WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton criticized Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, telling a packed theater Monday night in the nation’s capital that the U.S. media “got played” and joking that she ran against both Donald Trump and Vladmir Putin last year.
Clinton, who is on a media tour promoting her new book, “What Happened,” was introduced at the event to thunderous applause as having won “three million more votes than the Republican nominee.” Trump now lives in the White House, but Washington remains a Democratic stronghold in which more than 90 percent of the district voting for Clinton last year.
On stage, Clinton recapped the “infamous” day last October when the Obama administration announced Russia was behind the hacks of the Democratic National Committee, the Washington Post broke the “Access Hollywood” tape story, and Clinton’s campaign chairman’s emails began getting released on WikiLeaks. The U.S. intelligence community later accused the Kremlin of feeding the emails to WikiLeaks.
“John Podesta’s emails were stolen — I hate the word ‘hacked,’ they were stolen,” Clinton said of her former campaign chairman. She sarcastically called it “such an amazing coincidence” that WikiLeaks dumped his emails within an hour of the Washington Post publishing the tape of Trump boasted about groping women. And she insisted that people close to Trump “certainly” knew about Russia’s interference.
She said that the Russians and their allies — “whoever they turn out to be” — sent the press on a “wild goose chase” over Podesta’s emails because releasing them “created the illusion of transparency.”
“If you think you’re getting something from behind the screen maybe it’s more legitimate even though you’re being played by a bunch of Russians,” Clinton said of the media’s attitude. (Clinton has also recently said that Trump is being “played” by Putin, Russia’s president.)
Earlier on Monday, the former secretary of state told NPR host Terry Gross in an interview that she would not rule out questioning the legitimacy of Trump’s win if it’s discovered that Russia’s interference was deeper than is known. But she also said she doesn’t think there’s a…