Hillary Clinton got a fierce rebuke from UK lawmakers after calling out Boris Johnson’s government for delaying the publication of the Russia dossier.
“I mean, who do they think they are that they would keep information like that from the public, especially before an election?” Hillary told The Guardian in an interview published Monday. “Well, I’ll tell you who they think they are. They think that they are the all-powerful, strong men who should be ruling.”
Hillary – whose stint as secretary of state is controversial due to her part in the military intervention in Libya and the anarchy that subsequently engulfed the country – called the delay “inexplicable and shameful” in a separate interview on Tuesday.
The former US first lady is currently in Britain to promote her new book, Gutsy Women.
Nigel Farage, the Brexit party leader who dismisses the “Russian meddling” narrative as “baseless propaganda”, said the fact that Hillary’s book tour coincides with the election campaign is “typical of her”.
He told The Daily Mail: “The Russia conspiracy never dies with Hillary. She even said I was funded by them.”
Tory MP Michael Fabricant suggested that Hillary’s statements were meant to score some points for the Labour Party.
“If [Labour leader] Jeremy Corbyn thinks that Hillary Clinton's announcements on the radio will be helpful, he is deluded as David Cameron when he thought that President Obama's intervention during the EU Referendum would help the Remain cause,” he was quoted as saying.
“As much as I love the US, neither Clinton’s nor her arch rival’s – Trump’s – comments endear themselves to the British voting public. Quite the opposite.”
Three Years of ‘Meddling’ Claims
Theresa May’s government has repeatedly accused Russia of trying to affect the result of the 2016 referendum through misleading media coverage and fake social media accounts – though failing to provide any exact evidence. Moscow has strongly rejected the allegations.
The results of an 18-month inquiry by the House of Commons intelligence and security committee into allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 Brexit vote were expected to become public last week.
The government is keeping the dossier, which has already been approved by the intelligence community, under wraps, saying that it would take six weeks to ensure whether it contains no classified information. The release was re-scheduled until after the 12 December general election, in a move which opposition lawmakers called politically motivated.
Former attorney general Dominic Grieve, who chairs the intelligence and security committee and has seen the report, demanded that the dossier is made public before the election because it contains information “germane” to voters.
Foreign Office Minister Christopher Pincher told the lawmakers last week that the longer time needed to scrutinise the report was “not unusual” and gave examples of other reports that had taken six weeks to be approved. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps blamed the "machinery of government" for the report’s delay.
Bloomberg reported last week, citing sources familiar with the investigation, that no “smoking gun” evidence had emerged of alleged Kremlin-sponsored meddling efforts.