With a little time to reflect following Hillary Clinton's defeat in her bid for the White House, former campaign chair John Podesta isn't pulling punches on her opponent. In an interview on Politico podcast the Global Politico, Podesta opened up about James Comey's fate, his own hacked emails during the campaign, and most notably, President Trump. Highlights:
- Grading Trump: Podesta didn’t hold back on his opinion of Trump’s White House. He characterized the administration as having “no one who really stands up to [Trump]” and criticized the president’s temperament: “He’s impetuous, he’s impulsive, he fires things off, and, if anything, they enable him rather than trying to contain what are moves that in any other context would seem, you know, absolutely crazy.”
- Buyer’s remorse: Podesta said he thinks voters are regretting their decision to elect Trump because “every day, he proves that he is temperamentally unfit to be president of the United States.” He also believes that American’s were duped by Trump: “If you look at the way—what Trump said he was going to do and what he’s done, his emphasis on just taking care of the wealthy and powerful in office—that seems to me a fundamental lie that he made to the American voters. But you can lie to the American people. Sometimes you’re rewarded for that.”
- His email hack: Podesta noted that his hacked emails began pouring onto Wikileaks about 20 minutes after Trump’s damaging Access Hollywood tape was leaked, and said the email leak turned into "fodder for fake news.” Citing PizzaGate, he added, “I think the Russians were also active there. It wasn’t just the hacking and the release of the information. It was the production and distribution, the trolling, the bots, the churn of fake news that was ostensibly coming out of the emails.”
- Comey’s dismissal: He asserted that the White House’s original reasoning for dismissing FBI Director James Comey was a “complete misreading of reality.” “It’s laughable,” he said, “really laughable that Donald Trump would fire Jim Comey because of his interference which damaged Hillary Clinton. I mean, it was laughable from the very beginning.” He also said he and Clinton never discussed whether she would fire Comey should she win, but he predicts it would have been a "tense relationship."
- Owning up to loss: While Podesta believes Comey’s October email surprise helped swing the election, he owned up to his role in losing: “I think that—look, we bear responsibility, and it’s a great burden and I feel it every day. I mean, we lost this election. We won the popular vote by 3 million votes, but we lost the Electoral College and lost the election to Donald Trump. So, we have a burden of his having the keys to the White House, and you know, codes to the nuclear football.”
See a full transcript of Podesta's interview here
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