Hillary Clinton on Wednesday night suggested that if the Justice Department was going to let Russia get away with interfering in the 2016 presidential election, it might be OK if one of the 2020 Democratic candidates enlisted China for help.
The 2016 Democratic presidential candidate offered a seemingly tongue-in-cheek hypothetical to Rachel Maddow on her MSNBC show.
“Imagine, Rachel, that you had one of the Democratic nominees for 2020 on your show, and that person said, you know, the only other adversary of ours who is anywhere near as good as the Russians is China,” Clinton told Maddow. “So why should Russia have all the fun? And since Russia is clearly backing Republicans, why don’t we ask China to back us?”
“And not only that, China, if you’re listening, why don’t you get Trump’s tax returns?” Clinton continued. “I’m sure our media would richly reward you."
Her phrasing echoed a statement by Donald Trump about Hillary Clinton’s emails during the 2016 campaign. “Russia: If you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” he said at a July news conference in Florida. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
Blasted for inviting a foreign power to interfere in an American election, Trump subsequently claimed he was not serious, but the Mueller report indicated Russian hackers did go after Clinton’s emails within hours after Trump’s remarks.
Clinton said the No. 1 thing she learned from reading special counsel Robert Mueller’s partially redacted report was that Russia conducted a “sweeping and systemic interference” in the 2016 election and has not been held accountable. And that she worries there is reason to believe they will do it again.
Clinton also said the most important thing she learned was “that the Russians were successful” in sowing “discord and divisiveness” in the country, and helping Donald Trump.
“Let’s have a great power contest, and let’s get the Chinese in on the side of somebody else,” she added. “Just saying, that shows how absurd the situation we find ourselves in."
When asked about Attorney General William Barr’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier Wednesday, Clinton said that “calling for his resignation makes perfect sense.”
“I think that the Democrats on the committee did a good job today in exposing that he is the president’s defense lawyer,” Clinton said. “He is not the attorney general of the United States in the way that he has conducted himself.”
Clinton added that House Democrats “have every reason to” find Barr in contempt, but to “not let Barr be the big shiny object that diverts people’s attention from the two major findings of the Mueller report.”
In his testimony, Barr refused to answer whether the White House had ever directed him to initiate specific investigations, including whether Trump had asked former White House counsel Don McGahn to get the Justice Department to investigate Clinton and former FBI director James Comey. Clinton called the potential investigation a "diversion attack."
"I’m living rent free inside of Donald Trump’s brain. It’s not a very nice place to be, I can tell you that," she said. "So I don’t know what they’re talking about. I’ve been investigated repeatedly by the other side. And much to their dismay, but to my, you know, satisfaction, it’s been for naught."
"But this is part of their whole technique to divert attention from what the real story is," Clinton continued. "The real story is the Russians interfered in our election. And Trump committed obstruction of justice. That’s the real story. That’s what had he don’t want the American people thinking about. "
Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine