Beaten 2016 candidate tells OzyFest in New York sources have told her Moscow may target servers and voting machines next
Hillary Clinton has criticized Donald Trump’s performance at the Helsinki summit earlier this week, calling his failure to tackle Vladimir Putin over Russian interference in the 2016 US election “deeply disturbing” and a “mystery”.
Speaking at OzyFest – a festival of talks and music – in Central Park, New York on Saturday, Clinton also said Russian agents were targeting the November midterm elections in a renewed attempt to disrupt US democracy, and could this time attack election infrastructure such as “the servers you send results to” and “the operations of voting machines”.
Clinton beat Trump by nearly 3m ballots in the popular vote in 2016, but lost in the electoral college. She was secretary of state in the Obama administration.
In Central Park, she outlined the extent of Russian interference as depicted in the recent indictments of 12 Russian intelligence officers by special counsel Robert Mueller.
“It was a very broad and a very successful cyber attack on our electoral system,” she said. “The attack goes to the heart of our democracy. The great mystery is why the president has not spoken up for our country.”
Calling the attacks “really distressing and alarming”, she said: “It should concern every single American.”
“We don’t know what was said in the room between them,” she said. “Putin is telling the world what was said but we hear crickets from the White House. Make no mistake this is a direct attack on our democracy. The idea that we are not sure where our own president stands is deeply disturbing.”
Clinton questioned why Trump did not confront Putin over Russia’s election interference.
“Vladimir Putin has a very clear strategy,” she said. “He is quite adept at reading people … at manipulating people. Hardly anyone who believes in freedom gets on with him. [Trump] wants to be friends with him for reasons we’re still trying to find out about.”
We are still very vulnerable. And we don’t have leadershipHillary Clinton
Clinton also said sources in the tech industry told her Russian agents were targeting this year’s midterms. US intelligence agencies have said the Trump administration is not doing enough to counter such efforts.
“They are still looking for ways to steal information about voter registration, for example,” Clinton said. “There are some tech experts in Silicon Valley whom I have met who say that maybe what they will do this time is really disrupt the actual election. Shut down the servers you send results to, interfere with the operations of voting machines, because too many of them are linked to the internet.
“We are still very vulnerable. And we don’t have leadership from the administration.”
Clinton claimed Putin “wants to break up Nato, the European Union. He wants to undo the architecture of the post-world war two world. He thrives on divisiveness. His attacks on the electoral system were designed to help Trump.”