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Clinton Blames Herself, FBI Director And Russian Hackers For 2016 Loss


Today Hillary Clinton gave her first public interview since the election. She said she believes actions late in the campaign by FBI Director James Comey along with the release of emails by WikiLeaks played a significant role in her defeat and that the evidence is clear the Russian government intervened in the election on behalf of Donald Trump. Clinton also talked about President Trump's foreign policy in Syria and North Korea. NPR's Don Gonyea has more.

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: Hillary Clinton was on stage at a fundraiser for the Women for Women International charity, and it was in the opening minutes when she made her first reference to the Trump administration.


HILLARY CLINTON: 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.


GONYEA: In a 36-minute Q&A with CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour, they began with current news events, including President Trump's statement this week that he would be honored to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.


CLINTON: The North Koreans are always interested, not just Kim Jong Un but his father before him - were always interested in trying to get Americans to come to negotiate to elevate their status and their position.

GONYEA: But she said such a meeting should not be offered unless it's part of a broad strategy.


CLINTON: Not just thrown up on a tweet some morning that, hey, let's get together and, you know, see if we can't get along.

GONYEA: Then there's the airstrike Trump ordered on Syria. She says she did support it but also says questions have emerged since then.


CLINTON: 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.

GONYEA: But about halfway through, the conversation turn to the election.


CLINTON: I am writing a book, and it's a painful process...


CLINTON: ...Reliving the campaign.

GONYEA: Asked if misogyny and sexism played a role in her defeat, Clinton said yes. On whether she deserves the blame for her loss...


CLINTON: 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.

GONYEA: But she also cites interference. The Russians, she said, worked against her and for her opponent. And there was that moment 10 days before the election when the FBI director took the highly unusual step of announcing that he'd reopen the investigation into her private email server.


CLINTON: I was on the way to winning until the combination of Jim Comey's letter on October 28 And Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me but got scared off.

GONYEA: Clinton says in the campaign, she tried to demonstrate to the American public that she worked hard to be prepared to be president and again as she did during the campaign, drawing a contrast with Donald Trump.


CLINTON: Because you know, health care is complicated. And...


CLINTON: 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 desk.

GONYEA: Hillary Clinton reflecting today on her loss and the man who holds the job she wanted. Don Gonyea, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

You're most likely to find NPR's Don Gonyea on the road, in some battleground state looking for voters to sit with him at the local lunch spot, the VFW or union hall, at a campaign rally, or at their kitchen tables to tell him what's on their minds. Through countless such conversations over the course of the year, he gets a ground-level view of American elections. Gonyea is NPR's National Political Correspondent, a position he has held since 2010. His reports can be heard on all NPR News programs and at To hear his sound-rich stories is akin to riding in the passenger seat of his rental car, traveling through Iowa or South Carolina or Michigan or wherever, right along with him.