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Hillary Clinton Unplugged
Aired May 5, 2017 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] ZAIN ASHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Zain Asher.
Let's get caught on the headlines.
The sharply divided France will pick its next president on Sunday. It's a choice between political newcomer Emmanuel Macron, a centrist and far right
leader Marine Le Pen, who wants to dump the Euro and slash immigration. The campaign officially ends today. The latest polls give Macron a 20-
The European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker took another swipe at the UK over Brexit at a conference. He said he would deliver his speech in
French because, quote, "English is losing its importance in Europe."
Juncker and the British Prime Minister have traded barbs ever since their meeting about the UK leaving the European Union.
Russia says ceasefires will begin Saturday in four safe zones in war-torn Syria. They are part of the agreement that reached Thursday by Russia,
Turkey, and Iran. Turkey says a working group will formalize and outlining the state's boundaries by June 4.
U.S. President Donald Trump and House Republicans are celebrating the first breakthrough in the fight to repeal and replace Obamacare. House
Republicans narrowly approved an amended version of their health plan on Thursday. It's onto the Senate now, where it's expected to undergo
All right, guys, that is your CNN "News Now." AMANPOUR is up next. You're watching CNN.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight, Hillary Clinton unplugged. In her first major live TV interview since the U.S. election, the former
presidential candidate lets rip on her loss, misogyny and the state of our world.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: Women's right is the unfinished business of the 21st century. There is no more important, larger issue that has to be addressed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the special weekend edition of our program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in New York.
And in her first extensive live conversation since the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton has come out swinging. She was stunningly candid at the
"Women for Women" charity in New York on Tuesday.
She did take personal responsibility for her loss. But she said the tide turned against her after the FBI director informed Congress they were
reopening a probe into her use of a private e-mail server.
And the next day on Wednesday, James Comey fought back on Capitol Hill, saying that he wouldn't change what he did.
At the event promoting women's roles in peace and security, Clinton criticized the Trump administration's plans to cut back at her old office,
the State Department.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am going to publicly request that this administration not end our efforts making women's rights
and opportunities central to American foreign policy and national security.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So it was a rarely seen side of Hillary Clinton as we began our conversation by discussing the lack of women around Donald Trump's cabinet
CLINTON: Well, I'm hoping that voices like many of yours in this room, and I would say bipartisan, non-partisan voices, will speak up for the work of
diplomacy and development.
I know that secretary of Defense Mattis understands that. He has spoken out and said you cut the State Department, the USAID budget, you're going
to have to buy me more ammunition, because you cannot talk about pursuing diplomacy and development that will be to the benefit of the United States,
to our security, to our values and interests, without understanding them that we are left with just one tool in the toolbox namely the military
That is a necessary tool, but it should only be one of three. And diplomacy and development should be the first efforts. And I'm hoping that
because of voices like Jim Mattis and others that that will begin to influence the administration.
AMANPOUR: I am sure that everybody in this room, everybody in this country, frankly, everybody in the world is really afraid of the crisis
with North Korea.
[14:05:00] So given the right effects, everybody including women, what do you make of President Trump saying that he would be honored to meet Kim
Jong-un? And I ask you that seriously because the dirty little secret is, that it will take wanted negotiations with the North Korean regime to
actually come to -- I want your view on negotiations as a way to forge peace and not as a sign of weakness and appeasement.
AMANPOUR: What do you think? Because President Bill Clinton was the last person to actually negotiate and cause an arms control agreement that
worked with North Korea.
CLINTON: First of all, there has to be a regional effort to basically incentivize the North Korean regime, to understand that it will pay a much
bigger price regionally, primarily from China, if it pursues this reckless policy of nuclear weapons development and very dangerously for us the
missiles that can deliver those nuclear packages to places like Hawaii and eventually the west coast of the United States.
So I take this threat very seriously. But I don't believe that we alone are able to really put the pressure on this North Korean regime that needs
to be placed.
Now, the North Koreans are always interested, not just Kim Jong-un, but his father before him. We're always interested in trying to get Americans to
come to negotiate, to elevate their status and their position. And we should be very careful about giving that away. You should not offer that
in the absence of a broader strategic framework to try to get China, Japan, Russia, South Korea to put the kind of pressure on the regime that will
finally bring them to the negotiating table with some kind of realistic prospect for change.
As Christiane said, there was a negotiation in the `90s that put an end to one aspect of their nuclear program. To ways to make it plutonium,
uranium, shut down the plutonium. And then a few years later, there was evidence that they were cheating. And I think that there was -- and I have
said this publicly before, I think the Bush administration aired in saying they are cheaters, now we're not going to do anything with them.
They should have said you're cheating, back to the negotiating table now, we're going to shut down your uranium program. But because they withdrew
from any kind of negotiations, the uranium program started up.
So negotiations are critical, but they have to be part of a broader strategy. Not just thrown out on a tweet some morning that, hey, let's get
together and, you know, see if we can get along. And maybe we can, you know, come up with some sort of a deal. That doesn't work.
AMANPOUR: Did the Syrian strike work?
CLINTON: Well, I think it's too soon to really tell.
AMANPOUR: Did you support it?
CLINTON: Yes, I did support it. I didn't publicly support it, because that wasn't my role. But I did support it. But I am not convinced that it
really made much of a difference.
And I don't know what kind of potentially, you know, back room deals were made with the Russians. I mean, we later learned that the Russians and the
Syrians moved jets off the runway. That the Russians may have been given a heads up even before our own Congress was.
So I think there's a lot that we don't really yet fully know about, what was part of that strike. And if all it was was a one-off effort, it's not
going to have much of a lasting effect.
AMANPOUR: I'm going to come back to Russia in a moment because it's obviously vital. But I want to ask you as a woman and we're dealing
obviously with issues that affect women all over the world.
What do you imagine your election as the first female president of the United States might have said to the world and to the women of the world
who are looking for validation, for somebody to shatter that highest and hardest ceiling?
CLINTON: Oh, I think it would have been a really big deal. And I think that --
And, you know, I am writing a book, and it's a painful process reliving the campaign, as you might guess. But I think that partly here at home, there
were important messages that that could have sent to our own daughters, granddaughters, grandsons and sons. So have we made progress? Yes, we
have. But have we made enough? No, we haven't. And it's not a minor issue. It's not a luxury issue you get to after everything else is
resolved. It is central to the maintenance, stability, sustainability of democracy, of human rights. It is critical to our national security.
[14:10:00] You look at places where women's rights are being stripped away. They are the places most likely to either catalyze or protect terrorism, or
create ideologies that are an antithetical to women's lives and futures. It's not an accident. And so part of what I really believe is that women's
rights is the unfinished business of the 21st century. There is no more important, larger issue than has to be addressed.
AMANPOUR: Given that I wonder if you could address -- you have just spoken eloquently about the sexism, the misogyny and inequity around the world,
but do you believe it exists here still?
And do you think -- do you think -- were you a victim of misogyny? And why do you think you lost the majority of the white female vote -- the security
moms, the people who want to be protected from the kinds of challenges you're talking about right now?
CLINTON: Right. Well, you know what, the book's coming out in the fall. Just to give you a tiny little preview, yes, I do think it played a role.
I think other things did, as well. Every day that goes by, we learn more about some of the unprecedented interference, including from a foreign
power whose leader is not a member of my fan club.
And so I think it is -- it is real. It is very much a part of the landscape politically and socially and economically. You know, an example
that has nothing to do with me personally is this whole question of equal pay.
You know, we just had equal payday in April, which is how long women have to work past the first of the year to make the equivalent of what men made
the prior year in comparable professions.
