Hillary Clinton says Trump associates helped Russia influence the 2016 election

Hillary Clinton has made crystal clear who she blames for Russian interference in the 2016 US election.

Clinton, in an interview with USA Today published Monday night, said she believes associates of then-candidate Donald Trump had an “understanding” that Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted her to lose and wanted Trump to win.

“There was certainly communications, and there was certainly an understanding of some sort,” Clinton said.

“And there’s no doubt in my mind that there are a tangle of financial relationships between Trump and his operation with Russian money,” Clinton said, asserting that she is also confident the Trump campaign “worked really hard to hide their connections with Russians.”

Clinton’s remarks echo those of congressional investigators who have pointed to some top-level officials within Trump’s inner circle who have been accused of misrepresenting their contacts with Russian diplomats and insiders tied to the Kremlin during and after the 2016 campaign.

Members of that inner circle include:

FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller is deep into a multipronged investigation to unpack whatever cooperation there may have been between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin during the US election. His investigation, along with those of several congressional committees, has produced explosive public and private testimony from fired FBI director James Comey and some of Trump’s top aides.

The investigation has also put many White House staffers in the crosshairs, and prompted some to retain private counsel.

Clinton, who is now promoting her new book, “What Happened,” which documents the turbulent 2016 election, made clear that she understands she deserves some of the blame for her failed 2016 presidential bid, and specifically criticised her own campaign’s failures.

She also acknowledged that using a private email server while she was secretary of state — the move that would prompt an FBI investigation and disintegrate her campaign — was a “boneheaded mistake.”

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