Interview with Brianna Keilar of CNN’s “State of the Union”


Spoken by

Hillary Clinton

DANA BASH: Hillary Clinton is campaigning across the country, but she’s dropping in this week on some folks you would think she has all locked up, congressional Democrats.

But her lunch on Tuesday could be a little bit awkward, thanks to one man, Senator Bernie Sanders, who’s been giving Clinton a run for her money on the trail with his huge crowds and his populist message.

But when she sat down with CNN’s Brianna Keilar for her first national TV interview, Clinton insisted there’s no bad blood.

CLINTON: Well, first of all, I always thought this would be a competitive race.

So, I am happy to have a chance to get out and run my campaign as I see fit and let other candidates do exactly the same. I feel very good about where we are in Iowa. We are signing up thousands of volunteers, people committed to caucus for us. We have a committed supporter in every one of the 1,600 precincts.

And one of the things that I learned last time is, it’s organize, organize, organize. So I couldn’t be happier about my campaign.

KEILAR: Senator Sanders has talked about how, if he’s president, he would raise taxes. In fact, he said to CNN’s Jake Tapper, he would raise them substantially higher than they are today, on big corporations, on wealthy Americans.

Would you?

CLINTON: Well, I will be laying out my own economic policies. Again, everybody has to run his or her own campaign. And I’m going to be telling the American people what I propose and how I think it will work. And then we’ll let voters make up their minds.

KEILAR: Are—is raising taxes on the table?

CLINTON: I’m going to put out my policies, and I’ll other people speak to their policies, because I think we have to both grow the economy faster and fairer, so we have to do what will actually work in the short term, the medium term and the long term.

I will be making a speech about my economic proposals on Monday. And then I look forward to the debate about them.

KEILAR: We see in our recent poll that nearly six in 10 Americans say they don’t believe that you’re honest and trustworthy. Do you see any role that you’ve had in the sentiment that we’ve seen, where people are questioning whether you’re trustworthy?

CLINTON: I can only tell you, Brianna, that this has been a theme that has been used against me and my husband for many, many years. And, at the end of the day, I think voters sort it all out. I have great confidence. I trust the American voter.

KEILAR: One of the issues that has eroded some trust that we’ve seen is the issue of your e-mail practices while you were secretary of state. I think there’s a lot of people who don’t understand what your thought process was on that.

So, can you tell me the story of how you decided to delete 33,000 e-mails and how that deletion was executed?

CLINTON: Well, let’s start from the beginning. Everything I did was permitted. There was no law, there was no regulation, there was nothing that did not give me the full authority to decide how I was going to communicate.

Previous secretaries of state have said they did the same thing. And people across the government knew that I used one device. Maybe it was because I am not the most technically capable person and wanted to make it as easy as possible.

KEILAR: But you said they—that they did the same thing, that they used a personal server and…

CLINTON: Well, personal e-mail.

KEILAR: … when facing a subpoena, deleted e-mails from them?

CLINTON: You know, you’re starting with so many assumptions that are—I’ve never had a subpoena. There is nothing—again, let’s take a deep breath here. Everything I did was permitted by law and regulation. I had one device.

When I mailed anybody in the government, it would go into the government system. Now, I didn’t have to turn over anything. I chose to turn over 55,000 pages, because I wanted to go above and beyond what was expected of me, because I knew the vast majority of everything that was official already was in the State Department system.

KEILAR: Let’s talk now about Republicans. There are so many. [laughter]

But, right now, the front-runner… [laughter]

CLINTON: It’s a big crew.

KEILAR: It is a big crew.

Right now, the front-runner is Jeb Bush. Can you believe that a quarter-century after your husband was elected, there could be another Bush-Clinton race?

CLINTON: Well, we’ll see.

That’s up to, first, the Republicans on his side and the Democrats on my side. What’s great about America is anybody can run for president. That is literally true. And you have to go out and you have to do what everybody else does. You have to make your case. You have to have your agenda. You have to raise the money. You have to work really hard.

KEILAR: Donald Trump is also creating quite a lot of commotion on the other side. He’s a friend of yours, has been over the years. He donated to your Senate campaign, to the Clinton Foundation.

What’s your reaction to his recent comments that some Mexican immigrants are rapists and criminals?

CLINTON: I’m very disappointed in those comments.

And I—I feel very bad and very disappointed with him and with the Republican Party for not responding immediately and saying: Enough. Stop it. But they are all in the—you know, in the same general area on immigration.

You know, they don’t want to provide a path to citizenship. They range across a spectrum of being either grudgingly welcome or hostile toward immigrants.

KEILAR: But what about Jeb Bush’s approach to that? It’s different, certainly, than Donald Trump’s and…


CLINTON: Well, he doesn’t—he doesn’t believe in a path to citizenship. If he did at one time, he no longer does.

KEILAR: Have you given any thought to the woman who should be on the $10 bill? [laughter]

CLINTON: You know, I am very torn about it. I want a woman on a bill. I don’t know why they picked the $10 bill. Some people are now agitating for the $20 bill.

KEILAR: The $20. Do you think it should be the $20?

CLINTON: You know, I want a woman on the bill. And I think that it might be easier to change the $20 than it is to change the $10. But we’ll see.

And I don’t like the idea that, as a compromise, you would basically have two people on the same bill. One would be a woman. That sounds pretty second-class to me. So, I think a woman should have her own bill. And it may be more—more appropriate to look at the $20 than the $10. I don’t know. We’ll see.

KEILAR: Secretary Clinton, thank you so much for talking with us.

CLINTON: Thank you. My pleasure. Thanks.