Hillary Clinton spoke to Goldman Sachs for the very simple reason that she got paid, the former Democratic presidential candidate told an audience at Recode’s annual coding conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.
Clinton took the opportunity to blame numerous players for her Nov. 8 election defeat, and also to justify her use of the term “vast right-wing conspiracy” all the way back in 1998. The “conspiracy” against her, she suggested, is still alive.
“The Russians … could not have known how best to weaponize that information unless they had been … guided by Americans. And guided by people who had polling and data and information.”
Clinton, speaking to Recode founders Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher, said she didn’t lose because of her own choices or flaws — such as taking money to speak to big banks, or her odd failure to substantially campaign in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan.
“I take responsibility for every decision I made, but that’s not why I lost,” said Clinton, blaming Russia, “weaponized information,” the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, and many more players.
Clinton blamed propaganda and “content” that was used by President Donald Trump’s campaign and allies to influence voters in a covert type of manner.
Clinton blamed “the other side” for using “content farms” and fake news to target her.
“How about lies?” said Mossberg, to applause from the liberal-leaning audience.
While Clinton told Mossberg and Swisher she did not engage in lies during her campaign, she said Trump's side did. Clinton also raised the theory that "1,000 Russian agents" were working every day to make sure that distorted "content" was appearing before internet users. Clinton did not cite her source for the claim.
Another bizarre claim Clinton made was that Trump advisers Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway were chosen to run the final months of the Trump campaign because of the urging of Cambridge Analytica, which is owned by billionaire Rebecca Mercer and family. The Mercers said they would "wed" their data with the RNC and Trump's data if the hires were made.
Bannon and Conway did not immediately return a request from LifeZette to respond.
Clinton also blamed the Democratic National Committee for being in poor shape, after eight years of what should have been salad days for the party, given former President Barack Obama's tenure.
"I set up my campaign, and we have our own data operation," said Clinton. "I get the nomination. So I'm now the nominee of the Democratic party. I inherit nothing from the Democratic party. I mean, it was bankrupt. It was on the verge of insolvency. Its data was mediocre to poor, nonexistent, wrong. I had to inject money into it."
The question of data was on Clinton's mind, quite a bit, and not just because she was at a coding conference. Clinton laid out a three-part conspiracy in which weaponized information was coordinated on Facebook and elsewhere. Clinton came very close to suggesting Cambridge Analytica coordinated with the Russians.
The three-part conspiracy started, Clinton said, when the Russians stole information from the Democrats and Clinton's campaign manager, John Podesta.
The next step was coordination, Clinton said. There was no possible way, Clinton said, that the Russians would know how to distribute the information in the most damaging way, without American help. (Clinton brushed aside the fact that WikiLeaks began leaking the information on Oct. 7, because she said WikiLeaks is the same thing as the Russian secret service.)
"The Russians, in my opinion, and based on the intel and counterintel people I've talked to, could not have known how best to weaponize that information unless they had been guided," said Clinton. "Guided by Americans. And guided by people who had polling and data and information."
Then came FBI Director James Comey's decision to order a new investigation into Clinton's email server on Oct. 28. Clinton had gotten into trouble in 2015 for running State Department emails through her private server.
Clinton said Comey acted upon false Russian information to order the new investigation just before the election.
Clinton said she is "leaning" in the direction of blaming Trump for the coordination and the fake news.
"I think it's pretty hard not to," said Clinton.