Desperate Clinton Team Blames James Comey (oh, and Racism) for Trump's Victory

Top operatives at the Hillary Clinton campaign pointed the finger at FBI Director James Comey on Friday, blaming him for Donald Trump's historic victory over their candidate. They also accused the Trump campaign of tapping into racism in order to win the election.

"Undecided voters didn't break our way," Clinton Campaign Manager Robby Mook said at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics, CNN reported. "That Comey letter had a huge impact," Mook added, saying it was "probably a game-changer."

Mook and Clinton Chief Strategist Joel Benenson recalled that the race was fluid in the final two weeks, and defectors from both Clinton and Trump were considering third-party candidates. In the final weeks before Election Day, they were each coming home, but the Comey letter convinced natural Clinton backers to keep their distance, Mook and Benenson argued. "Those last 11 days we couldn't get them back" because of the Comey letter, said the chief strategist.

Their comments echoed Clinton's message to top donors in a conference call last month. "Our analysis is that Jim Comey's letter raising doubts that were groundless [and] baseless - and proven to be - stopped our momentum," she said.

Comey's October letter, which announced new information revealed in the case of Clinton's email server, seemed to contradict his earlier statement in July saying that "no reasonable prosecutor" would bring a case against the former secretary of State. Two days before the election, he made another announcement, saying that no new information had been found.

The entire episode proved supremely disappointing to both Republicans (who thought Clinton guilty and wanted to see justice done) and Democrats (who thought the email scandal a non-issue). Democrats may well blame Comey for weakening Clinton's chances in November, but Republicans also blame him for refusing to prosecute a political offender.

But the former Clinton campaign aides didn't just point the finger at Comey — they also accused the Trump campaign of using racism to win the election. Benenson said that Trump's campaign sent "dog whistles" and messages with racial undertones to appeal to disgruntled whites angry at government favoring minorities. He pressed the Trump team to name exactly which groups the Republican nominee wanted to "take America back from."

Clinton Senior Adviser Karen Finney said Trump tapped into "underlying cultural anxiety about change that we were not willing to do." Palmieri and Finney explicitly charged that the Republican's campaign supported white supremacist views by hiring Breitbart Chief Executive Steve Bannon. This elevated that alt-right into the mainstream, while Clinton denounced that movement.

Next Page: "Are you going to look me in the face and say I helped white supremacists?"