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Hillary Clinton Warns: ‘Putin Wants to Bring Us Down’

Variety logo Variety 5/31/2017 Andrew Wallenstein
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Hillary Clinton warned that the technological forces that conspired to sabotage her presidential bid in 2016 are still very much at play in an interview Wednesday at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.

“I think it’s important to learn the real lessons from this last campaign,” she said. “The forces aren’t just interested in influencing elections and politics. They’re going after the economy and our unity as a nation.”

Clinton spoke in great detail about how a massive Russian-led misinformation campaign scuttled her chances with the help of social networks that weren’t properly empowered to combat fake news.

“What we saw in this election particularly the first time we had the tech revolution really weaponized politically,” Clinton told Code Conference interviewees Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher. “It was aimed at me but it’s a much deeper more persistent effort to literally turn the clock back on so much of what we have achieved as a country.”

Clinton also singled out Vladimir Putin for having big ambitions that go way beyond her in his pursuit of destablizing the country.

“It is important that Americans, that people in tech and business understand that Putin wants to bring us down,” she warned. “He is an old KGB agent.”

Clinton addressed the incident last week in which Montana congressional candidate Greg Gianforte body-slammed a reporter days before the election he ended up winning. Citing a report that an NBC affiliate in Montana declined to use the audio of the incident in its coverage as part of a broader mandate by stations owned by Sinclair Group to keep its programming conservative-friendly, she commented, “I find that terrifying. Because local TV is still incredibly powerful.”

Just because Clinton lost the election shouldn’t give anyone the impression she is about to exit the political scene. “I am not going anywhere,” she said. “I am very unbowed and unbroken about what happened because I don’t want it to happen to anyone else. I don’t want it to happen to the values and institutions i care about in America.”

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