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Huma Abedin: Hillary Clinton stayed with her husband because it was "right for herself, her family and her country"

Huma Abedin on Hillary Clinton, marriage scandals
Huma Abedin on Hillary Clinton and marriage scandals 02:50

Huma Abedin has spent much of her career alongside Hillary Clinton. She was there when President Bill Clinton's affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky was revealed, and was still close with Clinton decades later, when her own unraveling marriage to disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner threatened to derail Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign. 

After 25 years in the background, Abedin is now sharing what it was like to be with Clinton when the Lewinsky affair became public. In her new book, "Both/And: A Life in Many Worlds," Abedin writes that she "was sad and angry on behalf of the woman who is now my boss" after Mr. Clinton admitted he had lied about his relationship with Lewinsky. 

Abedin told "CBS Evening News" anchor and managing editor Norah O'Donnell in a "CBS Sunday Morning" interview that she was also "confused." 

"Cause on the one hand it was, like, 'We're doing this really important stuff. What's happening here?' And I just stayed focused on my job," Abedin said. 

When asked why Clinton did not leave her husband, Abedin said, "She made the decision that she thought was right for herself, her family, and her country." 

Abedin said loyalty has been at the core of her decades-long relationship with Clinton. But that was tested when Weiner's sexting scandals made headlines. 

In 2011, Weiner shared a photo of himself in his underwear on Twitter that he had meant to send to another woman. Two years later, he was in the headlines again for sending explicit photos to another woman. As Clinton ran for president in 2016, a picture of Weiner in bed with their young son was leaked, triggering an investigation by Child Protective Services. He was also caught sexting an underage girl.

Abedin said she thought she would be fired. "I had been informed by a colleague I was about to be let go but given our long relationship, that Hillary needed to fire me herself. And she shocked me — she did not believe it was the right thing to do," Abedin told O'Donnell. 

"Every marriage and every relationship has its own ups and downs," Abedin said of whether Clinton's marital woes shaped how she responded to her own. "I was getting up every day and just trying to survive." 

Abedin said she didn't think she'd survive what may have been the biggest impact of the scandal: FBI agents found emails involving Clinton on Weiner's laptop, leading the FBI to reopen an investigation into Clinton's emails just days before the 2016 election. 

But despite the impacts of the investigation on the final days of the election, Abedin said she doesn't think it cost Clinton the win. 

"I don't, now. But I did. For a long time," she said. "Let me tell you who did not blame me. Hillary Clinton. Never once." 

Both/And: A Life in Many Worlds is published by Scribner, a division of ViacomCBS. 

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