And we know it's a problem in our country. It's not something that exists somewhere far away. It exists right here. And it's really troubling to me
that we are still grappling with how to deal in an economy to ensure that people who do the work that is expected of them get paid fairly and
So yes, there are many, many representations of that, many kinds of examples of that. And yes, it was a role in this election, and I will have
a lot to say about it. And I think that it is something that -- whatever your political party, whatever your particular idealogical bent, you have a
stake as a woman and a man to go back to your very first comment in ensuring that the promise of equality that we hold out and the efforts that
so many women and men have made over the decades to secure it don't go backwards.
And I think we're not just at a stalled point. I think we are potentially going backwards. For example, real quickly, on equal pay. A number of
cities and states have said, you know, one of the problems about equal pay is when you hire people, you say what was your last pay?
So if you're a young woman and you've been underpaid before, and you say what your pay is, then a slight bump looks fair. But it's not, because you
got built-in inequity.
So what is happening in current times in some places, I think is quite troubling, because there's a great effort to make sure that localities
don't pass laws that prevent employers from asking about past pay.
Now, you know, if somebody who has employed a lot of people over the course of my professional life, a lot of young men and women, it's always the case
when you offer a job to a young person that is a bump-up in pay and respect and responsibility, young women almost always say to me, do you think I can
do it? Do you think I'm ready?
Young men basically say what took you so long?
So this is something we have to clear out the cobwebs and say, you know what, there shouldn't be differences. And we've seen a lot of evidence in
the last month that the tech industry, you know, the forefront of our economy, is still mired in pay inequities.
[14:15:00] And so how do we get out of it if we don't set some standards, some metrics. And one of these is don't ask what is the job supposed to
pay. And if the person has the qualifications, pay that person, man or woman, what the job requires, right?
AMANPOUR: So just to bring you back to that leader of that foreign country was not a member of your fan club, what do you make of a journalist who
basically said that, in fact, President Putin hated you so much that it was personal, that he was determined to thwart your ambitions.
Do you buy that?
CLINTON: Well, he certainly interfered in our election. And it was clear he interfered to hurt me and to help my opponent. And if you chart my
opponent and his campaign's statements, they quite coordinated with the goals that that leader, who shall remain nameless, had.
So yes, look, I think Russia is a great country. And I think the Russian people are extraordinarily talented. And I think they are badly governed.
And I think they have been denied their opportunities to really join the modern world in a way that will lift them all up. And I also think that
when their president came back after having taken a time-out to be prime minister, he rigged the elections for the parliament, and I was your
secretary of state. And we do speak out against rigged elections.
That kind of goes with the territory, at least it did prior to this administration. And so I did say it was an illegitimate election and it
had been rigged.
And people -- you know, I wasn't telling hundreds of thousands, even millions of Russians something they didn't know. So they go out into the
streets in Moscow and St. Petersburg and demonstrate and Putin blames me, that I'm the one who got all those people in the streets. So it kind of
went downhill from there.
AMANPOUR: They did.
AMANPOUR: Relaxed, confident, at times poignant. More of my conversation with Hillary Clinton coming up.
Now she admits it wasn't a perfect campaign, but she says had the election been held the very day before the Comey letter was made public, the result
would have been very different.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program. Continuing my conversation with Hillary Clinton.
She accepts responsibility for her election loss and tweaks Trump with her 3 million more popular votes.
AMANPOUR: Your supporters are sad, they are devastated, they are disappointed and some are angry. And some say, you know, could it have
been different, could the campaign have been better? Could you have had a better rationale?
He had one message, your opponent, and it was successful message. Make America great again. And where was your message? Do you take any personal
[14:20:00] CLINTON: Oh, of course. I take absolute personal responsibility. I was the candidate. I was the person who was on the
ballot. And I am very aware of, you know, the challenges, the problems, the shortfalls that we had again. I will write all this out for you. But
I will say this, I've been in a lot of campaigns and I'm very proud of the campaign we ran and I'm very proud of the staff and the volunteers and the
people who were out there day after day.
