On the heels of the federal indictment of President Donald Trump‘s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Hillary Clinton made the rounds of the Chicago area Monday in support of her new book that examines the historic election.
“I have a great chapter about Russia in here,” Clinton told members of the media as she signed copies of her book “What Happened” at the Book Stall in Winnetka. It was the only public comment Clinton made during her suburban visit regarding the latest events surrounding Manafort.
The Associated Press reported that Mannafort, and Manafort’s business partner Rick Gates, pleaded not guilty on Monday to felony charges of conspiracy against the United States. The charges were connected to special counsel Robert Mueller‘s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Former Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos, a 2005 Niles West graduate, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian intermediaries during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Clinton focused on greeting the 1,000 ticket holders who lined up around downtown Winnetka to meet her and present copies of “What Happened” for her to sign.
“I told her she’s a role model for our girls,” said Rachel Nador, of Evanston, who brought her 11-year-old daughter Naomi Criz to meet Clinton. Criz told the 2016 presidential candidate that she admired her and found her to be a brave person.
“I really wanted my kids to have Hillary Clinton as president, and I’m still upset that’s not the case,” Nador said.
“I’m here to show Hillary we’re still with her, no matter what and always,” said Dee Darling of Cary. “She should be our president right now.”
The indictment of Manafort was on the minds of many Clinton supporters lined up in Winnetka, including Darling, who called the charges “the tip of the iceberg,” but stopped short of predicting that criminal allegations would directly touch the president.
“It’s crazy to think that it’s going to travel all the up to the top, and I don’t think anybody’s really expecting that, but we just want acknowledgment that there should be outrage from both parties for Russia hacking our election,” Darling said. “The fact that there isn’t is disturbing.”
In responding to the allegations against Manafort, Trump tweeted that there was “no collusion” between his campaign and Russia and took aim at Clinton.
“Why aren’t Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????” he wrote.
“We need to stop being so outraged by his tweets, and we need to focus,” Darling said. “He’s doing it to distract us, nothing more.”
John West, who volunteered on Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and was scheduled to deliver a banner signed by all Illinois delegates during her appearance Monday night at the Auditorium Theatre, said details of the action taken regarding the election fallout would provide vital information for voters.
“I think it’s good for justice to see that there is some balance of power,” West said. “But it’s still sad. I would rather avoid a constitutional crisis. It’s not something to celebrate, but we need to see justice on this. Our elections, our democracy is too sacred not to take this intervention from a foreign power like [Vladimir] Putin seriously.”
How would the state of the presidency be different today if Clinton was elected as supporters believe she should have been?
“It would be a culture of respect, instead of disrespect,” said Leslie Jenner of Winnetka.
Clinton’s Chicago visit was another homecoming of sorts as several childhood friends of the Park Ridge native and Maine South High School graduate made plans to see her during her public appearances, said longtime friend Betsy Ebeling.
“They’re just going to say hello. It’s going to be really nice,” Ebeling said.
Clinton was reminded of her Park Ridge roots on her recent birthday, when Ebeling said she presented her with a copy of book “Park Ridge: Milestones of History,” in which Clinton is featured prominently.
“I just gave it to her,” Ebeling said, explaining that Clinton had not yet had a chance to share what she thought of the book, which chronicles a number of historic Park Ridge events and features Clinton’s photograph on the cover.
The Associated Press contributed.
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