Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in an interview published Friday that she stands by her claim during the 2016 election that President Trump would be Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “puppet” if he won.

The 2016 Democratic presidential nominee was asked by Mother Jones whether she still stood by the claim she made during a presidential debate last year.


“I do,” she responded. “I don’t know how the president of the United States, with all of the concerns about the integrity of our elections, could meet with Putin just recently and basically say, ‘Well, you know, he told me again he didn’t do it,’ ” she added, referring to Trump’s statement that he believed Putin’s denials that Russia meddled in the 2016 election.

Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One last week that he believes Putin “means it” when he denies interfering in the 2016 election, despite the conclusion of America’s intelligence agencies that Russia actively tried to influence millions of U.S. voters.

“Every time he sees me he says, ‘I didn’t do that,’ and I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it,” Trump said last Saturday.

Trump later clarified that he believes U.S. intelligence agencies’ reports of election meddling, and his original comment was about Putin believing there was no election interference.

“I can’t believe that he’s so naive,” Clinton said in the interview, regarding Trump’s comments. “I think that he hopes or expects the rest of us to be naive, or at least the people who support him to be naive. But this is a serious cyberattack on America.”

Clinton added in the interview that while she has concerns about the legitimacy of the 2016 election, there is no method to redress those concerns in U.S. politics. At the same time, she panned efforts from House Democrats to introduce articles of impeachment against the president.

“We don’t have a method for contesting that in our system,” she said. “That’s why I’ve long advocated for an independent commission to get to the bottom of what happened.”

“I think we need the investigations to continue,” she added, “and I think that [impeachment is] premature.”

Clinton won the popular vote last November by nearly 3 million votes, but lost the Electoral College to President Trump. Since then, she has embarked on a national book tour for her memoir, “What Happened,” which details her failed 2016 campaign.

Tags Democratic Party Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Hillary Clinton Republican Party Robert Mueller Russian interference in the 2016 elections Vladimir Putin

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