In a conference call to campaign surrogates Thursday, John Podesta, Clinton campaign chairman, referred to Comey on Thursday as the person "who we think may have cost us the election," a Clinton surrogate on the conference call told The Hill. Campaign communications director Jennifer Palmieri added later "that last week [of the campaign], it was just too many things."
Comey announced on Oct. 28 that he told Congress a new trove of emails related to the investigation of Clinton's use of a private email server had emerged. Polls indicated the presidential race was tightening by that point and got closer after Comey's announcement. On Sunday, two days before the election, Comey said the FBI found no new information in the emails.
In the conference call, Podesta also blamed the media, suggesting Clinton was the front-runner and thus eligible for criticism, while Donald Trump was seen as an engaging underdog by the last week of the campaign.
"The media always covered her as the person who would be president and therefore tried to eviscerate her before the election, but covered Trump who was someone who was entertaining and sort of gave him a pass. We need to reflect and analyze that and put our voices forward," Podesta said.
Among those on the conference call were donor J.B. Pritzker, Ready for Hillary co-founder Allida Black and strategist Maria Cardona, The Hill reported.
Podesta and Palmieri offered no apology for losing, and some on the conference call expressed their anger that the two found scapegoats to blame for losing the election, Politico reported Friday.
"They are saying they did nothing wrong, which is ridiculous," an unidentified Clinton surrogate said about the call. "She was the wrong messenger and everyone misjudged how pissed working-class people were."
Politico quoted another unidentified Clinton ally who said, "She got this gift of this complete idiot who says bizarre things and hates women and she still lost. They lost in a race they obviously should have won. They need to take some blame."
Another Clinton supporter noted much campaign energy was spent defending her paid speeches to Wall Street banks, accusations regarding the Clinton Foundation's finances and the State Department private email server.
"They spent their time protecting her, explaining her, defending her, with all these issues, the speeches, the foundation, the emails; that became the energy of the campaign."