Hillary Clinton (AP/Matt Rourke)

“I would've never stood for it”: Hillary Clinton “won’t rule out” contesting Trump’s election

Clinton pointed to recently overturned Kenyan election to suggest Russian election interference is now expanding

Sophia Tesfaye
September 18, 2017 10:43PM (UTC)

On Monday, as part of her post-election tour for her new book "What Happened," Hillary Clinton appeared on a radio interview with host Terry Gross on WHYY's "Fresh Air," in which she found herself in a peculiar role-reversal with her former rival Donald Trump. In her most incendiary comments since the election, Clinton admitted that she would not rule out questioning the legitimacy of Donald Trump’s victory if the investigation into election meddling reveals that Russia's “interference in the election is even deeper than we know now.”

“No, I wouldn’t rule it out,” Clinton responded when pressed by Gross.


Clinton’s former campaign chairman, John Podesta, appeared on Monday before one of the Senate committees leading an investigation on Russia's alleged role in the 2016 election. Today, the former secretary of state expressly left open the possibility of a formal challenge of the results:

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.

Clinton quickly made clear that such a challenge would create an extremely uncertain situation and is wholly unlikely. After noting that there have been “scholars” and “academics” who argue challenging the results would be possible, Clinton dismissed the idea: “I just don’t think we have a mechanism.

Clinton, of course, won the popular vote in November by nearly 3 million votes, but fell short in the Electoral College vote count. Clinton argued during the campaign that questioning the integrity of the presidential election outcome constituted a "direct threat" to U.S. democracy, while Trump repeatedly insisted the system was "rigged" against him.


In her interview with Gross, Clinton went on to compare the American election to the recent presidential election in Kenya, the results of which were tossed out over irregularities. Clinton noted that the data analysis firm that worked for Kenyan incumbent president Uhuru Kenyatta is connected to Trump allies including former Trump strategist Steve Bannon.

You know, the Kenya election was just overturned and really what's interesting about that — and I hope somebody writes about it, Terry — the Kenyan election was also a project of Cambridge Analytica, the data company owned by the Mercer family that was instrumental in the Brexit vote.

There's now an investigation going on in the U.K., because of the use of data and the weaponization of information. They were involved in the Trump campaign after he got the nomination, and I think that part of what happened is Mercer said to Trump, We'll help you, but you have to take Bannon as your campaign chief. You've got to take Kellyanne Conway and these other people who are basically Mercer protégées.

And so we know that there was this connection. So what happened in Kenya, which I'm only beginning to delve into, is that the Supreme Court there said there are so many really unanswered and problematic questions, we're going to throw the election out and re-do it. We have no such provision in our country. And usually we don't need it.

You can listen to the full interview here.  

Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's Deputy Politics Editor and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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