And it wasn't a perfect campaign. There is no such thing. But I was on the way to winning until a combination of Jim Comey's letter on October
28th and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me, but got scared off. And the evidence for that,
intervening event, is, I think, compelling, persuasive. And so we overcame a lot in the campaign. We overcame an enormous barrage of negativity, of
false equivalency and so much else.
But as Nate Silver, who doesn't work for me, he's an independent analyst but one considered to be very reliable, you know, has concluded, you know,
if the election had been on October 27th, I would be your president. And it wasn't. It was on October 28th. And there were just a lot of funny
business going on around that.
And ask yourself this, within an hour or two of the "Hollywood Access" tape being made public, the Russian theft of John Pedesta's e-mails hit
WikiLeaks. What a coincidence.
So, I mean, you just can't make this stuff up. So did we make mistakes? Of course we did.
Did I make mistakes? Oh, my gosh, yes. You know, you'll read my confession and my request for absolution.
But the reason why I believe we lost were the intervening events in the last ten days. And I think you can see I was leading in the early vote. I
had a very strong -- not just our polling and data analysis, but a very strong assessment going on across the country about where I was in terms
of, you know, the necessary votes and electoral votes. And, remember, I did win more than 3 million votes than my opponent. So it's like, really -
AMANPOUR: I feel a tweet coming.
CLINTON: Well, fine. You know, better that than interfering in foreign affairs. If he wants to tweet about me, I'm happy to be the diversion,
because we've got lots of other things to worry about. And he should worry less about the election and my winning the popular vote than doing some
other things that would be important for the country.
AMANPOUR: Just briefly to -- we're going to finish on some other stuff. But once the result was known, did you call President Obama? What did you
say to him?
CLINTON: Yeah, I called President Obama. And I called Donald Trump -- yes.
AMANPOUR: Did you have any message for President Obama?
CLINTON: You know, look, I mean, I was very proud to serve in his administration. And I said ad nauseam during the campaign, I did not think
President Obama got the credit he deserved for saving our economy, for passing the Affordable Care Act. I just didn't think he got that credit.
And so, look, among the -- you know, again, you can read all about this excruciating analysis that I'm engaged in right now, when I'm not in the
AMANPOUR: Is it therapy?
CLINTON: I wouldn't say it's therapy. I would say that it is cathartic, because, you know, it's very difficult to succeed a two-term president of
your own party. That is a historical fact. I always knew that it was going to be a hard election, but I thought that at the end of the day, we
had made it clear -- you know, I wasn't going to appeal to people's emotions in the same way that my opponent did, which I think is frankly
what's getting him into all kinds of difficulties now in trying to fulfill these promises that he made because, you know, health care is complicated.
[14:25:00] And so is foreign policy and other stuff that lands on a president's desk. I mean, if it's easy, it doesn't get to the president's
AMANPOUR: And coming up, imagine losing the election and then joining the resistance. Clinton lays down the gauntlet, next.
AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, red meat for the faithful. In a room full of powerful women, trying to lift up all women, imagine Hillary Clinton
defiant and trending online with this final reflection about that election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: In that first debate, my opponent actually made fun of me for preparing. So I said yes, I did prepare for the debate. And I'll tell you
something else I prepared for, I prepared for being president.
And I think, you know, I can't be anything other than who I am. And I spent decades learning about what it would take to move our country
forward, including people who, you know, clearly didn't vote for me, to try to make sure that we dealt with a lot of these hard issues that are right
around the corner like robotics and artificial intelligence, and things that are really going to be up ending the economy for the vast majority of
Americans to say nothing of the rest of the world. So, you know, I'm now back to being an activist citizen, and part of the resistance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And that is it for our program tonight. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast, see us online @Amanpour.com and follow me on
Facebook and Twitter. Thank you for watching and goodbye from New York.