The annual, three-day event is an invitation-only affair hosted by Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg, founders of tech news site Recode, that brings together top industry execs and public figures. In addition to Clinton, this year's speakers included Senator Kamala Harris, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, and Netflix founder and CEO Reed Hastings.
In her conversation with Swisher and Mossberg, Clinton was perhaps the most outspoken she's been since the end of the 2016 election, broaching previously uncharted subjects like what she really thought about Russia's involvement in the election, Facebook's role in the fake news scandal, and where we go from here. Overall, the conversation focused on the ways that tech was weaponized in the 2016 election in ways that it never has been before — and the lessons that we need to take from this.
Ahead, some key points from the discussion.
On Those Deleted Emails
Clinton called the deleted email scandal "the biggest nothing-burger ever," saying that though it was a mistake and that people could judge her for it, "the way it was used was very damaging."
She believes that the way the email scandal was reignited (by former FBI director James Comey) toward the end of the campaign was the major reason that she lost. "It was always a hard issue to put to bed," she said.
On Fake News — & Who Was Behind It
Clinton made a strong distinction between how her campaign was attempting to reach voters and how the Trump campaign aimed at reaching voters. "What we thought we were doing was going to Obama 3.0 — better targeting, better messaging," Clinton said. "The other side was using content that was just flat out false and delivering it in a very personalized way."
Clinton said that her campaign was having conversations with Facebook, and that she wasn't sure how much the social network could have been doing in real-time to combat fake news. However, she also acknowledged that she could see how people could believe the fake news that they were seeing on the platform. "Facebook has got to get back to trying to curate more effectively," she said. "If you looked at Facebook, the majority of the 'news' items that were posted were fake. They were connected to the 1000 Russian agents involved in delivering those messages, they were the bots...it was such a new experience. I understand why people on Facebook would [see that and] think, 'Oh Hillary Clinton did that. I did not know that.'"
On Campaigning As A Woman
"At some point, it bleeds over into misogyny," Clinton said. "People who have a set of expectations about who should be president and what a president should look like will be much more critical of someone who doesn't look and sound like [that]."
Clinton compared the air-time that was given to discussing policy in 2016 to that of 2008. Whereas Obama and McCain got over 200 minutes, she said, just over 30 minutes was given to policy discussions in the 2016 presidential campaign, "despite my best effort." She also noted the difference in how positively male speakers are received when they get on stage and rally the crowd with their anger, saying that when she has tried to do the same, it hasn't worked as well.
"As a man gets more successful, regardless of his personality, he gets more likable," Clinton said. "As a woman gets more successful, regardless of her personality, she gets less likable. It's inverse."
The bulk of Clinton's discussion with Swisher and Mossberg was focused on Russia and its role in the election. "I think it's fair to ask how did [the Russians] actually influence the campaign and how did they know what messages to deliver [to people]," Clinton said. "The Russians, in my opinion, could not have known how best to use that information, unless they were guided by Americans."
She said that she believes this help came from individuals with ties to Trump.
On President Trump's Behavior
When asked what she thought about Trump's behavior and his appeal to people, Clinton said that Trump knows how to connect with people over what angers them.
"The behavior we're seeing was always present but always subordinate to real estate interests," she said. "He does have a visceral grasp of America's political underbelly. He really understands how to inflame people, how to bond with them over whatever their grievance is."
On Where We Go From Here
"I take responsibility for every decision that I made, but that's not why I lost," Clinton said. "I think it's important that we learn real lessons from this last campaign."
She emphasized that what happened in the 2016 election goes far beyond any personal grievances Putin might hold against her. "When Comey did testify before being fired, he was asked are the Russians still involved and he said yes, why wouldn't they be?" Clinton said. "Putin wants to bring us down."
She noted that she took comfort seeing that Emmanuel Macron was ready when he faced similar circumstances in the French election.
And As For "Covfefe..."
"I thought it was a hidden message to the Russians," Clinton joked.