By Nick Allen in Washington

Hillary Clinton is "convinced" that associates of the Donald Trump campaign colluded with Russia to beat her in the US presidential election last year.

In her most outspoken allegation so far, the defeated Democrat nominee said she was in "no doubt" that people connected to her rival helped Russia to interfere.

Clinton was speaking as she published a 495-page book about the campaign called What Happened.

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In it, she called Trump "hateful and flagrantly sexist", a "clear and present danger to the country and the world", and a "fraud and liar" who made her skin crawl.

Speaking to USA Today about Russia links, she said: "There certainly was communication and there certainly was an understanding of some sort. Because there's no doubt in my mind that [Vladimir] Putin wanted me to lose and wanted Trump to win."

Asked if she believed there was collusion with Russia by Trump associates, Clinton said: "I'm convinced of it."

The question of whether there were links between the Trump campaign and Russia is being investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller and several committees in Congress.

In her book, Clinton said the Mueller investigation was "much more serious" than Watergate, and Putin had a "personal vendetta" against her. She wrote: "I wasn't just running against Donald Trump. I was up against the Russian intelligence apparatus. This wasn't the normal rough-and-tumble of politics. This was, there's no other word for it, war."

Clinton also blamed former FBI director James Comey for reopening an investigation into her email server days before the vote, and her Democrat rival Bernie Sanders.

She said: "There were all of these outside forces coming at me right until the very end. I didn't get anything like that respect from Sanders and his supporters and it hurt."

Clinton also likened Trump's approach to George Orwell's dystopian novel 1984 and the Soviet Union, saying he had conducted a "war on truth".

She wrote; "Attempting to define reality is a core feature of authoritarianism. This is what the Soviets did when they erased political dissidents from historical photos.

"This is what happens in George Orwell's classic novel 1984, when a torturer holds up four fingers and delivers electric shocks until his prisoner sees five fingers as ordered."

She added: "If he stood up tomorrow and declared that the Earth is flat, his counsellor Kellyanne Conway might just go on Fox News and defend it as an 'alternative fact' and too many people would believe it."

Clinton, who is now "done" being a political candidate, said that she declined anti-depressants and therapy following her election defeat and drank chardonnay instead.