‘Train wreck’: Obama blamed Comey, Clintons for Trump win in private press chats, transcripts show

Harold Hutchison, DCNF

Former President Barack Obama blamed former President Bill Clinton, former First Lady Hillary Clinton and then-FBI Director James Comey for Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election, according to an official White House transcript.

Obama’s comments came during an off-the-record discussion with reporters three days before Trump’s inauguration, according to the transcript obtained by Bloomberg News. Obama said Clinton’s loss might have hinged on a series of questionable choices.

“The fact of the matter is, setting aside that Hillary Clinton got the substantially bigger share of the vote, I think it’s fair to say that a whole series of different things happening — how the email thing unfolded, and sort of the chain from Bill Clinton getting on that plane, to Comey making an announcement,” Obama said. “At a bunch of different junctures, people could have made different decisions that would have resulted in it playing differently.”

Obama referred to scandals and questions raised about a server set up in Hillary Clinton’s Chappaqua home, a visit by former President Clinton with former Attorney General Loretta Lynch in Phoenix and the press conferences Comey held about the investigation into Hillary’s server. Bloomberg obtained the transcripts as part of a Freedom of Information Act request from the Justice Department.

“I will say this about Comey. I think that — and I’ve been very careful about this — I think the way — as I said, if there’s Bill Clinton deciding he should get on Loretta Lynch’s plane, to the last announcement about Wiener emails, and it’s just like this train wreck and this cascade of decisions that I was powerless to intervene in, because I actually observe institutional norms and I’m not supposed to investigate — or meddle in investigations,” Obama said, elaborating on the former FBI director. “But I think Comey is actually a person of high character and is not partisan when it comes to this stuff, and believes in playing it straight. That doesn’t mean that every call he makes necessarily will be the right one, because this is a human enterprise and everybody is human. But I trust his basic integrity. I trust him to — I think he thinks of himself as serving the American people and as a guardian of certain values and norms that I share with him.”

Obama and the Clintons did not immediately respond to requests for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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