey's Oct. 28 letter to Congress a “determining factor” in her loss to President Donald Trump and said she felt strongly the former FBI head "went way beyond his role" when he decided to reintroduce the probe.
“Absent that, I believe and I think the evidence shows, I would have won,” she said.
Clinton's appearance in Studio 1A came on the occasion of her newly released book, “What Happened," a frank and candid assessment of last year’s presidential campaign and, in her own words, "the mistakes we made” that cost her the White House.
In the book, Clinton addresses Russia's interference in the election, but stops short of accusing the Trump campaign of colluding with the Kremlin.
But part of the book's aim, she told Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie, was to lay out “all the information that I think should trouble Americans” about the meddling of Russian President Vladimir Putin, a longtime Clinton foe, and his aides.
“We know there was a lot of interesting coincidences, if you will, between what people associated with Trump were saying at the time, and what later came to pass,” she said, pointing to emails from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta that were leaked to the public.
“The Russians hacked those emails. They stole them,” Clinton said.
She also pointed out that a number of developments about Russia’s role in the election have surfaced since she finished the book.
Among them were revelations that during the campaign Trump’s oldest son met with a Russian lawyer who claimed to have damaging information on Clinton.
That meeting gained renewed interest last week when Trump Jr. told Senate investigators he attended the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower in New York to learn about Clinton’s “fitness” to be president.
Clinton called the explanation "ridiculous."
“It’s another absurd lie to cover up what really was going on, which I hope we finally uncover and understand," she said.
While in her book, Clinton takes plenty of shots at Trump’s actions on the campaign, she was slightly more restrained in her interview.
“I respect the fact that he is the president. I just wish he were the president for all Americans,” she said. "I wish he was not engaging in a lot of the scapegoating and behavior in office that I think is bad for this county.”