Hillary Clinton said Tuesday she's taking responsibility for her 2016 U.S. election loss, but believes misogyny, Russian interference and questionable decisions by the FBI influenced the outcome.
The former Democratic presidential nominee offered extensive comments about the election during the Women for Women International's annual luncheon in New York City. She said she has been going through the "painful" process of reliving the 2016 contest while writing a book.
'It's clear [Putin] interfered to hurt me.' — Hillary Clinton
"It wasn't a perfect campaign. There is no such thing," Clinton said in a question-and-answer session with CNN's Christiane Amanpour. "But I was on the way to winning until a combination of [FBI Director] Jim Comey's letter on Oct. 28 and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me but got scared off."
She reminded the enthusiastic audience packed with women that she earned three million more votes than Republican Donald Trump, who won more Electoral College votes and won the election.
"If the election were on Oct. 27, I would be your president," Clinton said.
Comey's letter to Congress announced that the FBI had uncovered emails possibly related to its earlier probe into Clinton's use of a private server while she was secretary of state.
The surprise announcement, which reopened a scandal that had dogged Clinton throughout the campaign, came after three debates in which Trump was widely panned for his performance. Days later Comey said a review of the emails had not changed the FBI's earlier determination that Clinton should not face criminal charges.
Clinton on Tuesday also highlighted Russia's role in hacking into her campaign's internal emails and subsequently co-ordinating their release on WikiLeaks. U.S. intelligence agencies are investigating whether Russia co-ordinated with Trump associates to influence the election, something Russia has denied.
"He [Russian President Vladimir Putin] certainly interfered in our election," Clinton said. "And it's clear he interfered to hurt me and help my opponent."
Amanpour also asked Clinton whether she was a victim of misogyny.
"Yes, I do think it played a role," she said, adding that misogyny is "very much a part of the landscape politically, socially and economically."
After two unsuccessful presidential campaigns, Clinton is not expected to run for public office again.
"I'm now back to being an activist citizen and part of the resistance," she said.
'Act of concealment'
Comey defended his actions on Wednesday, telling the Senate judiciary committee that failing to announce that the investigation had been reopened would have been an "act of concealment."
He added it made him "mildly nauseous" to think the FBI may have had some impact on the election.
Trump, meanwhile, blasted Clinton's comments on Twitter, saying late Tuesday that Comey was "the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds."
He also wrote that "the phoney Trump/Russia story was an excuse used by the Democrats as justification for losing the election."
Earlier on Tuesday, Clinton accepted an award from Planned Parenthood at its centennial celebration. She urged continued activism on behalf of women and girls around the world, and access to services like pregnancy and maternity care.
Clinton criticized Republicans for trying to force through a health-care plan "that would cost 24 million people their health insurance and would gut funding for Planned Parenthood."
"As we speak," Clinton said, "politicians in Washington are still doing everything they can to roll back the rights and progress we've fought so hard for over the last century."