POLITICS
06/15/2016 03:52 pm ET Updated Dec 30, 2016

Transcript: Hillary Clinton's Interview With The Huffington Post

The presumptive Democratic nominee addressed a number of foreign and domestic topics.

Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, spoke with The Huffington Post by phone for roughly 10 minutes on Wednesday, discussing everything from gun control and drone policy to campus rape and women in the military. 

Below is the full transcript from the interview. It has been edited for clarity.

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Hillary Clinton: Great to talk to you, Sam. Aren't you from one of the [Trump-]banned publications?

The Huffington Post: Yes, and our group is growing bigger. We have a real crew now.

I think there should be some kind of badge of honor that you all put on.

Yes, we all get together on Fridays and have some wine. I know my time is brief, so I wanted to jump right in. I want to start with Orlando. A lot of people are frightened by what happened Sunday morning. What do you say to those who want a simple, easy-to-understand solution to their fears, and who see it in what Donald Trump is saying?

That I really understand the fears and the concerns that Americans have. I share them. It is something that we can't ignore when we are facing these kinds of lone wolf attacks, like we have seen in San Bernardino and now in Orlando. And I want them to know that I am absolutely committed to defending and protecting our country and believe that we have learned a lot since 9/11, and I have a number of proposals to tackle this issue of self-radicalization building on what we have done.

I would set up a SWAT team exclusively dedicated to detecting and preventing lone wolf attacks, and that does mean providing more resources, creating more fusion centers where we integrate all the information between and among law enforcement agencies, really strengthening our communications from our intelligence professionals to law enforcement, and working with our tech companies, from Silicon Valley to Boston, to prevent online radicalization. We have got to get law enforcement the tools they need while also staying true to our values. And that requires rooting out radicalization in a strong and smart way, not turning on one another. That just plays into ISIS' hand.

You know, part of the radical jihadist recruitment strategy is to convince would-be recruits, here at home and around the world, that there is a clash of civilizations. So Donald Trump's demeaning and derogatory comments about Muslims and Islam is not only counterproductive, it is dangerous. And I think most Americans really do understand that.

Well, one of the proposals you've put forth is to prevent those on the terrorist watchlist from purchasing firearms. That list notoriously includes a number of people who don’t belong there or who have the same name as a terrorist suspect. Do you see problems with using it to determine who can and cannot purchase firearms?

I think that if there are such concerns, they can be taken into account. There is a process under the proposed law for people to appeal their names being on the list, and I believe that that can be certainly taken into account.

But what we have found in this latest terror incident is that this man should have been on such a watchlist. He was investigated three times by the FBI, and it is important that we take into account the easy access to these weapons of war. They should not be on our street. And it is something that we have got to address. And it is not only blocking suspected terrorists from buying guns. It is clear that if you are too dangerous to fly on a plane, you are too dangerous to buy a gun. And we have got to tighten up our provisions.

I would also add that there is a real rhetorical trap that the gun lobby tries to set -- basically claiming if you can't stop every shooting, every incident, you shouldn't try to stop any. That is not how laws work. That just isn't common sense. The legislation Republicans blocked to prevent suspected terrorists from buying guns is not overly broad. That is a talking point from the gun lobby. It allows the attorney general and the FBI to prevent a suspected terrorist [from buying guns], and it would happen on a case-by-case basis.

So the idea that this would impact law-abiding gun owners is wrong. And it is intended to serve as a distraction.

This morning, Donald Trump said he would be meeting with the NRA to discuss this provision. It seems that the two of you might be in line here. I'm wondering if you have any kind words for the presumptive Republican nominee on this front?

Look, I think he has been really pushed back hard by me and many others on what he has said about access to guns. Welcome to the cause. This is something I've been talking about for a long time. Look, the NRA and the other gun lobby members should be moving rapidly to work with Congress on this legislation. I know that members of Congress, hopefully on both sides of the aisle, are beginning to look to see if they can pass this. And I fully support it.

When Trump gives us his interview, I'll tell him you welcomed him to the cause. On the topic of combating terrorist threats: To what extent do you think U.S. drone strikes are responsible for facilitating an anti-American backlash?

Well, I think this goes back to your very first question. This is a complex issue that we have to understand in a comprehensive way. There is no doubt that, as the president said in his remarks yesterday, the United States and our allies have taken thousands of terrorists off the battlefield around the world. Many different tools have been used to accomplish that. Many lives have been saved because of that policy.

So I'm not going to talk about any specific tool, but I think it is fair to say that we were attacked by terrorists who were allied with al Qaeda before and on 9/11 from the sanctuary that they had in the border areas between Afghanistan and Pakistan. We found bin Laden hiding in Pakistan. We know that other terrorist groups, like ISIS, are holding territory in Syria and Iraq. We know that there are terrorists similarly competing for territory in those countries and others. And we know that their highest goal is to spread terror in Europe and the United States, as well as continue to terrorize and murder innocent Muslims in the territories that they occupy.

So we will use every single tool at our disposal. We have to deny them actual territory as well as virtual territory, contest online space, coordinate with our partners and allies. And we have to keep hitting this threat at its source: in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and across the arc of instability.

This is an abrupt shift, but I would like to talk about some domestic matters. Have you read or heard about the victim’s letter in the Brock Turner case?

Oh yes. I have read the statement given by the victim. I was struck by its heartbreaking power. It took great courage, and I think she has done an important service for others.

What I've heard about this case is deeply concerning. It is clear campus sexual assault continues to be a serious problem. And I've said before and I will continue to say, it is not enough to condemn it. We must find ways to end it. And thanks to the courage and the determination of survivors and advocates, our country is waking up to this challenge. I've outlined a plan to address the issue, which I will prioritize as president, and I have talked about it on campuses and other venues for some time now.

And yesterday, the Senate approved an expansive military policy bill that would require young women to register for the draft. Do you support that bill, that concept?

Yeah. I do support that. I am on record as supporting the all-volunteer military, which I think at this time does serve our country well. And I am very committed to supporting and really lifting up the men and women in uniform and their families. I'm on my way to Norfolk to talk about that and other issues related to the military and our security.

All right, just two more questions.

CLINTON AIDE: Sam, we've got to go in a minute.

OK, I'll prioritize this last one. So, Harry Reid said the country is ready for an all-woman presidential ticket because the country needs to make up for lost time. Do you agree?

Well, I think it is a great comment, and I really always appreciate Senator Reid's candor and his observations. I'm going to be diving into the issue I face about choosing someone to be the vice presidential candidate, and we have a lot of great potential candidates, including women. I'm delighted that we have such a deep bench of Democrats who could not only hold the position and become a great partner but become president if necessary.

Secretary Clinton, thank you for not blacklisting The Huffington Post and for taking time to talk to us.

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