As Hillary Clinton’s right-hand woman for over 20 years, Huma Abedin has spent most of her adult life in the public glare. While Clinton cycled from the campaign trail to the Senate to the State Department, the Saudi-raised Abedin became famous in her own right, cultivating an air of glamour, power and mystery. A Clinton loyalist to the bone, she rarely talked to the press, insisting on I’m-just-a-staffer privacy—unless a red carpet or Vogue photo shoot was involved.
Her carefully-crafted image was ultimately blown up—not by the right-wing conspiracists who slandered her as a closet terrorist, but by her ex-husband Anthony Weiner, whose addiction to sexting repeatedly dragged Abedin into one lurid scandal after the next. It was Weiner’s confiscated laptop that prompted the F.B.I. to announce they had reopened an investigation into Clinton’s use of a personal email server just days before the 2016 election, an October surprise that may have thrown the election to Donald Trump.
Today, Abedin is finally talking to the press in service of her new memoir, Both/And—an attempt, she says, to reclaim her story from the pundits, tabloids and politicians who have been telling it for her these many years. She talked to me for my Snapchat show “Good Luck America,” about what she regrets about giving her life over to politics, whether she blames herself for Trump, and what advice she has for another powerful woman in politics, Vice President Kamala Harris. (This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity and brevity.)