Washington(CNN) Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that civility in America can only begin again if Democrats win back the House or Senate this fall.
"You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about," Clinton said in an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour. "That's why I believe, if we are fortunate enough to win back the House and or the Senate, that's when civility can start again. But until then, the only thing that the Republicans seem to recognize and respect is strength."
Clinton alluded to previous controversies -- like the 2000 election recount to the "swift boat" attacks against John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election to the confirmation of Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh -- as evidence of what she sees as hardball tactics by Republicans.
"I remember what they did to me for 25 years -- the falsehoods, the lies, which unfortunately people believe because the Republicans have put a lot of time, money, and effort in promoting them," Clinton said. "So when you're dealing with an ideological party that is driven by the lust for power, that is funded by corporate interests who want a government that does its bidding, it's -- you can be civil, but you can't overcome what they intend to do unless you win elections."
Clinton said a top priority of a Democratic House and Senate should be to scrutinize President Donald Trump. Asked if Democrats should impeach Trump, Clinton sidestepped.
"The question about impeachment — you know, that will be left to others to decide," Clinton said. "I want to stop the degrading of the rule of law. The delegitimizing of elections. One of their priorities should be, let's protect our elections. Let's make sure that we have electoral security. Let's end the suppression of voters. So there is a big agenda if the Democrats take over."