Digital Media

Hillary Clinton says email scandal was just one reason she lost

The former US presidential candidate says the email scandal, the rise of fake news and supposed Russian hacking are all reasons she lost the election.

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Hillary Clinton speaks at Recode's Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.

Asa Mathat/Vox Media

Former US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said Wednesday "weaponized information" was a major reason she lost the election to President Donald Trump.

When the former secretary of state and US senator was asked during Recode's Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, if she and her campaign staff could've done anything differently, Clinton said time wasn't on their side.

"The overriding issue that affected the election that I had any control over -- because I had no control over the Russians, too bad about that -- was the way the use of my email account was turned into the biggest scandal since Lord knows when," she said. "This was the biggest 'nothing burger' ever."

The Democratic presidential nominee's hourlong chat dissecting tech and politics seemed more like a therapy session as Clinton is back in the public eye discussing what she's been doing since her defeat. Meanwhile, issues Clinton said she struggled with during the campaign -- fake news and Russian hacking -- continue to make headlines. Social media giant Facebook recently said its ramping up its fight against fake news by targeting coordinated campaigns spreading falsehoods to sway political opinions, and US investigations into Russia's interference in the presidential election are ongoing.

Clinton said Wednesday it was a "maddening" time during the home stretch of the election, even though various polls overwhelmingly had her as the favorite to win the presidency. Clinton said she was concerned about the impact "fake news" on social media platforms would have on voters.   

"That really influenced the information that people were relying on," she said. "I believe that what was happening to me was unprecedented."    

Clinton said her opponents during the election invested enormously into generating fake news stories and delivering content in a very personalized way above and below the radar. She added that a vast majority of the fake news surrounding her campaign came from Russia. 

"The forces that we are up against are not just interested in influencing our elections and our politics," she said. "They are going after our economy and they are going after our unity as a nation."   

Clinton was also asked why she delivered paid speeches for Goldman Sachs, which were eventually leaked by WikiLeaks. Clinton took offense, saying she gave many speeches to a wide range of groups from health care executives to camp counselors. She added that the speeches mostly talked about her role advising then-President Barack Obama with the hunt for Osama bin Laden. 

She also pointed out that many men have been paid for their speeches, too.

"Men got paid for the speeches they made. I got paid for the speeches I made," she said. "I thought it was unfairly used. At some point it bleeds into misogyny."

Clinton said she takes "responsibility for every decision I made," but added it's important to recognize there's a war on how information is being distributed in America. 

"I was the victim of the very broad assumption I was going to win," she said. "I never believed it, I always thought it would be a close election."

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