The former secretary of state knows there are those who wish she'd be quiet — but "I could no more do that than jump off this building," she tells PEOPLE

By Sandra Sobieraj Westfall Adam Carlson
October 02, 2019 10:00 AM
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After her surprise defeat by Donald Trump in 2016’s presidential election, Hillary Clinton got into yoga, went on many a long walk and had her fair share of white wine.

But one thing that the former secretary of state, first lady and New York senator did not do? Retire.

“I wouldn’t know how,” she tells PEOPLE in a joint sit-down with daughter Chelsea Clinton about their new essay collection, The Book of Gutsy Women, which was published this week.

Since her loss, which marked the end of her career in public office, the 71-year-old launched Onward Together, a political action group backing various progressive groups, in addition to her philanthropic work, speaking engagements and time at home with her three grandchildren.

“It’s just a joy every time we’re around them,” she says of life with former President Bill Clinton. “Traveling, being with friends — it’s really quite a nice balance for us. We’re not as active work-wise as we were in the past, but we are still very active. It’s a good combination.”

In a wide-ranging interview, Mrs. Clinton discussed the impeachment investigation of President Trump, her support of former Vice President Joe Biden, her definition of “gutsy” — and those critics, she knows, who wish she would stop being so … political.

“I could no more do that than jump off this building,” she tells PEOPLE.

“What do I have to lose?” she says. “I am going to say exactly what I believe: This man [Trump] is a clear and present danger to our country.”

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Hillary Clinton
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Hillary Clinton (left) with daughter Chelsea Clinton
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Mrs. Clinton has plenty to say about her onetime rival, who narrowly beat her at the ballot box three years ago. She says she now supports his impeachment, following revelations about how he pushed Ukraine’s president to investigate Biden, who is the frontrunner to challenge Trump for re-election next year.

“We are in a crisis,” she says. “The president of the United States” — in her words a “corrupt human tornado” — “is betraying our country on a daily basis.”

For his part, Trump has denied wrongdoing and lashed out at the so-called “witch hunt” organized by his critics. Without evidence, he has accused the Bidens of “corruption.”

RELATED: Hillary Clinton Defends Joe Biden After Controversy About How He Interacts with Women and Girls — ‘Get Over It’

Mrs. Clinton has no less candor in her own assessment: “I am just astonished that we are at this point in American history.”

Talking to PEOPLE alongside her mom, Chelsea says it was “certainly” not the easier thing, choosing to continue to speak out after the 2016 loss.

“It has been a gutsy journey for my mom to continue to fight for what she believes is right and to call out what she believes is so deeply immoral and stand for what she believes is so vital for our country today and for the world I know she wants her grandchildren to grow up in,” Chelsea says. “And I think if any of it had been easy, it wouldn’t have been as gutsy as it’s been.”

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