Hillary Clinton on Saturday criticized President Donald Trump over his recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying that “hardly anybody who believes in freedom gets along with” the Russian leader and that Trump “wants to be friends with Putin for reasons that we’re all still trying to figure out.”
Nearly a week after Trump met with Putin in Helsinki, Finland, the White House is continuing to grapple with the fallout after the US President shocked the world and provoked a rebuke from some top Republicans, as well as Democrats, in Congress by not endorsing the conclusion of the US intelligence community that Russia interfered in the 2016 election over Putin’s denial.
Since then, Trump has said he misspoke and that he holds Putin responsible for election interference.
Speaking at Ozy Fest, a festival in New York City, Clinton called Russian interference in the 2016 election “a direct attack on our democracy,” and said, “the great mystery is why the President has not spoken up for our country. We saw that most clearly in this recent meeting with Putin.”
Clinton said “it’s no surprise” that she and Putin “did not exactly get along,” but added, “to be fair, hardly anybody who believes in freedom gets along with him because he is always trying to dominate, intimidate and direct how people and nations behave.”
Clinton also warned that the US is still “very vulnerable” to potential future election interference from Russia.
“Several of the intelligence professionals, including Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, have said the Russians are still at it,” Clinton said. “They are still looking for ways to steal information about voter registration, for example.”
Clinton added, “there are some tech experts in Silicon Valley with whom I have met who say that maybe what they’ll do this next time is to really disrupt the actual election — shut down the servers that you send results to, interfere with the operation of voting machines because still too many of them are linked to the internet. We are still very vulnerable and we don’t have leadership from the administration.”