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Hillary Rodham Clinton at the 2017 Women In The World Summit in New York City.


Hillary Clinton: ‘As a person, I’m OK. As an American, I’m pretty worried’

By Emma-Kate Symons on April 6, 2017

In her first wide-ranging interview since the November 8 election, Hillary Clinton spoke candidly on a range of topics. When prompted, she laid the blame for her loss to Donald Trump on a host of factors, pointing the finger at Russian president Vladimir Putin, FBI Director James Comey, WikiLeaks, and the entrenched culture of misogyny that dictates that the more successful a woman becomes, the less “likeable” she is.

Enjoying an animated interview with The New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof at the Women in the World summit on Thursday afternoon, the former secretary of state, energized and unfiltered, acknowledged that she and her team had made mistakes. Since the “devastation” of the defeat, she said, she’s been feeling OK as a person, “but as an American, I’m pretty worried.”

Clinton took direct aim at the Kremlin for attempting to influence the outcome of the presidential election. Russia’s intervention, she said, was given a boost by the explosive letter that Comey released ten days before the vote announcing another investigation into her emails.

“What was done to us was an act of aggression and it was carried out by a foreign power under the control of someone who has a deep desire to dominate Europe and to send us into a tailspin,” Clinton said of Russia’s “meddling” in the election, currently the subject of multiple investigations by intelligence agencies and the legislature. “And I think what Putin wanted to do was to sow distrust and confusion as well as influence our election.”

The Russian president employed the “weaponization of information,” Clinton said, a tactic he had “already used inside and outside Russia to great effect.” During the campaign, she confessed, she hadn’t fully understood “how impactful” the strategy was in creating doubt among voters.

“But then the Comey letter, coming as it did just 10 days before the election, raised serious questions in a lot of people—questions that I think were obviously unfounded, but nevertheless that happened,” Clinton said, attributing her defeat to “a combination” of causes. As she noted to applause, she nonetheless garnered 66 million popular votes.

“We’ve got to be really clear that what was done in that election was unprecedented and be willing to say we can’t let that happen again … We aren’t going to let someone sitting in the Kremlin with a thousand agents, with bots and trolls, try to mix it up in our election.” The communications stolen from her campaign [and published by WikiLeaks], she said, had a “determinative effect” that was “even more effective than Watergate.”

Putting her secretary of state hat back on, Clinton expressed indignation at Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons attack on civilians, including children. In a criticism of her former boss Barack Obama, she said she regretted that more had not been done during her tenure as America’s top diplomat to undermine Assad, a proved chemical weapons attacker, despite her own more hawkish outlook.

“We should have and still should” take out the Assad regime’s airfields, Clinton said. “People have to know that they will be held accountable as war criminals committing crimes against humanity if they engage in these aggressive, violent acts.”

Assad was “a prisoner of his family’s expectations, his dead father’s looming presence and his delusion … that everybody who opposed him is a terrorist,” Clinton said.

“That’s how Putin thinks. And Putin has weight, in particular with air power, to support this fight-to-the-death policy that Assad has.”

Regarding the Trump administration’s policy of trying not to offend Moscow, Clinton was blunt: “We’ve got to change the dynamic. It’s time the Russians were afraid of us because we are going to stand up for human rights, and the dignity and future of the Syrian people.”

Displaying her famous wit and sarcasm, Clinton delivered some one-liners rivaling those of the comedian Samantha Bee, who introduced her at the summit.

“The things that come out of some of these men’s mouths,” she said when asked about the Trump administration’s first 100 days, which included actions slashing funding to women’s health care, conducted in flagrantly all-male meetings and signing ceremonies. “Why do we have to cover maternity care? Well, maybe you were dropped by immaculate conception. Who knows?”

Her post-election time would be spent encouraging and helping women—younger women in particular—to get elected to public office and aid the Democrats in taking back the Congress, Clinton promised.

She appeared to rule out any future attempts to get back into electoral politics, preferring to work on her forthcoming book focusing on the reasons behind her poll loss and to spend time with her grandchildren, family, and friends.


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