In Brief

Hillary Clinton refuses to rule out contesting 2016 election result

Former secretary of state suggests she may challenge if ‘Russia’s interference in the election is even deeper than we know now’

Hillary Clinton has said she wouldn’t rule out contesting the result of the 2016 US Presidential election if Russian collusion is proven by special counsel Bob Mueller.

In what Salon describes as “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 interviewer Terry Gross on NPR.

The former secretary of state went on to compare the American election to the recent presidential election in Kenya, the results of which were overturned due to irregularities. Clinton noted that the data analysis firm that worked for Kenyan incumbent president Uhuru Kenyatta is connected to Trump allies including former White House strategist Steve Bannon.

“You know, the Kenya election was just overturned and really what’s interesting about that (is) 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.”

While Clinton’s words are a “big deal” says CNN’s Chris Cillizza, the “harder-to-answer questions are a) how she would go about challenging the election and b) what the prospects for such a challenge actually working might be”.

Later on in the interview, Clinton herself said there have been “scholars and academics who argue challenging the results would be possible” but “I just don’t think we have a mechanism”.

Citing work done by Julia Azari, an associate politics professor at Marquette University, Cillizza agrees with Clinton’s assessment saying in order for the election to be challenged: “The question isn’t even whether Mueller is able to prove collusion. It’s whether that collusion can be proven to have directly affected actual votes.”

“And from what we know from every intelligence agency - at least to date - is that there is no evidence that any votes were changed as a result of Russian interference in the election.”

Glen Caplin, a spokesman for Clinton, said after the interview aired that the Democrat “has said repeatedly the results of the election are over but we have to learn what happened.”

“I would hope anyone in America concerned about the integrity of our democracy would feel the same way if we got there. But we’re not,” Caplin said.

“Right now Bob Mueller and several congressional committees are investigating to what extent the Russians impacted our election and who exactly helped them do so.”

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