June 22, 2018 / 4:09 PM / in 5 months

Putin leading xenophobic movement out to damage U.S., Hillary Clinton says

Russian President Vladimir Putin passes the Russian-made limousine called "Aurus" as he arrives for a wreath laying ceremony marking the anniversary of the Nazi German invasion in 1941, by the Kremlin wall in Moscow, Russia June 22, 2018. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has positioned himself as the leader of a xenophobic movement that wants to weaken the United States’ traditional alliances and undermine democracy, former U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said on Friday.

The former secretary of state described Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election she lost to Donald Trump as “a clear and present danger to western democracy”.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is leading an investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election. Moscow denies U.S. intelligence agency allegations that it interfered in the election, and Trump has denied colluding with Russia.

“Vladimir Putin has positioned himself as the leader of an authoritarian, white-supremacist and xenophobic movement that wants to break up the EU, weaken America’s traditional alliances and undermine democracy,” Clinton said in a lecture at Trinity College Dublin, where she received an honorary doctorate.

“We can see this authoritarian movement rippling out from the Kremlin, reaching across Europe and beyond. It’s emboldening right-wing nationalists, separatists, racists and even neo-nazis. We are living through an era when fundamental rights, civic virtue, even facts and reason are under assault like never before.”

Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Peter Graff

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