NEW YORK (CNN) — Hillary Clinton referred to Russia’s meddling in the 2016 US presidential election as an “act of aggression” on Thursday, in her most extended comments yet about a controversy that has consumed the earliest days of Donald Trump’s presidency.
“I am deeply concerned about what went on with Russia,” Clinton said at the “Women in the World” summit in New York City. “A foreign power meddled with our election and did so in a way that we are learning more about every single day.”
Accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin of wanting to “sow distrust and confusion, as well as influence, our election,” the former secretary of state also said she supports an independent investigation into whether there was collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.
Russians “will be back time and time again” if the United States doesn’t take bipartisan “action together to hold whoever was involved accountable,” Clinton warned.
In the immediate aftermath of her loss to Trump in November, the two-time presidential candidate largely stayed away from the limelight.
But in recent weeks, Clinton has appeared increasingly willing to speak out in public, even wading into politics.
At a diversity conference hosted by the Professional BusinessWomen of California last week, Clinton took on what she said were “indignities,” “sexism” and “structural barriers” that women confront today.
One person Clinton singled out in that speech: Sean Spicer. The White House press secretary had had a contentious back-and-forth with American Urban Radio Networks correspondent and CNN political analyst April Ryan, culminating in a condescending request for Ryan to “please stop shaking your head.”
“She was patronized and cut off as she tried to ask a question,” Clinton said of Spicer’s comment to Ryan.
Days after the California appearance, Clinton delivered pointed criticism of the Trump administration. In remarks at Georgetown University, she blasted the President’s budget blueprint, which proposed deep domestic spending cuts and reductions in foreign aid.
“We are seeing signals of a shift that should alarm us all,” Clinton said. “This administration’s proposed cuts to international health, development and diplomacy would be a blow to women and children and a grave mistake for our country.”
While Clinton’s closest associates are inclined to reject speculation of the former candidate’s interest in pursuing public office again, rumors have continued to swirl nonetheless. Local media have floated her name as a possible New York City mayoral candidate.
Clinton’s aides say that she is still mulling over what she would like to do in the coming years, and has been reaching out to friends, donors and other associates to keep the lines of communication open.