Failed Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton appeared on NPR’s Fresh Air to plug her memoir What Happened. She told host Terry Gross that would not rule out questioning the legitimacy of the 2016 presidential election if more proof comes out that Russia did meddle in the election.

Former FBI James Comey also comes up in the conversation and yes, Hillary pointed the finger at him…again.

Legitimate Election?

From NPR:

I want to get back to the question, would you completely rule out questioning the legitimacy of this election if we learn that the Russian interference in the election is even deeper than we know now?

No. I would not. I would say —

You’re not going to rule it out.

No, I wouldn’t rule it out.

So what are the means, like, this is totally unprecedented in every way —

It is.

Gross asked Hillary about “the means to challenge it” and she admitted that she doesn’t “believe there are.” Earlier she told Gross that she doesn’t “know if there’s any legal constitutional way to do it.” She basically puts the pressure on President Donald Trump to do something:

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.

In June, Julia Azari wrote at FiveThirtyEight that the Constitution doesn’t say what will happen if the 2016 election is determined to be a fraud. Azari points out that “the Constitution itself focuses more on ensuring stability than on administering elections.” She explains:

The framers gave the Electoral College broad discretion to resolve disputes as it saw fit: The text of the Constitution pretty much says an election is legitimate when the Electoral College says it is. It doesn’t lay out a process for do-overs. Occasionally, courts have ordered new elections for offices other than the presidency after a proven case of fraud or error. (Or gerrymandering — a court in North Carolina ordered new state legislative elections, though this order has been put on hold.) And a Senate election was once redone in New Hampshire because it was too close to determine even with multiple recounts.

But whether this kind of re-do is allowed for presidential elections is a more complicated matter. Some legal scholars maintain that the language in Article II of the Constitution prevents holding a presidential election again, thus putting it beyond the power of the courts to order a re-vote, as they have occasionally done for other offices. Others suggest that there is legal precedent for a presidential re-vote if there were flaws in the process. One instance in which this question arose was the “butterfly ballot” from the 2000 election, which may have caused some voters to choose Pat Buchanan when they meant to vote for Al Gore in Palm Beach County, Florida.2


Hillary reiterated her position to Gross that Comey’s comments only days before the election moved the dial in Trump’s direction. From NPR:

Where I part company with him — and think he violated every rule in the book as a FBI director — was what he did on Oct. 28, because what he did then was to send a letter acting like he was reopening an investigation that had been closed to Congress, knowing it would be immediately leaked. And later on when asked, Well weren’t you also conducting an investigation into the Trump campaign and their connections with Russia? Yes. Well, why didn’t you tell the American people that? Because it was too close to the election.

I think the American people deserve to know there was an FBI investigation [into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia] that had started in early 2016 — Americans never knew that. And yet my emails, which he re-injected into the campaign at the very end, he could’ve handled — OK suppose he legitimately thought, again, from pressure, because remember Rudy Giuliani two days before the 28th said, “Something big is gonna happen.” He [Comey] could’ve said, I’m going to look at this. I would’ve said, Go ahead, look at it. I have nothing to hide. It’s the same stuff you’ve already seen. But no, he injected himself, but he never said a word about the Russia investigation.

The Washington Post published an article today by Professor Costas Panagopoulos at Northeastern University and Associate Professor Aaron Weinschenk at University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, who explained that in a paper they recently published, the “polling data from the last four months of the campaign” showed no evidence that Comey’s letter had a major affect:

We arrive at this conclusion through an analysis of Clinton and Trump’s standings in national polls from July 1 through the day before the November election. We use data from Pollster’s 2016 General Election poll chart. Specifically, our measure is Clinton’s share of the two candidates’ support.

We use time-series analysis to trace changes in the polls. Our statistical model accounts for economic conditions and presidential approval, which political scientists call campaign “fundamentals” because they are systematically associated with support for the incumbent party. We also include variables to capture the effects of the party conventions, the three presidential debates, as well as the volume of each candidate’s media coverage. (Details of the analysis appear in the paper.)

The professors noted that Comey’s led to a slight shift in Clinton’s numbers, but not enough to state that it cost her votes. They also couldn’t find evidence that the Access Hollywood video of Trump harmed him.

Overall, their paper concluded that President Barack Obama’s approval numbers had more of an affect on Hillary’s numbers, along with the approval numbers for the Democrat National Convention and the first presidential debate.