Hillary Clinton blasted the New York Times in her book, "What Happened," for its coverage of her private email server and the FBI's subsequent investigation of whether she mishandled classified information as secretary of state.
Although she indicted the press as a whole for creating a "scandal jamboree" out of her emails, Clinton reserved her fiercest criticism for a paper many considered friendly to her campaign.
The former Democratic presidential candidate described feeling confused about the New York Times' decision to endorse her while also "beating me up about emails."
"The Times, as usual, played an outsize role in shaping coverage of my emails throughout the election," Clinton wrote. "To me, the paper's approach felt schizophrenic."
Clinton admitted her choice to set up a private email server was a "dumb decision" that helped cost her the election.
"It was a dumb mistake. But an even dumber ‘scandal,'" Clinton argued. "It was like quicksand: the more you struggle, the deeper you sink. At times, I thought I must be going crazy."
But her assumption of responsibility seemed to end there. The former secretary of state excoriated the media throughout her book for focusing so intently on an email scandal she describes as overblown, and pointed to former FBI Director James Comey as someone who "shivved" her "three times over the final five months of the campaign."
Clinton expressed outrage that the New York Times dedicated half of its front page to Comey's Oct. 28 letter, because she argued the letter contained "zero evidence of wrongdoing and very few facts of any kind."
Comey's late-October letter to Congress, which informed lawmakers that new emails discovered in the course of an unrelated investigation had forced him to revisit the original email inquiry, warranted wall-to-wall coverage in almost every media outlet in the country.
Even so, Clinton blamed the New York Times most of all for its handling of the letter. And she saddled the Times with responsibility for printing "one of the single worst stories of the entire election" on Oct. 31 when it ran an article claiming the FBI had not yet found any significant links between the Trump campaign and Russian election meddling.
Clinton noted that the Times printed two corrections to its July 2015 story breaking the news that the FBI had opened a criminal investigation into her email server. She said the story resulted from "shoddy reporting" because the paper originally failed to print the Justice Department's assertion that the investigation was not criminal in nature. However, the original Times reporting was ultimately proven accurate when Comey revealed that his agents had indeed been investigating Clinton and her aides for criminal mistreatment of classified information since July 2015.
Comey's handling of the email investigation looms large over the entire chapter Clinton dedicated to justifying her private email use.
She took particular exception to his July 2016 press conference, in which he announced that Clinton would face no criminal charges but criticized her "extremely careless" behavior.
"It came as a complete surprise to us. We had no warning and had heard no feedback at all after the Saturday session," Clinton wrote, referring to her interview with FBI agents several days before the announcement.
"I was angry and frustrated that Comey had used his public position to criticize me, my staff and the State Department, with no opportunity for us to counter or disprove the charge," she added.
The former secretary of state said she made a "mistake" by failing to go after Comey at the time for "breaking protocol" with a press conference that "badly overstepped his bounds."
Clinton criticized the reaction to her husband's meeting in summer 2016 with then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch as "outrageous and insulting." The former president and Lynch met privately on a tarmac in Phoenix in June of last year in a move that invited criticism from both sides due to the Justice Department's ongoing involvement in a criminal investigation of Clinton. Lynch subsequently announced that she would simply accept whatever recommendations Comey made about the need for criminal charges as she faced outrage for compromising the integrity of the investigation.
Reflecting on the totality of the email scandal, Clinton concluded that the New York Times must have a personal vendetta against her that has lasted for decades.
"Over the years, going all the way back to the Whitewater inquisition, it's seemed as if many of those in charge of political coverage at the New York Times have viewed me with hostility and skepticism," Clinton wrote.
"As a result, a lot of journalists see their job as exposing the devious machinations of the Clinton Machine," she added. "The Times has by no means been the only — or even the worst — offender, but its treatment has stung the most."
And although Clinton said she has read the paper for 40 years and still picks it up each day, she shamed the paper for chasing "traffic and buzz" with coverage of her email scandal.
"[W]e're talking about one of the most important news sources in the world — the paper that often sets the tone for everyone else — which means, I think, that it should hold itself to the highest standard," she said.
Clinton conceded that her tirade against the Times could cost her a friendly book review, but argued that history would punish the paper for its handling of email stories.
"I suppose this mini-rant guarantees that my book will receive a rip-her-to-shreds review in the Times, but history will agree that this coverage affected the outcome of the election," Clinton wrote. "Besides, I had to get this off my chest!"