Hillary Clinton: "I'm living rent-free inside of Donald Trump's brain, and it's not a very nice place to be"

By Caitlin O'Kane

/ CBS News

Hillary Clinton said President Trump is using her to distract from his own problems and to fire up his base of supporters. The former secretary of state and 2016 presidential candidate discussed the Mueller report — and Trump's response to it — in an interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Wednesday.

Maddow brought up what she called a "sidebar" issue — Clinton's connection to the Mueller report and recent developments surrounding it.

The special counsel's report revealed that in 2017, President Trump asked then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to "take a look" into investigating Clinton. A recent New York Times report said that in 2018, Mr. Trump wanted the Justice Department to investigate both Clinton and former FBI Director James Comey.

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During Wednesday's hearings, Attorney General William Barr refused answer if the White House ever directed him to initiate specific investigations. Maddow said to Clinton, "You're the only person in the country whose opinion I want to hear in response to those developments. What do you make of that?"

Clinton called the president's reported comments "as a big a sign of a guilty conscience or a real fear that you could possibly have."

"I'm living rent-free inside of Donald Trump's brain, and it's not a very nice place to be, I can tell you that," Clinton said of Mr. Trump's fixation on her.

See the full video here: https://t.co/z4Vk1n5Wdo

— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) May 2, 2019

Clinton said she's been investigated "repeatedly by the other side" — she was questioned for 11 hours during the Benghazi hearings — and "it's been for naught." She said the lies and accusations told about her are part of a "a diversion attack," and that it's a tool the Trump camp uses to "fire up their hard-core base."

"When in doubt, go after me," Clinton said. She said the Trump administration knows better, "but this is part of their whole technique to divert attention from what the real story is."

"The real story is the Russians interfered in our election. And Trump committed obstruction of justice. That's the real story," Clinton told Maddow. "That's what they don't want the American people thinking about. So, when in doubt, say something wild about me. Thankfully, you know, there's no 'there' there, and there never has been."

During the interview, Clinton remarked that if the Justice Department was not going to hold Russia accountable for interfering in the election, maybe China could get away with it, too. She posed a hypothetical scenario — imagine a 2020 Democratic presidential nominee employs China, instead of Russia, to help them win.

"So why should Russia have all the fun? And since Russia is clearly backing Republicans, why don't we ask China to back us?" she said in a tongue-in-cheek manner.

"And not only that, China, if you're listening, why don't you get Trump's tax returns?" Clinton continued, in a sarcastic reference to Mr. Trump's notorious 2016 public appeal to Russia to "find" Clinton's emails. "I'm sure our media would richly reward you."

Here is Hillary Clinton's hypothetical about a candidate calling on China to hack Trump's taxes, and why Republicans putting partisanship over national security is a dangerous thing. pic.twitter.com/AIjJYRiTfE

— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) May 2, 2019

During the interview, Clinton also said calling for Attorney General Barr's resignation "makes perfect sense, because he's not discharging the duties of the office."

"He's not going to resign, and at this point, I think that we know what we need to know about him," she said.

First published on May 2, 2019 / 12:09 PM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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