Donald Trump

Hillary Clinton: I Would Have Won If Not for Comey

Clinton has given several interviews to talk about the book and the election, though her "Today" interview was the first on TV since losing the presidential race

Hillary Clinton appeared on the "Today" show Wednesday morning in her first live TV interview since Election Day, saying that she believes she didn't make enough mistakes on her own to lose the election and that former FBI Director James Comey was the determining factor in President Donald Trump's win.

The interview comes a day after Clinton released "What Happened," which recounts the 2016 presidential campaign. It runs through Clinton's bid for president, why she believes Trump won and how she felt afterward. She blames herself for the loss, but singles out other factors as well.

The book was meant to be both "personal and historical," Clinton said on "Today," looking at "what was at work here, in addition to the mistakes that I made."

Some of those other factors include the long-simmering investigation into her private email server that never turned up criminal conduct, Russia's attempts to sway the results and how the media covered what she called "the first reality TV candidate," meaning Trump.

"Today" co-host Matt Lauer asked Clinton if she made enough mistakes on her own to lose the election.

"I will say no, Matt," Clinton said. "I don't think that will surprise you."

Her book has already attracted the attention of the White House. On Tuesday, Trump's press secretary criticized Clinton for "propping up book sales with false and reckless attacks."

Asked to single out the single biggest factor in her loss, Clinton pointed to Comey, then the FBI director, announcing less than two weeks before the election that there was new evidence pertinent to his investigation into her private email server. It left her stunned and dumbfounded, she said, and she said it cut her lead in half in a crucial part of the swing state of Pennsylvania.

"I understand why voters would be shaken by it and we didn't have time to recover from it," Clinton said.

Trump later fired Comey. The administration mentioned his handling of the email investigation in its justification but Trump also said he was thinking of Russia at the time. Clinton believes Comey was fired for the wrong reason but should have been disciplined in some way for the email investigation, she said.

Lauer asked if Clinton believed that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, but Clinton deferred to the investigation now underway by a special federal prosecutor. 

She did give her reaction to the new revelation that Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr., having a meeting during the campaign with people associated with Russia in which he was promised dirt on Clinton.

"It's ridiculous. It's another absurd lie to cover up what really was going on which I hope we uncover and finally understand," Clinton said.

Clinton also implied that more needs to be done to investigate election security.

"If I had been elected and this had come to light … I would have stopped at nothing to make sure this never happened again to anybody," Clinton said.

Clinton has given several interviews to talk about the book and the election, though none on live TV, and on Tuesday signed hundreds of copies of the book at a Barnes & Noble in Manhattan.

"I go back over my own shortcomings and the mistakes we made. I take responsibility for all of them," she writes in the book. "In my more introspective moments, I do recognize that my campaign in 2016 lacked the sense of urgency and passion that I remember" from Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign.

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