John Podesta has reason to be very upset about the election obviously — it’s not just that his candidate lost when everyone thought she would win, but his emails were stolen by a foreign adversary and released publicly over the course of weeks. Still, his refusal yesterday on Meet the Press to say it was a “free and fair” election was pretty shameful. His language about Donald Trump “claiming” an electoral college victory also suggests Trump is taking something to which he isn’t entitled. Again, I don’t begrudge Podesta his raw feelings, but this is the voice of the collective Democratic party at the moment — aggrieved, graceless, and at sea.
Let me start with this question. Do you believe this was a free and fair election?
Well, look, I think the Russians clearly intervened in the election. And I think that the, now we know that both the C.I.A., the director of National Intelligence, the F.B.I. all agree that the Russians intervened to help Trump and that as they have noted this week, NBC first revealed that Vladimir Putin was personally involved with that. So I think that people went to the polls, they cast their votes, Hillary Clinton got 2.9 million more votes than Donald Trump, but you know Donald Trump is claiming the electoral college victory. And you know tomorrow, the electors will get to vote.
You didn’t answer the question. Do you believe this was a free and fair election?
Well, I think it was, I think it was distorted by the Russian intervention. Let’s put it that way.