ALBANY — Former President Bill Clinton, after casting his Electoral College vote Monday for his wife, Hillary Clinton, said she battled through a “bogus email deal” in her presidential campaign but ultimately couldn’t prevail against “the Russians and the FBI.”
Clinton, one of New York’s 29 official electors, essentially pointed the blame for Hillary’s loss to Russian hackers — whom the FBI and CIA say intervened in the election to help Republican Donald Trump — and the FBI’s disclosure — just 11 days before the election — that it was reviewing more of Hillary Clinton’s emails. Some analysts have said the FBI action probably tipped late votes to Trump, who won the Electoral College vote but lost the popular count.
The former president said casting a vote for his wife under these circumstances was bittersweet.
“But I’ve never cast a vote that I was prouder of. You know, I watched her work for two years. I watched her battle through that bogus email deal, be vindicated at the end,” Bill Clinton told reporters as he was exiting the New York State Capitol. “She fought through that. She fought through everything. She prevailed against it all. Then, you know, at the end, we had the Russians and the FBI deal. She couldn’t prevail against that. But she did everything else and still won by 2.8 million votes.”
Pushed to elaborate, the former president pointed to Nate Silver and the FiveThirtyEight blog, apparently a reference to its analysis that if the election had been held Oct. 27 — just before the FBI announcement — Trump would have lost.
“The finest vote counter in America is Nate Silver and he told you what cost her the election,” Clinton said before departing.
Unlike other states Monday, New York cast its official vote without drama — no protesters, no electors trying to change their pledged vote. That likely stemmed from Hillary Clinton’s easy win here: She garnered 59 percent of the vote in New York to Trump’s 37 percent.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who worked as federal housing secretary in the Clinton administration, said the formal vote “had to be a personally difficult situation” for the former president. But Clinton, who now makes his home in Westchester County, was greeted warmly in the State Senate chamber where the vote was cast.
“He was very gracious. Very kind. He was in good spirits,” Cuomo said. “He was surrounded by friends.”