Monday on NPR’s “Fresh Air,” 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said she would not “rule out” challenging the legitimacy of the 2016 presidential election, although she said she wasn’t sure if there was a “legal, constitutional way to do that.”
Partial transcript as follows:
GROSS: Democrats have said that they think there was Russian interference in the election, but that they’re not challenging the results of the election. As more and more information comes out about the depth of Russia’s interference in the election, do you think, at some point, that it would be legitimate to challenge the legitimacy of the election?
CLINTON: I don’t know if there’s any legal, constitutional way to do that. I think you can raise questions. In fact, I think part of the reason Trump behaves the way he behaves is that he is a walking example of projection. Whatever he’s doing and whatever he thinks is happening he will accuse somebody else of. And there are examples during the campaign when he did just that, like when he called publicly on Russia to hack my personal emails.
He knew they were trying to do whatever they could to discredit me with emails, so there’s obviously a trail there, but I don’t know that in our system we have any means of doing that, but I just wanted to add to the point you made. There’s no doubt they influenced the election: We now know more about how they did that.
Let me just put it this way, if I had lost the popular vote but won the electoral college, and in my first day as president, the intelligence community came to me and said, “The Russians influenced the election,” I would’ve never stood for it. Even though it might’ve advantaged me, I would’ve said, “We’ve got to get to the bottom of this.” I would’ve set up an independent commission with subpoena power and everything else.
GROSS: I want to get back to the question, would you completely rule out questioning the legitimacy of this election if we learn that the Russian interference in the election is even deeper than we know now?
CLINTON: No. I would not. I would say —
GROSS: You’re not going to rule it out?
CLINTON: No, I wouldn’t rule it out.
GROSS: So what are the means, like, this is totally unprecedented in every way —
CLINTON: It is.
GROSS: What would be the means to challenge it, if you thought it should be challenged?
CLINTON: Basically I don’t believe there are. There are scholars, academics, who have arguments that it would be, but I don’t think they’re on strong ground. But people are making those arguments. I just don’t think we have a mechanism.
Follow Pam Key On Twitter @pamkeyNEN