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Donald Trump

Hillary Clinton: Trump-Putin meeting was a ‘mystery’, Russia may attack election infrastructure

Former presidential candidate complained that Trump didn’t confront Putin about 2016 election meddling at meeting where he instead raised unanswered questions about her email scandal

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 July, 2018, 9:55am
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 July, 2018, 10:06am

Hillary Clinton has criticised Donald Trump ’s performance at the Helsinki summit last week, calling his failure to tackle Vladimir Putin over alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US election “deeply disturbing” and a “mystery”.

Speaking at OzyFest – a festival of talks and music – in Central Park, New York on Saturday, Clinton also said Russian agents were targeting the November midterm elections in a renewed attempt to disrupt US democracy, and could this time attack election infrastructure such as “the servers you send results to” and “the operations of voting machines”.

Clinton, who lost to Trump in 2016, outlined the extent of Russian interference, as claimed in the recent indictments of 12 Russian intelligence officers by special counsel Robert Mueller.

“It was a very broad and a very successful cyberattack on our electoral system,” she said. “The attack goes to the heart of our democracy. The great mystery is why the president has not spoken up for our country.”

Calling the attacks “really distressing and alarming”, she said: “It should concern every single American.”

Clinton also called for clarity on what was said in the two-hour, one-on-one meeting between Trump and Putin that preceded their joint press conference in Helsinki.

“We don’t know what was said in the room between them,” she said. “Putin is telling the world what was said but we hear crickets from the White House. Make no mistake this is a direct attack on our democracy. The idea that we are not sure where our own president stands is deeply disturbing.”

Clinton questioned why Trump did not confront Putin over Russia’s election interference.

“Vladimir Putin has a very clear strategy,” she said. “He is quite adept at reading people … at manipulating people. Hardly anyone who believes in freedom gets on with him. [Trump] wants to be friends with him for reasons we’re still trying to find out about.”

Instead, at the press conference, Trump brought up the scandal surrounding Clinton’s personal email server while she was secretary of state, asking: “Where are those servers? They’re missing. Where are they? What happened to Hillary Clinton’s emails? 33,000 emails gone – just gone. I think in Russia they wouldn’t be gone so easily. I think it’s a disgrace that we can’t get Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 emails.”

Clinton also said sources in the tech industry told her Russian agents were targeting this year’s midterms. However, US homeland security chief Kirstjen Nielsen last week played down any concerns, saying Moscow wasn’t trying to meddle in the votes with the same “scale or scope”.

“They are still looking for ways to steal information about voter registration, for example,” Clinton claimed. “There are some tech experts in Silicon Valley whom I have met who say that maybe what they will do this time is really disrupt the actual election. Shut down the servers you send results to, interfere with the operations of voting machines, because too many of them are linked to the internet. We are still very vulnerable. And we don’t have leadership from the administration.”

Clinton claimed Putin wants to break up Nato and the European Union.

“He wants to undo the architecture of the post-world war two world,” she insisted. “He thrives on divisiveness. His attacks on the electoral system were designed to help Trump.”