In a recent interview with National Public Radio, Hillary Clinton, the nominee for the Democratic Party during the 2016 presidential election, explained that she may still choose to question the legitimacy of Donald Trump’s win if evidence surfaces that his campaign indeed collaborated with Russian agents.
When asked directly whether she would question the results under that scenario, Clinton responded, point blank, “No, I wouldn’t rule it out.”
She elaborated on her point by positing what she would have done had her and President Trump’s fortunes been reversed:
Let me just put it this way, if I had lost the popular vote but won the electoral college and in my first day as president the intelligence community came to me and said, “The Russians influenced the election,” I would’ve never stood for it. Even though it might’ve advantaged me, I would’ve said, “We’ve got to get to the bottom of this.” I would’ve set up an independent commission with subpoena power and everything else.
Although Clinton held onto the assumption that she may not see the election as legitimate if certain elements come to light in the coming months, she didn’t give much indication for what she would — or could — do with such information, if it does come to fruition.
“I don’t know if there’s any legal constitutional way to do that,” she said. And later on in the interview, she elaborated:
I don’t believe there are [any legal means to challenge the outcome of the election]. There are scholars, academics, who have arguments that it would be, but I don’t think they’re on strong ground. But people are making those arguments. I just don’t think we have a mechanism.
Clinton added that other countries do have a means for nullifying an election, citing the recent election in Kenya as an example. “We have no such provision in our country,” she said, “and usually we don’t need it.”
She also made a separate pitch for other electoral reforms that are needed, to ensure the democratic choice for president gets chosen in the U.S.
Now, I do believe we should abolish the Electoral College, because I was sitting listening to a report on the French election and the French political analyst said, “You know in our country the person with the most votes wins, unlike in yours.” And I think that’s an anachronism. I’ve said that since 2000.
Clinton may be right that there isn’t an answer for what should be done, if it indeed turns out that Trump’s campaign (or Trump himself) was working with Russia to sabotage the election. But many Americans will likely agree with her — that the legitimacy of Trump’s presidency would be significantly tainted if those events do come to pass.
See video of Clinton’s concession speech from November: